My summer racing schedule has been lacking in a major way. Last year I signed up for a ton of races, and ended up running a lot of 5ks in less than favorable conditions. This year I decided that I would monitor the weather for the weekend before committing to any races. Thank God I did. We've had a miserable summer! Except this past week. And conveniently that was a cutback week. I managed to find a close-to-home 1st annual 5k for $15 bucks. Sweet! I wrangled some runner friends together, and it was on.
The race had an 8:30 start, which would suck, normally, but it was 60* with a breeze. Yeah, there was still 90% humidity, but whatever, I'm almost used to that now (gasp, I know!). Tom, Brent, and I took off for a mile warm up and were all complaining about how crappy our legs felt all week long. Neat! This should be a fun race!
Looking back at previous 5k results, I saw that I always went out too fast in that first mile (7:30) and then bombed hard in mile two (8:00+). My goal was to hold off a bit for the first mile, get mile two under 8 for the first time EVER in a 5k... yeah... wtf? And then gun it as hard as I could for the remainder.
We lined up near the race "start" as there was no line. The coordinator thanked us all for coming and in the same breath said, on your marks, get set go! Uh....... ok. Garmin START!
We started off in to the wind and I tucked in behind a couple of xc chicks. I was sitting in 4th and made myself sloooooooooooooow down when I realized I was flying at a 7:12 pace. Hi, this is the opposite of not going out too fast. Apparently I settled in a bit too much, because my first mile split came in at 7:43. Not bad, I was shooting for 7:39s.
Mile two I just kept pushing and keeping the two girls in my sights. At some point a chick with a big black lab came flying by our group and I assumed she was just out for a training run, until I saw her turn around with the group at the halfway mark. Great! Apparently I'm in 5th not 4th. Grrrrr. At the halfway point I saw a PR was in the bag if I could hang on to my pace for the remainder of the race. Shortly after the turn around I pass a dude, which made me happy. Mile 2 7:49. Sub 8 win.
Mile 3 I spend trying to catch up to the two girls in front of me. It's dorky, but I kept repeating, "Are you going to settle for 5th or work your butt off for 3rd?!?!" I hoped that I could get close enough that I could outkick them. I started my kick with about 1/2 a mile to go, but just ran out of course to catch 'em with. Prior to the race start, they had said there'd be a board to record race times, if you wished, and someone calling out finishing times at the finish, so there were neither. I'd estimate I was 5-10 seconds behind the girls. Mile 3 was 7:36.
I was bummed that there weren't official race times because I know that 3 of the girls weren't in their 20s. Oh well, I'm happy enough with a smart, fast race. I was 5th female, and 9th overall. I'd estimate there were about 75 racers total. Again no official numbers. :)
I finished in 23:09. The race was a smidge short, which is a bummer, but it gives me a new time to shoot for the next 5k.
The one thing I found super interesting once I flipped through my garmin for the race data was that my heart rate wasn't anywhere near where I expected it to be. I actually turned off the auto scroll (where the garmin toggles between heart rate screen and main screen) because I knew I would be terrified of the heart rate creeping closer and closer to my max heart rate. I averaged a heart rate of 170 with a max of 175. I expected to be tippie-toeing on 190. Even my tempo runs have been maxing at 180-185 towards the end. Maybe it was just the difference in cooler temps...... maybe I just didn't run hard enough. Gaaaaaaaaah!