Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lexington Cares 5k

As far as races go, this one was definitely a good one, and not because the cause is important and they provided free breakfast afterward.

I had gone into this race with nervous energy. I ran my last 5k on a broken toe and came in much slower than I wanted. My goal for this distance is usually to break 30 minutes, because that's always a struggle for me. I am not competitive with anyone but myself, and I am truly the epitome of a slow-and-steady runner.
Our 5k route - actually a bit longer than 5k

Today's race course took us over a rolling golf course. The course was beautiful - the morning's fog gave it an almost surreal atmosphere - and while there were some stretches of pavement along the route, the vast majority of the race was over the fairways. I train solely on road, and other than one bridge-run last week, I haven't done much training at all for hills. The last time I ran on a golf course, it was a 2 mile "fun run" during which I had to walk two or three times. So, needless to say, I was anxious.

The day was misty and overcast; humid, but not too hot. I decided to run my stopwatch so I'd be able to easily track my pace without messing with my iPod. My plan was to take the run with a slow-and-steady pace; my goal was to run the entire thing without a walk break. (As K pointed out, I always ditch my "under 30!" goal right before a 5k starts because I'm too scared to stick to it and fail. This is an attitude that has followed me since childhood and has stopped me from taking all kinds of risks. I hope to one day be rid of it.)

K and I pre-race
This course was much better kept than the last one, and despite the grass being wet, there weren't really too many potholes or slippery spots. I found myself passing people with ease, and I took a perverse pleasure in watching people sprint up ahead of me and then stop to walk within 100 yards. (I'm almost certain none of these runners were following the Galloway method.)

Anyway, around the 2-mile mark I had caught up with M, who had slowed down a bit. We finished the race within a minute of each other. Seeing that big, red clock counting up gave me the final burst of energy I needed. As it ticked to 29:20, I chanted to myself 40 seconds 40 seconds 40 seconds.

I crossed the line at 29:38. My adjusted time is 29:32. It's not a PR, but I'm very happy to have gotten in under 30. I felt the terrain challenging my every step, but it was a good and fulfilling kind of challenge to undertake. I hardly felt I was "digging deep" and really pushing myself except for at the halfway point and at the very end, yet my pace was much faster than I keep it during our weekday training runs.
M and I pre-race

K and I did about 6/10 of a mile before the race to warm up, and I think that helped my first mile, because I finished it in 9:01, which is unheard of for me. Mile 2 and 3 were both in the mid-9s.

I placed 39 of 186 women and 117 of 327 overall runners. Not too shabby!

The high point of the day was that K placed 3rd in our age group with a time in the 26s. Amazing!

Overall, it was a good race that forced me to acknowledge how far I've come. I saw a challenge, I faced it, and I overcame it! My next 5k goal is to be in the 28s, but we don't have any upcoming 5ks. Next weekend is our 10k, and my goal for that is to run the entire thing, even if my pace is 10/min or higher. Finishing in 65 minutes would be nice, too. We'll see.


PS: If you're a baseball fan, M has started a baseball blog I recommend you check out. You can find it here.