Last year I ran my fastest 5K to date. It wasn’t a race, just my Sunday morning run. My total mileage that day was 8 miles but somewhere in there I ran a 5K in 24:02.
I have run numerous 5Ks since then and pretty much every time I’ve began the race hoping to beat my time. Every time something has happened or the conditions just haven’t been right. It’s been hot, it’s been cold….it’s always been something.
This morning I had another 5K. It was the Pineland Striders Independance Day Race Series. I ran the 10K last year and it was a hot hot day so this year I decided why torture myself. Last night I couldn’t sleep. I kept on thinking about the race. I’ve been working really hard to increase my pace. I’ve been doing speed work every week and really thought today would be the day.
So I donned my favorite running hat that has been retired for all runs except races. Plus my PR tank top for good measure.
So I was up way too early this morning and ready to go. I ran an easy 1.5 around the neighborhood just to loosen up. The weather conditions were perfect. It was overcast and about 65 degrees. A lot better than last year!
We had a devastating storm come through on Tuesday and the school where the race began was without power and there were still a significant amount of trees down on the property.
So the race stared off smoothly for me after I sidestepped the poor man who fell at the starting line. The race is chip timed and you must step on the pad to start your time. I spent about a half a mile wondering if in my attempt to avoid the man on the ground I had missed the pad.
My first mile I ran in 7:38, and tried to do the math to see if a PR was possible. My second mile was a little slower at 7:45, there was a turn around and a few sharp turns. At about 2.25 I got a side stitch that was so severe I contemplated stopping but I pushed through. I stopped looking at my watch because my math really sucks and I, for the life of me, I could not figure out how much time I had left to get a PR. Finally the road to the high school was in sight so I used the last bit of energy I had to add a little more kick. The final quarter mile or so is on the track. Which I just have to add felt heavenly to run on after pounding my feet on asphalt the rest of the time. I crossed the finish line and looked down at my watch, according to that I was a little shy of the 5K distance so I kept running.
I did it! I PR’d!! My watch time was 23:20 and my chip time was 22:57. I was excited and to be perfectly honest I didn’t care about whether I placed or not. I hung out on the bleachers and cheered the other runners on. There’s something so amazing about how runners are so supportive of each other. I love it. I watched a boy who was probably around ten years old run a 10K in about 48 minutes….in sandals! I’ve seen him at other local races as well and he and his father both wear sandals when they run. I’ll be honest. My feet hurt just looking at them, but my feet hurt most of the time anyways!
I decided to hang out for the awards ceremony. I placed first in my age group! I was the fourth female to finish overall and the twenty second person to cross the finish line. I couldn’t be happier with my time and have already set a new goal for myself. Well actually two goals. One is a 5K time of 22:30 and I think I would like to try for a sub 7:00 mile. I’ll have to work hard and really focus on speed work but I’ve made some amazing gains in the last six months so I know if I just put my mind to it that I can make it happen.
This will be my last race until the Back On My Feet 24 hour relay in July so I’ll start tapering after my long run tomorrow. This works out perfectly since my current running shoes are just about worn out. This morning after my run I could see my little toes peeking out. I already ordered my replacements and the taper is probably the perfect time to break in a new pair. At least this is what I’m telling myself.
Now I will relax and kick my feet up and listen to the rain falling. Surrounded by my critters.