Tag Archives: 5K

Humble Pie: Kracker Classic 5K Race Report

I ran the Kracker Klassic 5K this weekend in my hometown (there is no link–that’s how small this race is!).   I was actually kind of excited to run this one because the race used to run by my house as a child and we always had a water station set up in our front yard.    Since it was a hometown race, I knew the route would be boring, but I’d see a lot of people I knew there*. 

I think this is my 6th 5K, so I should be fairly used to them by now, right?   Uh… No.  I FAILed miserably.   There are all kinds of excuses for why this happened:  heat, humidity, strength training the day before,…. etc., etc. 

But the bottom line is this:  I haven’t really been running consistently for months.  I thought it would be no problem to do “just a 5K.”  The morning of the race, I wasn’t really feeling it.  And I hadn’t pre-registered so I seriously considered skipping it, but I was kinda hoping to validate my surprise PR from last month.   I figured if I could finish under 32:00 I’d have an “official” PR to report.  No dice.  

My time was 34:5x, barely under 35 and almost a full 3 mins slower than last time.   This is my 3rd worst 5K time ever.  I ran better hungover for crying out loud!   I even took walk breaks. . .   in a 5K!   I ran a half marathon, damn it, I should be able to eek out 3 measly miles.   But I didn’t. 

The running gods have served me a piece of humble pie and I’m eating it.  I ran this morning with a renewed sense of purpose. I will NOT let heat/humidity keep me from training anymore. I *must* improve my times.  Otherwise, all that hard work for the half seems all for nothing.  I don’t even feel like a “real” runner right now.   


* I did see a lot of people I knew there, which ended up being more intimidating than I originally thought.  However, because it was a small hometown race, I actually knew a lot of the winners, which was super cool.

How to PR a 5K

3-5 months prior

1 month prior

  • Casually mention race to your boyfriend.  Suggest that you run the 10K relay as a twosome.   Subtly infer that you will beat him.

2 weeks prior

  • Run your first half marathon.  Live to tell (and write) about it.
  • Decide that the twosome is a dumb idea.  Tell boyfriend it won’t work out for scheduling reasons.
  • Have boyfriend convince you to re-consider.  Confirm with him that he’s serious. 
  • Sign up both the bf and  yourself for the race.  Realize there’s no turning back.
  • Convince some friends to sign up.

The week before

  • Run exactly twice.   For no more than 3 miles.  Call it “speedwork” even though you’re going at an 11:30 pace.

The day before

  • Remind your friends to hydrate. 
  • Drink lots of coffee.
  • Fail to hydrate yourself.

The night before

  • Go out for happy hour.  Have approximately 5 beers.  Fail to eat dinner.
  • Get greasy drive through burger, fries, and mozerella sticks approximately 10:30 p.m.
  • Go to another bar and have 2 more beers.
  • Wait up for the boyfriend to get home.
  • Go to bed around 2:30 a.m.
  • Toss and turn all night.

The day of the race

  • Get up at 8 a.m. with a MAXIMUM of 3 straight hours of sleep.
  • Attempt to hydrate.  Take some Tylenol.  Let the dog out.  Will the room to stop spinning.
  • Fail to find armband for the iPhone.  Decide this run doesn’t need to be documented.
  • Get the bf up at 8:30.  Calmly mention the race starts at 9:00.
  • Drive to race site.  Listen to boyfriend complain about agreeing to sign up.
  • Arrive at 8:45.  Find friends.  Give boyfriend keys.  Make way to starting line.

