Tuesday, January 5, 2016

First Day 5K

New Years Day I woke up by alarm...at 8:15 a.m. lol Wooo! That is serious snoozing in :) 
I am not used to staying up late. I went to bed at 12:01 a.m. so I could get plenty of sleep for my 5K.  I didn't even have a beer New Year's Eve. I like 'em, but a drink will zap my energy. I had a light breakfast, a banana with a few smears of peanut butter and coffee, since the race started at 11:00 a.m.

I registered for this race Wednesday night. I was on the fence about running a 5K. I have not run a shorter distance in a long time (2013). The last few weeks my attempts at speed work have been a bit half - hearted, mostly because I didn't want to have a heart attack in the heat. I was worried this wasn't my time. I do want to race more in 2016, but I want to run longer distances, but, I thought HEY! ...just do it. 

The last official 5K I ran in 2014, the course was short, so I have never really felt good about the event or that it was a true PR. I knew the running club holding this event would have the distance correct. I just needed to line up, start, and do my best. 

Friday I woke up to the same gray clouds that hovered above for two weeks, but the humidity was gone just like the weatherman promised.  
It was a beautiful 48 degrees, dew point at 45, 75% humid and dropping. I thought today is my day, all I have to do is make my legs go. 
The start line was at a local health club just 25 minutes from home. I picked up my bib and swag, a cute hat. 


I ran three quarters of a mile to warm up, visited the little girl's room more than once, and went to line up. I was in a tank top, shorts and knee socks and felt completely comfortable.
I planned to run this as hard as I could. My cloud nine time was 27:00 
I have day dreamed about a sub 27, but I wasn't confident that was realistic for me. 
There are some pretty hardcore runners in this bunch, so I lined up about mid-pack. This was clock timed. I didn't want the front pack to run over me, but I didn't want to be trapped doing a lot dodging. 
The field took off and I tried to focus on pulling in through my nose and pushing out with my mouth, to get a good breathing pattern established. The course was a fairly flat out and back loop, in a neighborhood behind the health club. 
I was telling myself this is: 
  • short 
  • hang on 
  • push hard 
  • don't think 
  • just run
  • breath deep
One of my race strategies is to try to find someone to latch onto visually who is ahead of me. Sometimes this works out perfect and some races, like my last half marathon, it never happens. I scan the crowd once I start running, it is always a good distraction to make the miles go by. 

I took this pic right before the race started, mostly to show you the gray skies, but I got kilt guy in it. 
Kilt guy was just ahead of me running with some friends. They were all running, talking and laughing at a very steady pace.  I was at "just a few words pace". My Garmin beeped at mile one and I resisted the temptation to look at my lap time, I seem to go faster if I don't look. I knew I was running hard, and I wondered if I could even sustain the pace I was moving at. I pushed out the negative thought and said...TRY...it's short. I realized pretty early, I could probably PR if I could keep kilt guy's group in sight. 

The course turned just a tick past half way. I took a cup of water and walked for a few seconds. Kilt guy started to pull away from me, but I could still see them, so I tried to do what I do during speed work. I pushed out a few short, fast bursts and let myself slow up and recover. At the mile two Garmin beep, I was tempted to look at my lap time again. I thought if it is really fast it'll motivate me, but I truly felt like I was doing all I could, and I had my peeps in sight, so I just pushed on. I asked myself if I could pick it up at all. I didn't think so. 

I started thinking, "How much further???" I finally peeked at my watch, 2.50 miles down. I told myself, "Don't blow it now!" But I was so tired! The last little bit I was slowing down. I heard a little voice from behind my right shoulder...a sweet girl said, "Don't slow down now."  I told her I was fading. She smiled, she said, "It is just a short sprint!" and then picked it up and zoomed on by.  I could hardly see kilt guy for the first time, they had picked it up. I kind of blur when I am running this hard, I turned up my music and pushed. I was getting closer to kilt guy. My heart was pumping really hard
As I approached the clock I saw I had the chance to sub 27 and I couldn't believe it! 
Whew! I was tuckered out as I crossed the line. I knew my Garmin and the clock were seconds apart, but I knew I had nailed it.  
At the finsh line, I told kilt guy's group I tried to keep them in sight and they helped me get a PR. We all high fived. 
I went and ran an easy cool down mile for my legs. My pounding heart appreciated it too. 

I may have left a few seconds on this course during mile two, but I did not leave much.  This felt like maximum effort for me. 

A great way to start the year off!

My official time 26:49 

367 finishers for this event
I was 148th overall, this is a hard core group. The front pack of guys all ran it sub 17. 

Tell me, is there a good way to strategize a 5K? 
Do you love running them? 
Have you ever tried to visually latch onto someone during a race? 

41 comments:

  1. Congrats on the PR!

    I think my only strategy in a 5k is run as hard as I can, and try not to slow down! :)

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    1. Thank you :)
      That was my thought, I was running with my tongue hanging out lol

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    1. I have no idea what this has to do with my run, but I had twenty ounces of water and Nuun right before I ran.

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  3. Congrats on rocking your 5k and getting under 27 minutes!! YAY! This was a super fun recap to read :) 5ks are tough because while short the intensity is so high! My best 5k plan is to not go out too fast, hang on for the second mile and finish strong.

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  4. Congrats on a great run! Awesome start to the new year! I tend to avoid 5Ks because they hurt so much, but I also feel like I have unfinished business with that distance.

