It's been a while since I've had a race to recap, and not by choice! This blog has so few races since I've been pregnant and injured pretty much the entire time I've had it. If you go back to my old blog (where I almost blogged everyday for a while) there are plenty of race recaps... I feel like a totally different runner these days because racing has been my weekend activity for as long as I can remember and this year just hasn't been that way... and maybe the future I'll have to choose races more wisely as well. My body isn't handling the harder efforts very well so I need to learn to be kind. Back to the recap:
The Holden Road Race:
It's a tiny little pointless thing that families do on Thanksgiving, a local Turkey Trot. I only did it one other time, but ran so well I knew it would be a great place to compare my "peak self" to my... err... current... not-so-peak self. People say "comparison is the thief of joy" but I constantly compare and don't feel worse off for it. Comparison can be a great tool, and I use it often. I put the idea about racing in my coaches head somewhere around 3 weeks before the race, maybe less. At this point training was going really well. and my body was finally showing signs that it was healing whereas all the weeks of training prior to weaning Maebel were not that way. I was in constant pain and the only reason I got through what I got through was because I thought there was an end to the pain and if I just kept running every day I'd be further away from the date of delivery and closer to the day where I felt my body was whole again. Every time I ran would just throw a log in the fire of hell I was putting my body through. Anyway, that's in the past. Every day I am improving and healing, but it's still a delicate balance of two steps forward and an occasional step back.
Here are some Training stats for the 8 weeks leading up to the race
So I wouldn't exactly say I was well trained for a 5k, and I really didn't do many workouts to indicate what my time would be, so I figured if I used vDot backwards. My easy pace indicated that my race effort 5k would be somewhere in the 19:30 range. I was happy with that at first but my husband eye rolled at it and was like "you're going to run faster than that, you can probably break 19" I'm a damn good 5k runner so if there was any distance I could pull a time like that out of my ass it would be the 5k. However, I was actually leaning towards a slower time, I haven't run a race in over a year! I'm not exactly race sharp!... So I gave myself a big goal range of 18:59-19:59. If I ran over 20 minutes I was going to be pretty upset with myself. I've suffered through enough 5k's that I should be able to fake my way to a sub 20 effort 90% of the time... but I did prepare for the fact that if it happened, I'd just have more work to do than I thought.
Race day comes and it's record breaking freezing, so bad we got emails telling us to keep kids home and spectators home and "run at your own risk" type of emails. I believe it was 8 degrees and real feel was something like -17 when I started. The race started before the sun had risen above the buildings and that made a big difference so it warmed up to a balmy -5 by the time I headed home. There was a thin layer of frost covering the roads because of how cold it was. I had a plan, but suddenly my plan was even stupider than It was prior to the weather report. I based my strategy completely around the elevation of the course. I'd run a baller first mile since It's quite downhill, and then recover before the first major hill, ease my way over that (it peaks around 1.5) bomb down to make up lost time, and then focus really really hard on the tangents in the neighborhoods (the only flat section of the course is turn after turn after turn) and then just slowly empty the tank in the nearly mile climb at the end, and bomb down the finishing hill. Starting balls to the wall didn't seem like such a good idea with freezing cold muscles (even after a warm up) so as I stood on the line I talked myself out of that plan and tried to devise a new one... which was mainly "don't start too hard, your muscles are cold... don't get injured you moron"
The gun goes off and I am passed by what feels like everyone... I look at my brand new watch and it says I'm running 7:00 pace... it felt easy but in that moment I also felt rusty... but I changed my self talk to "just be smart" and I decided to just take the first mile focusing on really deep slow breaths and low heart rate and wait to move until I had a better grasp on how my legs were going to a. respond to the hard effort for longer than 1:00, b. respond to the cold and c. both of those things combined. Mile 1 was super easy and I clicked it off in 6:18* but the effort was definitely easier than that.
Mile 2 I spent the most energy worrying about my pace in this mile. I really wasn't super happy to run a 6:18 on the easiest mile. I know it was the smart approach, but at this point I knew to run 19:30 I was going to have to crank the hills a bit more than I anticipated. This mile I had a really young boy drafting off of me really tightly. I didn't let it bother me, in fact I was pleasantly surprised that someone his age wasn't trying to pass me in utter disbelief that a girl was in front of him. I actually thought to myself that I was helping him, and it helped me charge up the hills a bit without putting much thought to it. The second half of this mile is the neighborhoods and those passed by really quick. I stayed focused on the tangents which distracted me from the fact that the hard effort was starting to get to me a bit, 6:21*
When I got to the start of mile 3 I was just so shocked to already be there. Honestly, I forgot how quick a 5k is! Again, I was a bit bummed to be heading into the hardest mile having not banked some time during the easiest mile... Now I would never advise the "bank time" method, because most of the time it's a bad idea. However, this is only a 5k and the course lent itself to a positive split finish and if you look at my effort, I could have certainly afforded to take off a handful of seconds in the first mile... but at this point I knew 19:30 was mine to achieve and I had to let go of a sub 19 today. Mile 3 is a long annoying climb on a road I drive every single day and I was moving up it like a champ. If only we could turn into the parking lot on the first turn instead of the second. The change in grade at the end of the hill is dramatic and I was starting to breathe heavier than I have in quite some time... but I can see the mile marker at the crest of the hill and just kept focusin on getting there, 6:21*
The last .1
The last .1 is down the parking lot entrance and finally onto a flat straight away. I planned to bomb down the hill but I was a bit afraid to run all out here... which was an unusual feeling. I gradually turned over and then did a much harder sprint to the finish once I got on flat ground where I felt my body would be more secure. I had a lot left in me, and was happy that as soon as I got on flat ground my legs recovered very quick and lactic acid was cleared... but not much real estate left at that point, however I passed two men! I crossed the line and saw 19:20ish... I didn't know if it was high or low but then my watch said 19:38... and then some results I saw 19:35, and then the results had a disclaimer on them about the clock freezing so they had to retrieve the proper results later from the computer... and that's when I saw I ran 19:21... I know I didn't stop my watch right away... because a finishing photo of stopping the watch is lame... but not sure what my exact last split was. It says 5:23 on my garmin, but it truly wouldn't surprise me if I was closer to 5:00 for the last .1... Whatever... I'm going with the official results because if Garmin doesn't count when it's faster, it can't count when it's slower either.
Just before I started my cooldown I said to myself "you should only do a mile because it's freezing"... but then I thought "no! Your weekly mileage!" and then I thought "It's not that cold"... so I went for 2 and have quite a bit of regret about that now. My calf tightened up at 1.7 and I have been unable to get my training in this week. I really think this will be gone... maybe by tomorrow... but still an annoying reminder to not be a dumbass. I didn't foam roll after because a million and one family obligations, and then we left for Maryland Friday (10 hour drive!) for my husbands marathon and then drove back Sunday... so I really didn't do a good job taking care of myself post-race and am doing everything I can to get back to where I was when I stood on the starting line... and hopefully I'll have more race recaps with even better splits in the future!
Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I still hope to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but for now I’m trying to focus on the process and I’m learning to enjoy it. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!