During race

  • Start the first quarter mile or so with super-speedy friend.  The one who just had a baby and still runs WAY faster than you. Begin to eat her dust as she pulls out ahead.
  • Realize that although the course is a boring loop you’ve run three times before, it’s not so bad.
  • Pass Mile one.  Get time.  10:12.  Not bad.
  • Pass the halfway point.  Hear people yell your name.  Realize it’s not the boyfriend. Momentarily worry that he has actually fallen asleep on the ground somewhere.
  • Pass Mile two.  Get time.  21:00.  Not bad at all.  Feel PR coming.
  • Decide that if you push it you can get in under 30:00
  • Feel a teeny bit pukey.  Decide that 30 is maybe pushing it a bit.
  • Near the hill at the end.  Realize you’re almost there.  See your super-speedy friend who has already finished.
  • Receive encouragement from a lady in a sports bra and biker shorts as you charge up the hill at the end.
  • Pass off your baton (aka tongue depressor) to the boyfriend.   Ask for your time.
  • Feel vaguely like puking.  But hold it in.
  • Do not receive a time.   Ask for it again.
  • Hear some random person say 32.  
  • Realize that this is almost a 3 minute PR.  Continue to hold back puking.


  • Grab some water and wait for your friends who are running the open 5K to finish.
  • Remember (too late) that they finish at a different spot.
  • Meet up with friends to wait for the boyfriend to finish.
  • Curse the fact that you didn’t look at your watch at the beginning.  Nor did you have your phone/RunKeeper.
  • Get in trouble for ogling a good-looking roofer.
  • Respond “no” when someone asks if that’s the boyfriend coming towards the finish line.
  • Realize that you do not recognize your own boyfriend when he’s running.
  • Cheer boyfriend on as he crosses the finish line.  Offer water and cookie that are respectfully declined.
  • Ask boyfriend what the final time was. 
  • Do the math in your head.
  • Lament the fact that said boyfriend, who is not a runner, and hasn’t trained ONE MINUTE for this race has beaten you. 
  • Listen as boyfriend describes excruciating pain he’s in and states that he’s never doing anything like it again.
  • Go to derby practice and revel in the fact that he will be unable to walk the next day.

That, my friends, is a sure-fire way to break your 5K PR.  It’s *technically* my 3rd PR in 6 weeks (the other two were default PRs since they were new distances), but I don’t have official results since only the relay is timed.   I’m 100% confident I could’ve broken 30 if I hadn’t been hungover, sleep deprived, and just a teeny bit bored.

5K #4: It’s funny how goals change

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
  • 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.

Trust in Your Training

I’m running a 5K on Saturday.  It will be my fourth.   The first one I just wanted to finish.  The second two I ran with very little preparation and on the heels of trips/vacations, so i didn’t expect much.   This one I’ve actually trained for.

I have a time goal in mind, but I’m too modest, shy, scared, f-ing petrified to put it in writing just yet.  I do have some other goals though:

  • Finish faster than last time
  • NO WALKING (you’ll remember that last time I started to quickly and had to take a short walk break)
  • Finish strong
  • Finish with a smile
  • Maintain a somewhat even pace

WHEN I meet my time goal I’m buying myself a fancy running watch.  My current system of adding up the song times on my iPod just isn’t cutting it.  But I’m not sure I’m ready to invest in a Garmin– not yet anyway!!   IF I meet my other goals, I’ll buy a new pair of running pants.

I *know* I can do this.   I’ve run this course before.  I’ve trained*.   I’m ready.    My motto for this race is “trust in your training.”     In the 4 weeks leading up to this race I’ve averaged about 10 miles a week and I’ve increased my long run to a little over 4 miles.

Now  I just have to get out there and DO IT!!   (And pray for good weather and “race adrenaline”).

* My “training” thus far has been pretty much self-directed.  Starting Monday, I’m going to follow an actual 10K training plan. I’m excited about it because there are dedicated days for Cross-Training, which I think will help with my overall fitness and with fighting boredom.  Stay tuned for more.


Yesterday was the Second Annual Run4Raley, an event put on by a local family who lost their daughter to mitochondrial disease last year.  (Read more and donate at run4raley.com).

As you may recal, I participated last year as a walker (and a biker… see this post), but this year I signed up to run!

I knew I was going to run the race for a while, but I haven’t been training AT ALL.  In fact, I haven’t been doing much of anything for the last 4 or 5 weeks, so I was VERY concerned about my fitness level.  I managed to get 3 runs in last week, so I knew I wouldn’t DIE… but that’s about it.

