It’s been a few years since I ran my last 5k race. I tell myself that if I’m paying for a racing and lacing up the shoes, I should be running farther than 3 miles. That is certainly part of the reason I haven’t done one lately, but the main reason is 5k races are fast. I much prefer going longer and settling into a nice comfortable pace.
This year, we stayed in Boise for Thanksgiving and had several friends running the Turkey Trot 5k so we decided to sign up. On Tuesday, I did 3x 2 mile repeats on the track which is what the training plan called for, but the training plan didn’t include a race on Thursday. I woke up the morning of the race, still sore from the track workout. Oops. My plan was to race (rather than just jog) and I checked last year’s results to see where my estimated finishing time (~18:30) would put me. I decided that if I finished around 20th, I would hit about the pace I wanted.
Before the start, I got to the front, knowing there were probably people behind me who were faster, but I like toeing the line at races. When the gun went off, about 40 people along the line surged ahead of me. I didn’t want to go out too fast, but I also knew that if they got far enough ahead, I wouldn’t be able to catch them, so I picked up my pace. I felt like I was in trouble. I was pushing pretty hard and some of the high school cross country runners were laugh and joking. This was going to be much tougher than I thought. Then after about four blocks, I heard one say, “Well that was fun, but I think I’m done now,” and a whole group of them slowed down significantly. I should have known better.
I was able to maintain close to my starting pace and when I looked at my watch at the mile mark, I was a little disappointed. I read 6:32 which was slower than I had hoped for and it was hurting more than I expected. Then I did a double take. Turns out, it didn’t say 6:32, it said 5:32! I was flying! If I could keep this up, I might be able to beat my high school PR of 17:15. It hadn’t seemed possible an hour ago, but it was within reach, so I kept pushing. I crossed the two mile mark at 11:00. On the third mile, I started feeling the track workout from Tuesday as my calves started to tighten. I wasn’t the only one hurting at this point and I was able to pass about a dozen people over this mile.
Coming into the final stretch, I realized I’d had a good race, but not one to beat my PR. I finished at 17:30, a minute faster than I was hoping for and within sight of my all-time fastest 5k. Looking back on it, I might have been able to shave off those 15 seconds if I’d skipped the 3x2s on Tuesday, but I’ll take it. I now have a reason to sign up for another 5k and this time, I’ll put a little more thought into my training.
- Have you been able to break any of your high school PRs?
- Did you do a Turkey Trot this year? How’d it go?
I dread the 5k because I feel like the fast pace is stifling. I’ve only raced two of them so far.
But I’m already signing up for at least one this year. Probably two. I feel like it may help my speed in the longer distances.
Thanks. I was not expecting to push that hard, but I think the weekly track workouts have helped build my speed. It’s still not my favorite distance, but it’s fun to do occasionally.
Good luck with your 5ks. I can’t wait to hear how they go.