Saturday morning I ran the homecoming 5k race that was my first 5k back in 2011. The last time I ran the race I had no idea what a race high was, what it was like to step up to a starting line, or what it was like to finish a race, no matter what distance it was. On Saturday, I knew those things well, but I wasn’t particularly stressed or excited. I needed to leave my house at 7:05, so I set my alarm for 6:45, but ended up snoozing until 6:50 (talk about relaxed, right?!). I threw on my clothes, grabbed a protein bar and my standard 8-10 ounces of orange juice, and ran out the door. My 5k time has been set since November of 2011 (30:48). I set it on a Turkey Trot (my 2nd race ever), and haven’t been able to break the time. It’s been frustrating to say the least, so today I had no expectations other than to just have a fun run.
I stuffed down the bar and OJ as I drove to the start line, and once got there checked in, warmed up, and put on my race bib. I talked to a few people I knew, not bothering to try to get into any sort of racing mentality. Then it was go time.
The race horn went off (it was a pretty small race), and I hit my runkeeper and went. I did the 3:1 (run:walk) Galloway Method, and although the first minute or two my legs were really hurting, I quickly fell into a good pace. I was feeling really good, and I hit the first mile in a pace MUCH faster (by about 1.5-2 minutes) than I traditionally do my runs at. I suddenly got nervous. I was feeling good, but I didn’t want to crash and burn after the 2nd mile. I thought about dialing it back, but then thought that it didn’t matter if I crashed and burned this time because I was only trying to have fun!
Everything sort of fell together. The traditional aches and pains seemed to go away. I was breathing hard but didn’t get a side cramp (so rare during a race!). It felt GOOD. My runkeeper told me when I hit 25 minutes, and I realized that I was about half a mile from the finish. This was the first time I seriously thought that maybe I could beat my PR.
I kicked it hard the last .3 of a mile, and looked up as I crossed the finish line: 30:33! I PR’d by 15 seconds when I wasn’t trying to do that at all! Of course I am still frustrated that I haven’t hit below 30, but I’m so excited to move on from this PR I’ve held for almost 2 years!
This also got me thinking- do I psych myself out? Have I been training better/differently/done more cross training and has increased speed? Was it just my day to race? No matter what it is, I’m so happy to have a new 5k PR!