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    1. Thank you :)
      This did kick my tush, my legs felt it for a few days lol

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  5. Congrats on the great PR! I did that latching on to someone technique for the first time at my January 1st 5k and it worked really well :) I think the key may be picking the right person.

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    1. Thank you :)
      Yes! I have paced someone during a few of my 15k's and it worked great. Sometimes there just isn't a god fit though. I feel like having someone for this event made a huge difference for me :)

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  6. Great way to start off the year! I loved hearing about how the others ran. I'm so used to running such large races, I'd be so nervous running with such a small race crowd You did great!

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    1. Happy new year Marnie :)
      It is such a difference feel in small crowd. I like both kind of events for different reasons, but small is nice for carving out your own running space.

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  7. What a fantastic way to start the year! Congrats on your PR! I am happy you told kilt guy how much he helped you. And that that voice helped you in the end, too :)

    I think your strategy was good - to ignore your watch and push at a pace where you could get a few words out if need be. I always think I am going to start out slower at a 5K and negative split it, but that doesn't happen often! To me, I guess they are meant to be short and painful, although I do prefer when my stomach doesn't start to turn until the last mile. LOL!

    Congrats again!

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    1. Thanks Kim :)
      I have never pushed myself that hard before. I have never been great at picking it up as I go, so I thought I just have to go out hard.
      I think kilt guy's group chuckled because they were just having fun, but it really did help me. That little gal had a fantastic sprint at the end- I wish I could have done that but there was none left in tank.

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  8. I dream of sub 27 but it appears to be unreachable. My PR is 27:11 and lately it seems hard to run sub 30.

    Yes, I try to keep up with some that looks fast!!

    Congrats!!! And stay healthy!!!!

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    1. Thank you!
      You know I have a hard time on a normal run trying to sub 30 sometimes, it is so strange how some days you have it, and some days there is no way. I don't run a 5K often either so mentally I was like I gotta do this! It may be another year before I run one lol

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  9. YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    That is seriously so impressive!
    Hanging with the big guys!!!
    I love you had someone cheer you on on the course. She must have been latched onto you ;)

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    1. Thank you :) Just barely, but I did hang on!!LOL
      I wondered how long she had been behind me too :) I laughed when she zoomed by me though, her sprint was impressive. I couldn't have done it with money dangling in front of me lol

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  10. Totally AWESOME!! Congrats on the sub 27. I latch onto people all the time, or recently try to pick people off and pass them. My motto for the 5k is go out hard and just hang on lol.

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    1. Perfect motto Richard :) GO hard and hang on is the truth.
      Thank you!
      Keep picking folks off :)

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  11. Impressive, great job!!! That is an awesome time and a PR to boot!
    It may of hurt while you were doing it, but I bet it was worth the pain after for the awesome job well done!
    Great way to spend the New Year!!!! I mean how many people can say they kicked in the New Year like that!! Woot Woot Congrats Karen!!!

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    1. Thank you :)
      It did hurt! LOL but yes, totally worth it. I am so glad I did it.

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  12. WONDERFUL KAREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so proud of you for pushing through and grabbing that sub 26 by the balls! I bet you feel like a million bucks. :)

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    1. Thanks Megan :)
      Worn out and loving it!
      Yep, I loved it so much I may not run another for a few years LOL

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    2. Oh hush you will be out there in a couple days in who knows how many pairs of pants because it's soooooo freaking cold.

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    3. I know the cold runs are killing me! lol I usually love the cold, but these past few days proved to be challenging...I guess I need to adjust(?)

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  13. WOO HOO!!! GREAT JOB AND WAY TO PUSH THROUGH!!! I think 5Ks are the hardest races out there because there is so little room for error. Before you blink, the race is over! YOU ROCKED IT!!!

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    1. Thank you Emily :) You are so right, a blink and it is over :) I got lucky I had a good day!

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  14. Yipeee! Congrats on the PR!! That is so awesome!

    I try to keep someone in my sight but it doesnt always work. The last mile is when I really try to reel them in if I can.

    I have just begun to push myself to race the 5k faster. I have been doing track workout since the summer and really think they are helping.

    I ran a NY 5k and struggled due to lack of sleep and a bit too much champagne and tequila shots (New Year Day is my bday).

    I think it is a short race but something about pushing hard for 3 miles is hard too (I think).

    Tamieka@fitballingrunningmom

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    1. Thank you :) I was pretty excited!
      You need to try a 5K when you have had no tequila shots lol That makes it tough!! The track work outs will make you stronger, you just need to pick a race and you can nail it :)

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  15. Well look at you! Way to go and awesome start to the new year!!! My motto is that if I can talk, I'm not running fast enough...

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    1. OH!! I love that lol I need to remember that :)
      Thanks Wendy!

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  16. Speedy! THat is awesome! I find 5ks are getting harder the older I get, I take a while to get the legs moving. I have latched on to people during races and it makes it easier. I have had fellow runners help me out at the end too, telling me, "don't stop now..." They really help me too, more than a spectator. Congrats, on a great way to start 2016!

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    1. It takes me legs a bit now too, I need that warm up run :) I really could have used a mile, but I also needed the little girls room lol
      Thank you :) I feel good starting off the year this way, as apposed to last year when I got the boot.

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  17. Congratulations on your PR! What a way to kick off the year.

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    1. Thank you Lisa :) I think I am still sore from it lol

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  18. Yes, I've tried to hang with other runner's. It helps. That's a great 5k time. Big congrats!

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