I ran my fourth 5K this morning. As you might recall, I set some pre-race goals. My ultimate goal was to finish in under 34 minutes (there, I said it!), but if that didn’t happen, I wanted to beat my previous time, run the whole thing without walking, try to maintain an even pace and to finish strong, with a smile on my face.
When I passed the halfway point, I felt great. I wasn’t tired at all and I was firmly in the middle of the pack. The clock said just over 16 mins, so I thought “hell, I might even beat my time goal.”
When I got to the two-mile point, I was hurting. I realized I probably started off too fast and decided to let go of my time goal. I told myself that as long as I finished strong and didn’t walk, the race would be a success.
At 2.5 miles, I was really starting to doubt the “finishing with a smile” goal. But I trucked on.
As I rounded the corner at Mile 3, I looked up and saw the race clock. I’m not exactly sure what the number was, but it was 33:50-something. HOLY CRAP! I knew I probably couldn’t get there before it turned 34, but I was determined to get as close as possible.
I kicked into an all-out sprint and finished in 34:23 (11:05 pace). Not quite my goal time, but a LOT better than I expected, and a full minute faster than last time.
- Finish in under 34 minutes– FAIL
- Finish faster than last time– CHECK
- NO WALKING- CHECK
- Finish strong– CHECK
- Finish with a smile– DOUBTFUL. My “sprint face’ doesn’t leave room for a smile.
- Maintain a somewhat even pace– FAIL. I don’t know what my splits were, but there’s no way it was even.
Overall, I’m happy with my performance. It counts as a personal best and it’s almost TWO minutes faster than my first 5K
back in April.
Even though I didn’t make my time goal, I’m still toying with the idea of getting a watch or something to help me with my pace. I’m not sure when I’ll do another 5K (I’m gonna try my hand–legs?– at a longer distance), but it would’ve helped tremendously to know before the *end* where I was on the clock.
Some other random observations about the race:
- This was a Women’s Fitness race, which meant–obviously– that only women participated. The atmosphere wasn’t much different from other races, but it was kinda nice to see all the ladies out there supporting one another. There were a group of girls who had “This is my first 5K” shirts on. Everyone was cheering them on, it was great!
- They had a group warm-up session before the race. I’ve never seen this before and I assume it was part of the Women’s Fitness aspect. An instructor from one of the local fitness centers led the racers in a series of aerobic warm-ups and stretches. Kinda weird, but kinda fun. I hope they post pictures on the web site, cuz I’m sure it was quite a sight!
- The race was fairly well-run, but the volunteers at the mile markers didn’t have stopwatches and weren’t giving times. I guess they assume that everyone has fancy timekeeping equipment, but since I’m still living in the running dark ages, I had no clue until the end. Also, the start was a little confusing because the bullhorn ran out of batteries (?) and so the race director had to yell out instructions. Not a huge deal, just some confusion.
- The weather was fine. It was kinda foggy/misty, but luckily it didn’t rain. I made the mistake of walking through the grass on my way to pick up my packet so my feet were wet for the whole race, but I didn’t notice once we got going.
- I’m sure this happens to everyone, but I wish they’d figure out a better way to mark the miles. As I was about to hit the half-way point (it’s a two-loop course), I ran past the 3 mile marker. Now of course I know that it’s a 2-loop course. And of course I know that there’s no way I’ve run 3 miles in a mere 4 songs on my iPod (again with the high-tech timing methods), but for a half a second I thought “Wow–that was fast.” It kinda killed my mojo for a second. I can’t imagine what it must be like to run a marathon and see all the half-marathoners finishing and knowing you still have another 13.1 miles to go!
- And, finally– I’m disappointed in the t-shirts. Obviously, I didn’t run for the shirt, but I was hoping to get a cute tee from a women’s race. They’ve been doing it for years, so I’m sure they’re sick of getting pink shirts made, but this is a weird burnt orange color. My favorite race tee is from the Twin Cities Twosome. It’s kelly green and I love it.