October 9th was the last week of the Sioux Falls Parks and Rec 5k series. But if you would've asked me, I was certain it went through October 16th. So much so that I wasn't even planning to go on October 9th, because I felt like my legs should spend more time recovering from the 10 mile. But then I skipped my long run the day before and thought, why not? It was only once I was at the race that I realized that this was the final week. Womp.
I met Toni there early for a little warm up. We had planned to do 2 but she was running a little late so we had time for 1.5. The crowd was teeny tiny because it was cold (aka perfect racing weather). I told Kyle before I left for the race that I was running for 24 minutes tonight. The course is almost always 3 miles, so I really thought I could run right at 8 minute pace in the cool temps.
The race started and Toni took off in the lead, I was trailing her and before I knew it, a guy flew by me. NBD, I'm quite content taking 2nd for females, thank you very much. I didn't look at my watch much to start because sometimes the quicker pace freaks me out and then I slow down too much. About a quarter of a mile in I passed the dude and just tried to stay as close to Toni as I could. About a half mile in I checked my watch and saw that I was running pretty comfortably sub 8, and I was shocked and thrilled and hopeful that I could keep it up for the rest of the race!
I started feeling like I was losing speed toward the end of mile one, but when I looked down at my watch, it told me I was speeding up instead. Ok, I'll take it.
Mile 1 7:52
I always ALWAYS slow down in mile 2 of a 5k. Like disastrously so. Typically 25 seconds slower than the first mile. So goal #1 was to not fade too much. I hit the turn around and realized that the course was going to be short for a 3 mile, so I stopped focusing on my overall time completely and only looked at my average pace. Now that I'm typing this, I wish I would've noted what my time was for the halfway point, because I'd like to know if I negative split.
**Edited to add: Hey guys, just remembered, there's this super cool thing called a GARMIN that I wear on my wrist for 99% of my runs that can actually TELL ME my time at the turn around if I look at the DATA it provides. Derp.
I hit the turnaround in 11:29.
My pace was all over the place after the turn around, because I basically came to a dead stop and then restart in the same direction. It did give me an idea of where the guys behind me were, but I also lost Toni during this portion. COME BACK AND CONTINUE PACING ME PLEASE!! I thought I must've been really fading, but after the race we talked, and her second mile was even speedier than her first! So we do have differences, good to know. I'd catch a flash of her pink/orange top every once in awhile, but really just kept focusing on getting mile 2 as close to 8 pace as possible.
Mile 2 8:02
A 10 second slow down is not bad at all for me. I was pretty pumped. Especially because at points of that mile I was at 8:36. Uff. I knew the final mile wasn't going to be a full mile, but I wanted to give it all I had. I tried to speed up to catch Toni, knowing that would help me finish strong, I tried countdown games in my head, I wished really hard that I had remembered my iPod because I could desperately use some extra motivation and distraction as I was developing that super fun iron/metal back of my throat taste that typically only comes out in really hard effort runs. When I was at my 90 second countdown, I saw Toni cross the finish line, and I tried to pick it up the best I could, but I definitely didn't have my sandbagger sprint for this finish. I had worked hard the rest of the race. For once. :|
Mile 3 7:11 (.91, 7:55 pace)
So I finished the 2.91 race in 23:04 for a pace of 7:57!
I have not run a race at sub 8 pace since a 3k I did in 2014, which was a 7:58 pace, so I ran 2k further at a faster overall pace! AND that was the last time my running times were semi-decent. Additionally, I didn't run a sub 8 5k since 2011, including my 3 mile PR (short 5k course, grumble grumble) which was a 23:09, 7:43 pace. I just love being able to see progress and having a race where you're on 100% mentally and physically. WAHOO!!
So Toni and I took 1st and 2nd overall and then ran off into the sunset (literally) for our cool down run.