I’m back with another recap from Tuesday’s 5k (I swear I DO have some other posts that are not 5k-related in the works – stay tuned!)
This week’s theme was America’s B-Day in honor of the 4th of July. Again, neither me or my mom actually knew the theme and apparently most of the runners didn’t either, as there was not a lot of red, white, and blue running attire in sight!
It was another hot, muggy night, but my cold had all but disappeared, so I was excited and ready to run despite the crazy summer heat. My plan was to pace myself with another runner from our club who had beat me last week after I went out too fast. We warmed up, stretched a little, and then it was time. 🙂
The first mile, I forced myself to keep my running buddy in sight, as we both weaved in and out of the field of runners. There are a lot of sharp turns at the beginning of this course (and a lot of people like to go really fast at the beginning and then drop off) so it’s kind of to be expected. Before the first mile, there is a turn down onto the walkway along the Merrimack River, and there’s always a photographer. This time around, my face was ENTIRELY blocked by the ponytail of a runner in front of me (LOL), but my mom got some photogenic shots (she’s in the blue Nike tank).
Despite getting a little boxed in a few times, my mile 1 split came out as 7:40 and I kept next to my teammate as planned.
Mile 2 had a little uphill section (I can’t say it’s very impressive, but even a little hill feels pretty hard when you’re running fast!) and our pace slowed down to 7:50. I felt good though. After I hit the Mile 2 mark, I knew I was almost there, just over a mile to go and I could do that in less than 10 minutes. I could do ANYTHING for just 10 minutes, so it couldn’t be that hard, right? Wrong. I should just learn to accept that the last mile of a 5k is always going to hurt.
Even though I was breathing hard and practically melting into a puddle of sweat, I actually felt like I still had a little something left in the tank at this point, which was a HUGE change from last week. I decided to pick up the pace a little and give it everything I had. I gave my running bud a thumbs up and passed her (we had agreed ahead of time that we would run our own races), and set my focus on running the last half mile or so as strong as I could (I think my pace was fluctuating between 7:10-7:30 on this section).
I passed another girl who looked to be in my age group and then immediately began thinking, “Oh god, don’t slow down, don’t let her pass you!” I also passed a 12 or 13-year old boy… Until he SPRINTED by me like I was standing still. Haha, I guess I’m glad I gave him the mental push he needed for a strong finish?
I kept running, really wanted to check behind me to see if that girl was close behind, but instead I focused on my leg turnover, trying to keep it quick and relaxed, and then FINALLY, I saw the clock and was crossing the finish line – official chip time: 24:03.
I was only a few seconds faster than last week, but I have to say, I ran this race a thousand times better. My splits were 7:40/7:50/7:40 – so much more consistent than last week when I went out way too fast that first mile and then got progressively slower. This week, I raced smart. By sticking with my running club friend through the first 2 miles, I managed to pace myself so that I still had something left for the last mile. It paid off too – I finished up a place in my age division, coming in fifth. 🙂
Another fun aspect to this race is that you earn points over the course of the summer based on where you finish in your age division, and they keep track of everyone’s points from week to week. So, as long as you run every week, you can end up doing better overall than someone who races really well but only runs the 5k two or three times. My mom is currently FIRST in her age group (which she is very excited about; this race series is bringing out her competitive side!) I am fifth in the overall points in my age group, but I have high hopes to keep moving up in the standings. 🙂
So there you go! Another summer 5k in the books! This weekend, I’m looking forward to some speed work at the track and then a bit of a longer run Sunday.
What are your weekend running plans? Do you have any pacing tips for 5k’s?