Last Sunday I was prepped to redeem my lackluster performance at the Aurora 4th of July 5k. Everyone has bad races, I am no exception, but I definitely didn't want that to set a precedent for the rest of the year. Based on workouts and coaches goals for the 5k I set a pie in the sky goal of sub 31 for Sunday and a realistic goal of around 31:25, worst case scenario goal was sub 33 or a PR. In an effort not to repeat the mistakes I made before Aurora I made sure to eat plenty during the week following the race and the day before. This was tough since I spent all of Saturday either at the Buckeye 50k supporting runners, at the movies, or at a late dinner at Winking Lizard.
We took the running easy Friday and Saturday and I felt TONS better on the warmup Sunday than I had at Aurora so that was a good sign. Found my gals and got in a couple of easy miles but picked up the pace a little this time which was a much better plan for me. Did 4 or 5 strides and headed to the start.
Weather was perfect and the field was stacked. I had intentions of trying to gauge my performance off KG if I could but didn't see her at the start so I ended up going with my own feelings and running what felt "right." I wanted to be aggressive and my mantra was "Fast Feet, Compete, Relax." If it felt hard I wanted to push and go faster. I knew that the second mile would be slow thanks to advice from my friend EH, so I wasn't going to worry about what the splits were the first two miles, just going by feel.
The race started and I was following Salty. I knew she was going for a PR and that was in the range of my "pie in the sky" goal time so I stayed tucked behind her and on the right side of the road. The pace didn't feel quite aggressive enough for me though and I saw a few runners I knew run well and decided to pass Salty to push just a hair harder. I was feeling pretty good, and the first mile was fast. 5:58ish. I knew the next mile had a hill but wasn't sure where. I kept waiting to see some faces I knew. Sure enough half way up the hill a few gals caught me (still not the greatest strength runner) but I decided not to try and go with them and to conserve my energy until I got over the top. In retrospect I should have tried to stay closer to them as I think the hill zapped my turnover a bit and I could have kept it higher by pushing just a wee bit harder in mile 2.
Second mile was slow as predicted around 6:32. Par for the course I somehow ended up in a gap all by myself. Not sure if this has to do with the fact that I am just in a barren pace range or if I just don't do a good job of sticking to a pack (probably both). I tried to focus on reeling in the group in front of me or at least holding the gap. My pace started to falter a bit from what I would have liked to have seen but I was still running aggressively. Mile 3 was 6:20 and 4 was 6:26.
Salty caught me around mile 4 and I tried to go with her. Mentally instructing my legs to push, but I just had no juice. The last mile is a straight shot to the finish and they have every quarter mile marked. Some people like this, I was not a fan as it was just a reminder of how much further that finish line was than I thought it should be. I was trying to pump my arms, keep everything up and down, and move my feet. Pretending I was on the track, where I have been cranking out some good splits, but my body was moving through quicksand. I hoped to eek out a 6:10 but in the end was satisfied with a 6:17. Getting blown by a gal at the finish line didn't help the ego any, but I assuaged myself with the fact that she is 4 years younger than me and at least not in my age group :) Finished in 31:35.3 for an almost 2 minute PR, 11th female and 2nd in my age group. I am very happy with the effort and pleased I was able to fix a lot of the things I let go wrong at Aurora. Next time I will know though that at that race it is better to go out a little less aggressively and save something for the finish since it is a straight shot and a great place to run some people down if you have anything left.
Finish Line Photos Getting Passed by Two "Young-ins"