This week brought my first race since starting with Coach Cathy, and unfortunately it did not go as well as anticipated. I could blame the head cold I came down with the day before, but truthfully, I don’t really think that was a factor. Instead I think what came into play was my inexperience with racing, and the fact that I’m still learning how to pace myself according to my fitness.
I was pretty nervous in the days leading up to the race (and will be posting about how to conquer pre-race anxiety soon!) because for the first time, I was racing with concrete time goals in mind. The race was a 5K, and based on my workouts and my previous PR at the end of July (21:08), Coach Cathy felt my A goal should be 20:15-20:30, my B goal 20:30-20:45, and my C goal 20:45-21:00. Also, because in workouts I’ve been having trouble with going out too fast, she wanted me to try to control the start and reign myself in during the first half of the race. To accomplish this, our race strategy was to run the first 1.5 miles at 6:36 pace (the pace of my B goal), and then either to try to hold that pace or pick it up if possible.
Today was race day, and other than the fact that I was slightly under the weather with a head cold, the race conditions were perfect: cool, crisp, sunny and a flat course. I felt good during my warm-up and successfully controlled the start of the race, running the first mile in 6:37 as planned. Then, for some reason, I lost focus during the second mile and ran 6:47, though I didn’t realize that I had slowed down and only found out that this was what happened when I uploaded the race from my Garmin afterwards. The third mile I did manage to run in 6:30, but I finished in 21:12, a few seconds off my PR and definitely not what I had been hoping for. I knew immediately I hadn’t pushed myself hard enough during the second half of the race because I finished feeling like I had something left in the tank; more like I had just run a strong tempo than a race effort. The one consolation was the performance was good enough for a division win and a high overall placing, but I still really don’t feel I gave it my all and I was disappointed.
I thank my lucky stars daily that I now have Coach Cathy to help me with my running, and today was no exception. During our post-race phone call, she told me she was proud of how I’d run the start, and that we’d do some work on the track in the coming weeks to help with my pacing, and aim for another 5K in about 3 weeks to try again.
As for the rest of my week, it was pretty mellow since I was preparing for today’s race:
Monday: 6 Miles with 10 min. warmup and 5 X 20 sec. strides and then 10 minutes at a plus pace (p.e. 6.5), 1 min. recovery and then 8 X 1 min. at p.e. of 8 with 2 min. jog recov
Tuesday: 4 miles easy
Wednesday: Arc trainer 40 minutes and 25 min strength
Thursday: 4.3 miles – 3 laps of the B’line res. 6 sprints – 2 at :40 and 4 at :39
Friday: Self-care, 30 min Core and Strength
Saturday: 3 Miles with 5 X 20 sec. strides at a p.e. of 8
Sunday: 6.1 miles: 2 mile warm-up, strides, Cambridge 5K –21:12 1st F Master, 9th F overall; Splits: 6:37, 6:47, 6:30, 1 mile cool-down
PE (perceived exertion): 5=easy, 6.5=plus pace, 7.5=comfortably hard, 8=hard, 8.5-9=very hard