Today I ran my first 5K in almost a year. I used to love the 5K. Who can pass up the opportunity to expand your running t-shirt and race bib collection? Not me. However, when I was training for my marathon last September I didn't want to run any 5Ks leading up to it, and I injured myself during the race, so there were no 5Ks after it either (I had to drop out of the Army Ten-Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon 10K). Then the same thing this past spring (minus the injury part) when I was training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon DC..I didn't want to get hurt prior to the race..which meant I missed all the spring race in SoMD. Bummer.
Training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon DC made me fast(er). Up until the end of June when the heat and humidity of SoMD really started to hit, I was averaging 8:50-9:10 min/mile on my runs. This is pretty amazing coming from the person who was content to stay at the 10:00-11:00 min/mile range.
Today was going to be the day that I broke the 30 min 5K barrier. I signed up to run the Women in Defense and Leadership Southern Maryland 5K/10K Run and Walk. I was super excited.
Me pre-race :)
I did a warm-up as I was waiting around for the race to start. I jogged for a bit and then did some high-knees, butt kicks, grapevines (I actually don't know what to call these), and some stretching.
I found a group of 4 women who were running who looked around my age and decided to chat with them until the race started. This is always one of my favorite parts about races. I learned that this was 3 of the women's first 5K! So cool :) They were really excited and I was excited to be able to hear what their strategy was and to encourage them. As we were waiting at the start line I realized how unbearably hot it was at 8 am. This was going to be a tough run.
The race was an out-and-back course starting at Cedar Point Golf Course and heading towards the fishing pier at Pax River. Normally on that side of the base there is a constant breeze. It didn't feel like the air was moving at all this morning. My goal was to reach the turn-around point in 14:00 min or less. I managed to make it in 14:30. Slight bummer, but I was happy for the short walk break (45 seconds) and time to drink some much needed H2O.
On the return portion of the run I saw quite a few people ahead of me start to walk. Sure sign that this was a hot day to be out running. I ended up passing two people pretty quickly. This always gives me a slight boost :) I yelled some encouraging words at one woman walking, but she had headphones in and didn't hear me. There was a guy ahead of me who would run for a bit then start walking. He did this from the turn-around to the finish line. It was actually really discouraging to me to be behind him. It was hot, I was struggling, and seeing him quit made me want to quit. Luckily I didn't. Eventually I caught up to him and passed him. Once I passed him, I could see the finish line. I tried not to look at my watch, but I did and realized that it was going to be really tough for me to finish in under 30 min. I pushed it as hard and I could, and was able to sprint at the end, but still finished in 30:20 min. Not what I was hoping for. I had to remind myself that not every run is going to be "the best run". Even though I didn't break 30 min, I still PR'ed for a 5K! My last best 5K time was 30:29 min at the Humane Society of Calvert County Pet Day 5K last year.
All things considered, I'm pretty happy with my race today. I will break the 30 min 5K barrier. Today just wasn't that day. The most important thing to remember is that getting out there and moving is what matters-- not how fast you go, not how fast the person in front of you is going. It's your life. It's your race. You run it for you.
So tell me-- did anyone get out and run today?? Whether just for fun or supporting a cause through a race. Let here how your running day went! :)