I haven't run a 5K since July of 2010. I've been halfheartedly training (getting in most of my long runs, swimming once a week, but not much else) for the half ironman next month. The last speedwork I did was a month ago. None of that bodes well for a race; however, when my friend Michelle signed up for her first 5K, of course I had to go, too. After all, it was partly my incessant facebook posting about running that got her thinking that, if I could, she could too.
I got there nice and early because I hate feeling disorganized before a race. This wasn't even "my" race, but I was still nervous. Since it was pretty small (about 242 people, including the walkers), I was through check-in really fast and then had plenty of time to kill. I hung out with Michelle after she got there and tried to pass on my accumulated racing "wisdom" which basically consisted of don't go out too fast bc of all the fast people around you; just stick with your pace and warming up is good. She wanted to know if I was going to run with her or at my own pace. I offered to do either, but when she said she didn't care, I opted to run my own race.
I know...I'm an amazing friend, right?
My 5k PR was 28:00, set about a month into my racing "career", and I was hoping to hit 27 min in this race. Hoping, but doubtful. Like I said, it's been a long time since I raced a 5k, and none of my training has been focused on speed. That sad reality didn't keep me from wishful thinking, though. Instead of hiding in the back, I lined up at the back of the front and took off at a strong pace when the gun sounded.
The first mile included a downhill, which was nice. I was passing some people, but there were a couple ladies in front of me who looked like they might be in my age group. Instead of stressing about it, I just maintained a steady pace and eventually passed them. I wasn't dying, but I was pushing myself, which made it even funnier to watch some of the kids running the race as they goofed around, slaloming around and jumping over the cones on the side. I was happy just to be upright...and when I hit the first mile I was even happier to hear 8:28...but it's not uncharacteristic of me to be close to that pace in the beginning of a race.
Mile 3 was like a death march, especially having to go back up the hill. I passed another woman who looked to be my age, and at first she seemed to stick close but then dropped off. I tried to stay strong, but i know I let up some That last mile seemed to take FOREVER. I passed a guy and almost said something about how loud my breathing was until I heard how noisy his was. Finally the finish line was in sight, and when I crossed.....
By far a new PR for me and way faster than I thought I'd manage. I was thrilled...for about 15 minutes. Then, I was still happy, but I started wondering just what I could do if I actually trained for speed or ran more regularly. Most of the time, I'm pretty content with doing things haphazardly and accepting whatever results I get. Every once in a while, though, I wonder just what I'm capable of. At this point, I guess I'm just not ready to put in the time and hard(er) work to find out.
Anyway, new PR for me AND I got to watch my friend finish with a new PR as well...sub-30:00 on her first race! So it was definitely a good day, which got even better when I checked the results online later. Turns out I was 3rd in my age group!! (2nd if you don't count the lady in my AG who was 2nd overall female). Granted, it was a small race, but I'll take it!