Welp, this is not the report I hoped I’d be writing, but I guess not every race can be a PR. Cliffs Notes version: my goal time today was 19:30-19:45 and I ran a 20:30.
I started working with a new coach a month ago and we are focusing on the 5k and 10k for the summer. For the past four weeks, we’ve averaged about 43 miles a week, with three quality workouts a week including one to two track sessions. Training has gone really well. When he first sent me the training plan I didn’t think I’d ever be able to hit the paces he prescribed, but I’ve consistently performed well over the last three weeks. Last week’s track workout I ran my prescribed 2 x 1600m at 6:00 (after a bunch of 400s) in 5:57 and 6:01, which was a huge confidence builder. I thought that all signs pointed to a PR.
The Halos N Paws 5k is a small, local race run by a local church benefiting the Humane Society. To that end, runners were encouraged to run with their dogs, which in hindsight should have been a warning flag that the course wouldn’t be ideal for a PR. It was also not chip timed (warning sign #2) but I figured I’d just use my Garmin time as a good indicator of my fitness. The course was an out-and-back on a curvy, somewhat hilly road.
A local Ainsley’s Angels chapter was running at this race, which was great. Unfortunately for everyone, the race director had them line up at the front of the starting area. If you’re not familiar, Ainsley’s Angels push disabled adults in adaptive strollers. They are quite big and hard to maneuver, and even harder to maneuver around or pass.
As the race started, the combination of that group and all the dogs on leashes made me panic a bit as it was pretty difficult to get around them. I sprinted like a bat out of hell, veering around strollers and dogs and not checking my watch until around the 1/2 mile marker.
When I looked at my watch I was running 5:15 pace! This was over a minute faster than my planned 6:20 and 16 seconds faster than my mile PR. I immediately slowed down but the damage was done. When my Garmin beeped after the first mile and showed 6:02 I knew I had shot myself in the proverbial foot. As I hit the turn around point I felt like my legs turned into lead and it was a struggle to the finish.
I stopped looking at my watch after the mile two mark (6:52….ouch!). My family was waiting and cheering around 2.75 and I managed to pick up the pace for a few seconds and grimace/smile at them, and I was pretty disappointed to finish in 20:12.
There are a litany of excuses I could offer as to why I didn’t run well (it was 80 percent humidity, the course was hillier than I expected, I haven’t run a 5K in three years, the dogs and wheelchairs), and they’d probably all be valid, but the reality is that I just didn’t pace well. Luckily, I have another 5K in four weeks where I’ll attempt to pace myself much more intelligently.
On the plus side, I was first female, my kids got to run a kids’ race, and they had free cupcakes! I’d probably only ever run this race again if my kids wanted to run the single mile option with me for fun. I’ll get my revenge on the 5K in a few weeks.