First race of the year on the books – I would say a success! I signed up for the Sweetheart 5K back in January as it was a few weeks out and gave me a bit to build back up, and also the t-shirts didn’t look too hideous. It was in Overland Park, about 45 minutes away – so my parents and I left shortly after 7 to get there and do packet pick up. I had a cup of coffee, a piece of toast with half a banana and some water before we left. It wasn’t too cold, 28 °F, and there was no wind so I’d say it was pretty much as good as it could get for February.
The only goals I had in mind were; 1 – don’t go out too fast and crash before it was done and 2 – run this in less than 28 minutes. Having a race strategy is a completely new thing for me since usually all I care about is completing the distance, but I learned really fast in my half-marathon that I went out way too fast for the first 4 miles, just about collapsed running huge hills in miles 8-10 and then shuffled to the finish with no remaining dignity. So, I wanted to keep about a 9:00 pace for the first mile, then see how I was feeling and go from there.
Mile 1 – 8:50
The start of a race is always full of excitement so I probably ran the first .2 of the mile at like, an 8:00 pace before I told myself to calm down and let people distribute themselves. I found myself near a group of 4 moving at about that pace so I kept up with them and only glanced at my Garmin a few times. There were some hills that slowed me down a little bit, but really nothing much.
Mile 2 – 8:44
After I passed the first mile marker and felt fine going at a sub 9:00 pace, I continued with a comfortably challenging pace. A few more hills in this section, but again – nothing that steep.
Mile 3 – 8:21
This mile started off with a slight downhill, and I was still feeling totally fine at this pace so I tried to push it a little more. At 0.5 miles to go I really tried to lay out anything I had left. I have this mental mantra to ’empty the tank’. I read this line (I want to say it was in Once a Runner) that a runner aims to run out of gas at precisely the right moment; not too soon, but also not have anything left when crossing the finish. So if I am feeling that there is plenty left in the tank, I better start burning.
Mile .1 – :50
Kick to the finish. I kept in mind to ‘make it hurt’ (thanks Scott) and passed some dude in the chute. Don’t quit ’til its over man!
My official time was 26:45, so well under my goal of 28:00! This tells me that I can run faster than I think and I need to start kicking my ass in workouts. Next goal will be under 26:00, which I think will be a good challenge.
Afterwards I went to Mudpie bakery in Kansas City with my parents, and we enjoyed some scones, muffins and one very large oatmeal cookie. Suffice to say I’ve had my sugar fill for the week. This race also came with a nice long-sleeve shirt and a medal (for a 5k?!). I came in 15th in my age group out of 104.
Overall I feel pretty satisfied, but also am really looking forward to pushing myself more and getting a new PR. I also am interested in the 10K distance so I need to do some planning for the future. I would love to get a sub-60 minute 10K one day.