The RIDA 5K was my first postpartum race last year, and I was thrilled to run it in 26:50.
This year, though, I was even more thrilled to set a new 5K PR - 7 seconds faster than the one I just set in February!!! I really had no intention of going out for a PR, and wasn't expecting it at all - running my first sub-23 5K hurt - really bad - and I didn't think I had it in me to do it again just a couple of months later, without really preparing for it. It was certainly a nice surprise, though!
It was a great race overall, too, even though I got there with barely enough time to spare. I left about 10 minutes later than I had planned on - such is life with three kids! - so I was a little on edge driving to the race, watching the clock tick by.
And as I was pulling into the park, it was only 20 minutes to the start of the race. That may seem like plenty of time, but it's a big enough race that I had to park kind of far away from the start, so by the time I jogged up to the registration area, got my number, pinned it on, jogged back to my car to drop off my goody bag and t-shirt, and jogged back to the start, there was literally three minutes to the race start.
I've never cut it that close before, and I'm glad I usually leave myself more time, because I don't like feeling so rushed and harried! I had JUST enough time to make a quick pit stop at the bathroom, and then dashed right out to the starting line.
I wasn't planning on a PR, but I was planning on running a good race, so I lined up pretty close to the front of the pack. It was a gorgeous day - temperature up near 50, and blue, sunny skies. Warm enough for a singlet and shorts - finally!!!!
Since I was so late, there was virtually no nervous downtime before the race started. The horn sounded, and we were off! The only hill on the entire course is a very very small incline right at the start - and it's barely noticeable. So once that was over with, I knew the rest of the race was flat as a pancake. Lovely : )
I wanted to start off conservatively, like I did for the Super 5K, but I was all over the place during the first mile. Some sub-7s, and then a few times I'd look down and see the Garmin registering over an 8-minute pace. I still have a lot of trouble with pacing during that first mile, but I just have to keep working on it. In the end, though, I ran Mile 1 in 7:27, so I still need some work, but I guess I'm doing ok.
And I was feeling pretty great, so I knew I could pick it up a bit for mile 2. Still flat, still gorgeous weather, and still feeling awesome. Mile 2 - 7:11!!!
I was feeling a tad tired at this point, but as always, knowing there was only 1.1 to go, I knew I had it in me to go just a tiny bit faster. It was also at this point that I ran into Mr. Yankee - a young guy in a Yankees baseball cap. I was honestly not the least bit interested in racing him - until I saw that, every time I pulled up alongside him, he glanced over at me and sped up. He clearly did not want to be outrun by a girl. Which, of course, made me want to outrun him : )
I didn't go nuts trying to pass him, though - I didn't want to burn out and end up limping into the finish. But I certainly didn't slow down, either, and within about a minute, I had passed him and never saw him again. And I have to admit, it felt pretty good to leave a young guy - and Yankees fan - in the dust : )
Mile 3 was a little harder than the first two, but I was honestly still feeling pretty great - much better than I felt while runnig the Super 5K in February! I was tired, but I didn't feel like I wanted to stop running and collapse on the side of the road.
It showed, too - another negative split for Mile 3 - 7:09!
The final stretch was a slight downhill (same hill we went up at the start), and as soon as I rounded the final corner and saw the clock was right around 22:20, I knew I was going to get a new PR, so I ran for all I was worth, completing the final .1 in 6:06 and crossing the finish line at 22:44!!!! Seven seconds faster than my 'old' PR!!!!!
And I felt shockingly good! Which, of course, leads me to believe that I can do even better!
I am, in fact, already planning on my new goal for 2012 - breaking 22 minutes in a 5K. Forty-four seconds is a lot in a 5K, but I think I can do it, if I can get some speedwork under my belt.
Plenty of time to reach that goal, though, and in the meantime, I'll just revel in the fact that, just two months after reaching what I thought was my ultimate 5K goal (sub-23 minutes), I've one-upped myself by seven seconds!
I was just shy of an age-group award (the 3rd place women in my age group was about 9 seconds ahead of me), but I was running as part of the local running club's women's team, and we were the first place team, so between that team win and my new PR, I consider this my third winning weekend in a row : )
There are still times that I wish I could run 4 and 5 times a week, but since I cut back to running three times a week, I'm posting my fastest racing and training times ever, and feeling better than ever, so this is clearly the formula that works for me. 22:44!!!! 7:20 per mile!!! And it didn't feel easy, but it didn't feel all that hard, either.
Final stats -
22:44, 7:20 pace
4 out of 33 in 30 - 39 age group
45 of 338 overall
What a HUGE difference a year makes!