On Saturday I ran the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K in an official time of 22:34. The race was on a USATF certified route at Camp Mabry and my Garmin measured my distance at 3.12 miles, so I am confident I was not on a short course like so many of my recent “5Ks”. That officially makes this my second fastest 5K after the 22:17 I ran at the 2010 Philadelphia Get Your Rear in Gear 5K (which was much flatter). So that’s cool.
My goal for this race was to put in a hard effort and get some sense of my fitness leading up to my current goal race (Austin 10/20 10 mile race on April 3rd). I thought a PR might be possible but I knew it would be hard given the two sizeable hills on this course. My boyfriend ran this race too– his first 5K! We didn’t run together since I wanted to run hard but it was nice to have someone to cheer for and hang out with after the race.
The race start was at 8:30 AM, which meant I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour– always a plus. We got to Camp Mabry a little before 8, which should have been plenty of time for packet pickup and my warm up but the line was really long and moving very slowly. (I think there were a lot of people who decided to register the morning of the race). Eventually I left my boyfriend to stand in line while I ran off to do ~0.75 mile of jogging and striders. I’d been hoping to run a longer warm up– I think I need to ideally get in at least 1.5 miles before a 5K– but I simply didn’t have time. We got our bibs and headed to the start line just in time for the national anthem.
I felt like I did a good job with pacing at my last
5K “5K” and used that as a guide for this race while keeping in mind that the Donut Dash was very flat and Camp Mabry has unpleasant hills about 1.5 and 2.5 miles into the course. I aimed to start at a conservative 7:15 pace for the first mile (which is pretty flat). I ended up with running 7:15 exactly for the first mile– hurray for executing my race plan!– but my legs felt sluggish and my stomach felt decidedly not good.
I’d hoped to pick up the pace a bit in mile 2 but struggled a bit on the hill and ended up with a 7:20. Mile 3 has a nice long downhill followed by an obnoxious hill that keeps going after you turn a corner. (Somehow I’d managed to forget that last detail and was unpleasantly surprised!). Fortunately, at this point in the race my legs had woken up and I felt like I was able to settle into a faster pace. Unfortunately, this didn’t start to happen until the race was 2/3 over. I also had a deepening concern that I might throw up for the first time during a race. I got through mile 3 in 7:11 and the last .1 in 50 seconds (6:50 pace), good for a final time of 22:34 and 7:16 pace overall.
Immediately after the race I grabbed some water and sat down on a curb with my head between my legs. There were a bunch of adorable elementary school aged children handing out snacks to the runners finishing. The idea of food was so unappealing to me that when a sweet little boy offered me a granola bar I made this face:
Eventually I got myself up off the ground, watched my boyfriend finish, did a 1 mile cool down jog, and ate an orange without stomach drama. I’m still not sure why I felt nauseated that morning– I didn’t eat anything weird in the preceding 24 hours and I wasn’t dealing with a migraine (which is the usual culprit when I’m nauseated).
I placed 2nd in my age group and received a medal that I suspect is identical to the age group medal I got at the 2010 Get Your Rear in Gear race. (That medal is at my parents’ house outside of Philly, so I can’t easily compare).
- I’m pleased with my time and pacing. I think I have faster 5K times in me but since I never seriously train for 5Ks I doubt I’ll be hitting anything faster than 22:xx in the near future. It irks me sometimes when I look at my PRs and see a 5K time that feels very old and out of sync with my times for longer distances but I am much more interested in working on my endurance and stamina than raw speed right now. So that 2010 5K will probably remain my PR for quite awhile longer.
- Overall I liked this race, though if I run it again I will make sure to arrive earlier or get my packet the night before. Also, the process for handing out awards was a bit of a mess. I think the race announcer was using a full list of all of the participants to call out the age group award winners, which led to one Steve Harvey at the Miss Universe ceremony gaffe and announcing age divisions in seemingly random order. It seemed to me like the timing service should have been able to generate a list of everyone organized by age group or a list of just the award winners but I’m not too aware of what goes on behind the scenes as I have never attempted to direct a race. I felt bad for the woman who got a medal and then had to give it back 30 seconds later though.
- I’ve had a lot of issues with my recent tempo runs. I’m still a bit concerned about whether I can PR at Austin 10/20 but the good news is that my race time proves I’m still capable of running a few faster miles in a row.
- I did a mini-taper for this race and I think it was very helpful. I also had a pretty good running week in general. I really needed that after struggling a lot during my first few weeks of training. I didn’t do any tempo miles this week in the interest of having fresher legs for the race but I’m hoping my streak of good runs will carry over into next week and finally–finally!–run some race pace miles.
This was my race week training:
- Monday, 22-Feb: Strength work in the afternoon
- Tuesday, 23-Feb: 1 mile warm up, 2 x 800m/1600m @ 5K/10K pace (7:08/7:19 pace) with 800m recovery between the sets and 1 mile cool down (5.5 miles total). These were tough but I felt much better than I did during my mile repeats the week prior.
- Wednesday, 24-Feb: 8 miles easy in beautiful weather. Finally a decent outdoor run!
- Thursday, 25-Feb: Rest
- Friday, 26-Feb: 4 miles easy
- Saturday, 27-Feb: 0.75 mile warm up, 5K race, 1 mile cool down (~5 miles total).
- Sunday, 28-Feb: 8.3 miles easy