Wait, did I do this backwards, two full marathons done and I’ve never actually run a 5K? Whoops!
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to run a 5K before, like at the Gobble Wobble this past Thanksgiving, but something has always happened to prevent me from completing the run. Okay, injury has always happened, along with doctors saying, “NO!”
So, with a rocking PR of 44:39 from the Gobble Wobble (which I was allowed to walk, not run). I was excited when I signed up for the Race the Landing 5K series. 5 races all on the same course. I was sure this would be a great time for me to work on my speed as I’d have a goal in sight – Finishing each race just a bit faster than the one before. However, as my recent (okay 2 year long) string of bad injury luck would have it, I ended up back at the doctor’s and he said, “No!” (again). Actually, he said something about me having to take at least 6 weeks off and then a few weeks super easy if I ever want my injury to get better. As usual, I was good and listened even if I hated it. Unfortunately, that means not only did I miss months of running, I missed the first 4 out of 5 races. (In case your keeping track at this point I had missed or not been able to run 6 different 5Ks. Yikes!) My dreams of a summer full of weekend long runs (to keep a marathon base) and weeks full of speed work quickly floated away.
However, I was happy that I got the go ahead to run the last race from him. He told me not to full out race, but that running slowly doesn’t really help my injury any more than running at a normal speed. So my game plan was to go out and try to run it somewhere between my normal slow marathon pace and an all out race pace.
I was excited since I’d never really run a 5K before, and even a bit nervous. I knew I would break my old 44 minute PR from the walk, but I was not sure if I could meet the goal I was hoping for.
I wanted to go for a 31 min race. Exactly 10 minute miles.
I knew this would be pushing it:
– with the heat
– coming back from 2 months off
– having never run a 5K
Lately runs on my own have been 10:45ish, and runs with T pushing me closer to 10:25. However, I thought if I dug really deep, and if I was in that race atmosphere I could hit even 10:00s.
Also, because the truth is I have always raced better than I run. It motivates me more.
Are any of you like that too? You “race” better than you run?Then this happened… my new 5K PR 29:39.
Holy crap where did that come from? The 10 min miles I was worried about hitting ended up at 9:36s. Wow. I think what really helped is that I started in the back of the group with the slower runners because I was sure I’d be running over 10s. I felt good when I started out and I began quickly picking people off. I just set my mind on passing the next person at my own comfortably hard (for me) pace.
When 1 mile dinged in at 9:30ish. I knew I could do it. See I was blessed, and cursed, with crazy even pacing. What I run my first mile in I will usually run a whole long run/race in, it’s like I know what I am capable of that day and just start there. No speeding up for me. I knew if I ran mile one at that pace I could do the whole thing at that pace and suddenly realized my first 5K could be sub 30. So I kept pushing, it wasn’t easy, but I knew I could keep it up. Focusing in on the person ahead of me and trying to pass them really helped. I might start from the back at most 5Ks, it seemed to motivate me.
When I crossed the finish line sub 30 I was so proud. It may not be much, but I hope to slowly get back to my old self.
I barely remember the girl I was 2 years ago before this string of injuries started. the girl who comfortably cut a sub 2 hour half. The girl who ran a 10K, uphill, on a crowded course (40,000 people) in even 9:00min mile splits. I am not back there yet – shorter race and slower split times, but I feel like if I can get healthy, or at least just keep my pain level here and not let it worsen, then maybe…. just maybe…. I rediscover the runner I used to be. I dream that one day I will not just comeback, I will comebetter!
Then, I celebrated with post race free food: fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese, red rice, and some fruit. However, I was proud of myself for restraining a bit. Most of the other runners had huge, heaping plates, but as I went through the line I politely asked the ladies who were serving for a small portion. I still got to celebrate my PR and try a bit of everything, but my plate was not overflowing like most. Not perfect, but I won’t ever be, a baby step in the right direction though.
Have you ever been a bit shocked by your own race results? (Where did that come from?)