The race was good… not too hot ( a blessing for August) and there were lots of people there I knew.   I was a little intimidated by the small number of runners, though. The other races I’ve done have been MUCH larger, and I was afraid I might come in last.

By the time the race started, I felt GREAT.  I told myself to stay slow, run my own race and just to finish.   I started off pretty strong.  I reasoned with myself that if I could keep the “pack” in my eyesight, I would guarantee that I wouldn’t come in last.  About a mile in, the pack had thinned, but there were a few runners who were at or near my pace.

There was one woman who was doing a run/walk method. It quickly became clear that she and I were running at about the same pace.   After the half-way turn, this started to psyche me out a bit.  I was getting winded and hot and my legs actually started to hurt (this never happens), so I decided at about the 2 mile mark that I could probably replicate her walk/run and maintain my current pace.   I walked with her for ONE of her walking segments and then started running again.

After a couple of intervals of this,  I realized that a) her pace was actually a lot FASTER than mine and b) the start-stop wasn’t working for me.   Plus, there was NO WAY I was going to have my friends see me WALK at the end… so I finished strong.   And you know what?  My overall time was almost a MINUTE better than my last 2.  Yeah!

I’ve been bitten by the running bug again… Some things I learned:

  • I really need to learn to start off slowly.  My first mile was WAAYYY too fast to maintain for the entire run. MUST.LEARN.PACING.
  • As much as I loved supporting this cause, I need to look for courses that are more interesting.  Out-and-back on a country road was pretty BO-ring.
  • It really does help having people at the finish line cheering you on.  This was the first time I actually KNEW the people cheering and it was a big help.
  • I need cuter running clothes (see below)


Foto Friday: Running with Ryann

Okay, by now you all know I finished my first 5K last weekend.  I’m still pretty proud of myself, and I have my sights set on the next race. 

But I realized that even though I’ve blogged (ad nauseum) about running, I failed to mention what I was running for.   Yes, I wanted to meet a personal goal and whip myself in shape.  But, more importantly,  I was running in memory of Ryann Hope Smith, my friend’s  little girl who was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) and got her angel wings shortly after birth.

Jaime had shirts made up for runners/walkers to wear on race day.   On the front it says:   “Silent Strength  In Memory of Ryann Hope Smith 12/27/08- 1/5/09.”  The back says  “Just Breathe… for CDH.”    All proceeds from the sale of these shirts went to support CDH research.

I bought two– one to work out in and one to wear that day.   The first time I EVER ran the full 3.1 miles I was wearing my “training” shirt.  And I truly believe that Ryann was with me on race day, helping me to cross that finish line.

crossing the finish line in my Ryann Hope shirt

crossing the finish line in my Ryann Hope shirt

Clennon, me, Lindsey, Jaime & Erin pre-race

Clennon, me, Lindsey, Jaime & Erin pre-race

Just SOME of the people suppporting CDH research that day

Just SOME of the people suppporting CDH research that day

I’m super proud to be able to support my friend while also accomplishing a goal.  To learn more about CDH, please visit http://www.breathofhopeinc.org/.


(Photos borrowed from Jaime’s facebook and the Illinois Marathon site–shhhh)

I did it!

Yes, folks… I finished my first 5K and now I’m addicted.  It was like riding a roller coaster.  As soon as the race was over, I wanted to go again.

I was slow, finishing in just over 36 minutes.  I got really caught up in the “race day” atmosphere and I never really got into a good groove.  Although I think the adrenaline pushed me on, I definitely missed the solitude of my training runs.

And not to toot my own horn or anything, but there’s something really satisfying about setting a goal and accomplishing it.  Just a week ago, I wasn’t certain I’d finish.  But once I built up my confidence, I knew I would.

All in all, awesome day!  It was so great to see so many people out there. It’s funny because running is such a solitary sport, yet it becomes so very social on race day.  I was thrilled to finish and thrilled I got to run with one of my very best friends.

Clennon and I post-race

Clennon and I post-race

Until next time…