This 5K is a local race which very few people run (maybe 50-75?). This is my second year in a row that I have ran this race and I hope to run it every year. I honestly wasn’t really prepared for this race at all. I have only been running 1-2 times a week for the past 2 months and I haven’t been putting much effort in to improve so I was a little nervous. On the other hand, since it was only 3.1 miles I knew I could handle it so really the only thing that I kept thinking was that I was going to be so much slower than last year. Don’t get me wrong, I am never signing up for these races thinking I am going to win anything. I just sign up for them to hold myself accountable to keep up with my running. It’s funny, an older woman was talking with me before the start and she told me she signs up for a race every weekend to keep up with her running too!
Let’s start with the beginning… the race started at 8 am and since it is a 5 minute drive from my house I didn’t have to get up until about 7 am. I intended on eating a bagel with peanut butter and banana since that is my go-to pre-race fuel but because it was my Instagram 2 year anniversary, I decided to make Kodiak Cakes since that was my very first post.
After I ate I got dressed real quick (I had all my clothes laid out the night before) and we were off. My husband dropped me off at the local park where the race was being held and he and my daughter went to Dunkin’ Donuts to grab breakfast. Before the race I picked up my number and my free shirt and ate 4 Sports Beans for a little extra sugar energy (I ate 2 more about 1/2 way through the race). Also, it was sprinkling on and of just a little before the race so I was hoping the rain would hold off.
When the horn blew for the race to start it seemed like people took off so fast. I always try to keep a conservative pace in the beginning so I don’t fly and die but it was really hard to when I felt like I was going so much slower than everyone else. I picked up the pace a bit and I found someone who seemed to be running a similar pace but just a bit quicker and I made it my goal to stick behind them. This is probably one of my best strategies because it really helps me keep a steady pace that is a little speedier but since I’m distracted by following the other person it doesn’t seem as difficult.
Since I wasn’t fully prepared for this race my initial plan was to just run it for fun but since I’m really competitive with myself I went for trying to beat last years time or at least get close. By the end of mile 1 I was hurting! I slowed my pace up a bit and told myself I would push it once mile 2 hit. I didn’t do that, haha! However, I did speed up but I waited until mile 2.5 to really amp up my speed. Around mile 2 is also when it started to rain. This would have normally been welcomed since it’s a nice way to cool down but I didn’t wear a visor like I normally do so the rain mixed with my sweat which dripped into my eyes and was burning pretty bad. I wore my contacts during the race (first time I’ve done this) and it made it even worse because every time I rubbed my eyes with my sleeve they would feel like they were falling out. At the end of the race there is a portion that goes through grass and then a trail which seemed awful since it was so uneven BUT it also felt great because I knew the finish line was so close. I was trying to push it really hard at this point and then I saw my husband and daughter cheering for me which gave me the last little boost I needed to finish the race!
We stayed and waited for everyone to finish. I had a water and about 1/2 of an apple. The pancakes sat great which I was a little nervous about since it was my first day eating grains with gluten in almost 70 days (Whole30).
I ran around in the field a little with my daughter and after about 20 more minutes when everyone was done they hung up the official times. I was 10 seconds, 10 SECONDS slower than I was last year. Honestly I was slightly bummed because I was SO CLOSE to getting the same or a faster time BUT I was also extremely proud of myself for pushing past my comfort level since I knew that I hadn’t put the effort in for that time and wasn’t fully deserving of it. My official time was 26:56 (last year it was 26:46) with a pace of 8:41.
All and all it was a really great race and a fun time. Next year hopefully I will be in better shape and can run my fastest time yet. I just want to mention, time isn’t everything. People are slower than me and faster than me. The reason I love hobby running is because the only person I am racing against is myself. It is fun for me to try to beat my previous times. It’s also completely okay if I don’t. I am happy that I have found an activity that I enjoy doing that is keeping me healthy and moving… that is really what it’s all about!