Once again the Reindeer Run 5k has proven to be a good note to end the running year on. This race was the first 5k I broke 20 on (two weeks after running a 50 mile race).
This week was focused on starting to build my base, so no more speed work for awhile, but I had to get in one more race as it was a planned meet up with a bunch of the Cleveland gals, several of which are celebrating their pregnancies. And it's always a good excuse to eat pancakes with friends after a hard morning race effort.
Week went as follows, pretty straight forward instructions from coach, 50-55 miles, only one day over 8 minute pace, two days in low 7s and the rest of the runs 7:30-7:50, because of work this week I had to do all but Monday solo in the morning:
55 miles total
M- 7.4 miles 8:49 pace
T- 7 miles 7:41 pace
W- 8 miles 7:06 pace
Th- 7 miles 7:39 pace
F- 6 miles 7:34 pace
Saturday- 2 miles warm up 7:49 pace (with strides), 5k, 3 miles cool down
Sunday- 11.5 miles 7:05 pace
Onto the fun stuff. Reindeer Run 5k is on the West side and is known for being fast since it is flat out and back, no sharp turns, and nice cool weather, just the way I like.
Goal was to run 18:40 which would be 6 minute pace. It seems I tend to get mental blocks on paces, we're working on breaking the "Easy = 8+" mental barrier right now and I knew I needed to get past the 6 minute race barrier mentally. If I can run 5:50s on the track I should be able to run sub 6 in a 5k, especially a flat fast one. Add to that my less than phenomenal day at Turkey Trot and I was fired up to crank out a PR.
JC gave me a ring and offered to cart my butt to the race which worked out perfectly. The temps were around 30, not much wind and I got to warm up with my gals CV and TM. Race outfit worked out perfectly, I was never cold and didn't break a sweat. Lined up at the start after a few strides and TM pointed out a gal towards the front who was supposed to be pretty quick. I decided to try and run with her as long as I could in hopes to pull myself to a better time.
The jingle bells announced our start and after two winding turns we were onto the straight road that would make up the next 1.5 miles until we turned around. TM and CV were right with me and I set my sights on DZ ahead of us. I started to reel her in and around the half mile decided to go past her. This seems to happen a lot for me and usually when I try to "take control" of the race it ends in me getting reeled in towards the finish, but I made the game time decision that I wasn't going to worry about anything but running hard. No looking at the watch and no holding back to run someone else's race.
The first mile was right on target at 5:54. Though I didn't look at the watch the race did have timers at each mile so I was aware at each mile mark of how I was doing. I started to reel in a few men and tried to pull myself along with a few young guys as we rounded our way back towards the opposite direction.
As we made the turn back onto the main drag of the race I saw Salty (pregnant with #2) and she gave a holler that I was in 1st. Nice to know, but I am well aware that doesn't always last. My goal the second mile was to step up the effort in order to maintain pace. I focused on doing just that as I neared mile 2. At this point waves of other runners were still going the other way (I think there were 800 runners) including several of my pregnant pals as well as MN. All of my friends in addition to many gals I don't know were cheering for me which was great and exciting, but a bit overwhelming. It was definitely hard to try and smile and wave while also trying to maintain my form and pace. I'll have to work on that. Even a 5k should be an enjoyable experience. (My friends mentioned afterwards my attempt at a smile definitely looked awkward, I am guessing it looked pretty strained). Mile two and the timer called out 11:55 so I knew I was still on pace for the 18:40. (5:59 for that mile)
Lactic acid was starting to kick in and moving forward was definitely starting to be more of an effort. I really have no sense of time during a 5k and got excited when I saw a cop car thinking it was the turn to the finish only to realize I was still about a half mile from the finish at that point. I was pretty much by myself by this point. There were a few men ahead of me and I got passed by a young male runner. As I neared the final turn there was a cop directing traffic and he shouted to the car that they could cross after me. I realized then I must have at least a decent gap on the next person behind me and I better amp it up for a good kick to hold onto first and try to get my goal time.
Mile 3 timer called out 18 even (6:07 for that mile) and I knew I had to bust ass to the finish. No matter what I do .1 takes me 38 seconds so I knew I needed to haul. A guy running the other way hollered to pump my arms and I was sure there must be a gal behind me he was instructing but as I pumped my arms harder he yelled more encouragement and I realized he was urging me on to the finish. To him I must say thank you because I crossed the line and looked down at the watch for an 18:39. Official chip time 18:37.52. About 3 seconds ahead of the second gal, so definitely glad I found a little kick at the end (37.98).
I know that I am going to need to get a lot faster to meet my marathon goals, but this was a great way to finish the year and glad to finally officially meet one of coach's goals for me this year. Next stop 17 something ;) Although I am guessing there will be some baby steps on the way to that goal.
My Reindeer Medal.
Thanks CV for going to the awards with me!
The pancakes were much better than this omelet, but the omelet was as big as my head, much more photo worthy.
Me and my Cleveland Gals. Can you pick out the 5 that ran with baby in tow?