“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Empire Kids 5K Recap

Race: Empire Kids 5K
Distance:  3.1 miles
Date:  April 20, 2013, 9:00am
Finish time:  25:31, 8:14 min/avg
What sets this race apart:  Proceeds benefited Empire Cheer and Dance, my friend was the race coordinator

A few months back, my friend Laura told me about a 5K she was race coordinating.  The race proceeds were going to benefit her kid's cheer program.  Since the race was the first weekend of my taper (on the day I was scheduled to run 12 miles), I hesitated for a while.  In the end, I couldn't pass up the chance to support both my friend and her awesome kid.   The cost of the race was $25 and included a technical race shirt.

After my success at the ORRRC Half Marathon, I got crazy with goals.  Even though I don't ever train for a shorter distance race, I thought - "heck, I can break 25 minutes at a 5K."  Amateur.  :D

Nonetheless, I almost did it, finishing in 25:31.  I was 11th overall, and officially the 3rd female overall.  (On the day of the race, they awarded me the 2nd female overall prize, but based on chip timing, another gal actually beat me by 1 second).  Oh the benefits of smaller family oriented races!  
Me, posing with my loot.
Saturday morning arrived cold and windy for later April in October.  My car thermometer read 35*F when I got to Sharon Woods Metro Park, just a few degrees above freezing.  The weather channel app on my phone said it was "feels like 25*F with the wind chill."  Awesome.  Oh, and there were snowflakes at the race start.

I dallied a bit too much on my way over, so I didn't have time for the full 2 mile warm-up that I'd originally planned.  Instead, I ran 1.2 miles warm-up.  My average pace was 9:30 min/mile, starting slower and finishing faster.  Then I made multiple trips to the potty and visited with my friend's family.  Another bonus to this location??  True flushing toilets!  A small number of them, but with the smaller race size, I never had to wait.

Laura's husband Dave is a much faster runner than I am.  Jokingly, before the race, I asked him if he wanted to pace me to a sub-25 finish.  To my surprise, he agreed promptly!  Of course, he didn't wear his watch though, so it was ultimately up to me to set the pace and he was just going to keep me company.  

We edged towards the front of the group because Dave pointed out all the kids and how we wanted to go fast.  Maybe it's all my other race experiences of NOT being fast, but it made me REALLY nervous being up at the front, like I had something to prove.  Ultimately, that might be why I didn't break 25 minutes.
I really have no business being up here!
I took off at the start like someone 120 people were chasing me.  My watch stats are funny to look at.  For the first 0.3 miles, my pace ranges from a 5:40 min/mile to an 8:12 min/mile as I realized how crazy fast I started.  A little after that, cue heavy breathing.  I was sucking wind from starting WAY TOO fast.  And, I was leading the entire race pack for the first mile.  Say, WHAT???

Then we all started talking about what our goal finish times were.  Does this usually happen at the front of the pack???  I promptly told the guy whose goal was 23 minutes that he should pass me.  I was super conscious of being in front, especially since the entire race was on a paved bike trail with enough room for maybe 5 people to run side by side.  It was also an out and back, so there would have to be room for both sides of the race.

I really struggle with the different mind-set required for a 5K (or any speed work).  I think this is a side effect of being more of an endurance runner in mindset.  I was sucking wind after the too fast start, promptly worried about COMPLETING the run, so I backed off.  It's only 3.1 freaking miles Mandy!!!  Obviously, I need to do more tempo and 5K training runs that are NOT intervals (i.e. where I don't get to stop and recover for a minute before finishing the run) to prove to myself that it is okay to breathe heavily during a fast, short race.

Just before the turn around, another gal passed me.  After the turn around, I started looking to see how many other girls were close to me.  I saw enough within half a mile that I didn't want to back of on pace any more than I had.  I felt like I'd recovered a bit from the initial surge and was able to pick the pace up.  I still wasn't comfortable actually PUSHING though.  After mile 2 was finished, I told Dave I wasn't going to hit 25 minutes based on current pace.  He looked at me, told me not to give up, and asked if i wanted to push.  I'm ashamed to admit that I gasped out "NO!"  Nonetheless, based on splits, I did speed up.

As we turned the corner for the finish line, I smiled for the camera, but inside I was bummed when I saw the 25:xx on the clock.  I didn't sprint hard at the finish, and that's my major regret.  Lesson learned.  
Dave and I at the Finish line
I tend to be a very goal-oriented runner, and person.  Sub-25 was my only goal for the day.  When I realize a goal may not be met, I tend to back off.  To me, this is a flaw I need to correct.  I need to be mentally stronger than that, and be willing to push as hard as I can for that day, goal or no goal.

My splits are kind of funny too look at:
Mile 1: 8:01
Mile 2: 8:40
Mile 3: 8:02
last bit: 6:55

Regardless of that day's goals, I finished fast enough to be 3rd female overall and won $20 to use at Fleet Feet!!!!  Plus, it was a 2 minute, 7 second PR at the 5K distance!!! So, even though I am now salivating over the idea of that 25 minute mark, I need to embrace the success of the day!  I PR'd and I placed overall!  WOOHOO!

After getting a water and a banana at the finish line, I strapped on my fuel belt, and ran a loop of Sharon Woods with Dave (about 3.8 miles) as cool down.  We hit the hills at about 9:40 min/miles for the first two miles, and got faster as we hit the flatter portions of the loop.  We talked about kids and race goals, and it was a blast.  Always funny when your cool down is more miles than the race itself!

Things I want to work on before running another 5K that I think are still compatible with my love of marathons:
- Do more tempo runs of 3-5 miles in length that are NOT intervals.
- Go longer between drinking water on my training runs.

Where does the water bullet come from?  My shortest runs these days are 6 miles, thus I always wear my fuel belt.  Easy to have keys, water, etc.  Since, I'm wearing it, I'll drink water whenever I want to, even in mile 1.  I wasn't accustomed to waiting to drink water for the entire 5K.  Despite being well hydrated prior to the race, my mouth felt parched.  I'm fairly certain this was just what my body/mind was acustomed to, and an easy problem to fix for the next one.

Yes, I said next one.  I've always thought I didn't like 5Ks, but I am fickle.  I do enjoy the fast and done aspect, and the challenge of how fast can you go.  There will be another shot at that sub-25 minute mark before too long.

Now, what to spend that $20 winnings on.....

Anyone else race this weekend?

Anyone else have a similar issue with your goals changing your view of your race success?

Any 5K veterans out there that can offer some basic tips?


  1. That's pretty awesome! Wow! You're racking up PRs and prizes all over the place.

    I have no tips on the 5K--I haven't run one since 2010--so weird to type that. Hopefully I can get back to doing them soon.

  2. You silly woman! Of course you were the second woman. Overall awards are based on who crosses the line first, NOT on chip times. No joke. Check the rules of any race. Congrats on your second-place finish!

    1. You have no idea how much better that makes me feel! I was feeling rather guilty about having the "second place" prize. (But, not too guilty to spend it. :D

  3. Wow - you are turning into such a speed machine!! Congrats on the PR and the placing! [And happy shopping :) !]

  4. This is awesome! Also, I had no idea about the way overalls were awarded. You definitely won fair and square!


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