Port Fest 5K- Race Report {AKA- The Race I turned Pro!} ok, not really!

Port Fest 5K- Race Report {AKA- The Race I turned Pro!} ok, not really!

Yesterday’s 5K could have easily been a total disaster:

  • For starters- I had taken two weeks completely off running until Tuesday- just days before the race.  I had 3 not so great runs and decided to run this race at the last minute.  No speed work (and practically no running) does not usually produce a high quality 5K! I did have lots of elliptical time so it wasn’t a total loss…
  • Two of my children started throwing up in the middle of the night- hours before the race.  (Yes, this happened in March right before the St. Patrick’s Day 5K as well.)  John had planned on coming to my race but with two sick kiddos he stayed home to hold down the fort.  I would have stayed home as well but I knew this race offered a cash prize and I was gunning for it! John told me he could handle the kids.  He wanted me to win!


On Tuesday one of my running buddies told me about a nearby race that was offering a cash prize to the overall male and female winners- $100 each.   I looked up who was already registered and did not recognize any of the names so I figured why not! The race itself cost $20 but if I won I was at least up $80.  Plus, I’d never actually won cold hard cash before so the thought of winning any amount was exciting.

The entire drive to Newport (about 45 minutes from my house) I tried to tell myself I did NOT have the stomach bug.  I would be fine.  My legs were fresh.  My body would remember how to run a 5K.  My last form of speed work was the 5K I ran 3 weeks ago.  I did not expect to run as well as I did that day but I hoped I could at least manage a race in the 19’s.

I jogged two miles warm-up with 1 minute at race pace just to get my heart rate up.  A 6 minute pace felt hard.  Really hard.  How was I going to maintain that pace for even a mile- let alone 3? It was already 85 degrees and humid.

As I was stretching a guy who recognized me from The Stride to Prevent Suicide 5K last month, came up to me to make small talk.  He had beat me by a few seconds and asked what my goal time for this race was.  Then he informed me that there would be some good competition.  He told me “Kristen” was racing and she ran in the 19’s all the time.  He said Kristen never lost a 5K.  I walked away feeling a little defeated before the race even began.  Why did I wake up early and leave two sick kids at home to run in the heat- all to get beat?? I heard the negative thoughts seeping in and I immediately told myself to STOP! I could do this.  I’ve got years of racing experience and I’ve run good times.  If you’ve never lost a 5K then you haven’t run enough of them!  Even elite runners have lost their share of races.  Harder competition makes you better.  I told myself to suck it up and get it done.  I wanted that $100! I was determined to have a good race.  I prayed that God would carry me these 3.1 miles. 


The gun went off and we were off.  It was a very simple out and back with just a small add-on at the end.  I was in 5th or 6th place by the half mile.  The first female- “Kristen” was in front of me but only by a few feet.  I stayed back, trying to find my pace.  It was a fast start but I felt surprisingly strong.  Nothing like my warm-up.

Mile 1- 5:58.  This is my fastest first mile of a 5K since college.  I knew I would positive split and slow down but I didn’t care.  I knew “Kristen” would not be able to maintain this pace if she had never broken 19 minutes.  After the mile marker I started to feel the pace slow down a little (6:15- 6:20) and I knew it was time to make my move.  I couldn’t afford to slow down below a 6:10.  I still felt strong so I decided to pass Kristen.  When I pass someone in any race I like to pass them hard.  I want them to be intimidated by the speed and not even try to keep up.  Is that mean?  No, it’s basic race strategy and absolutely necessary in a race as short and fast as a 5K.  When I passed her I was running in the 5:30’s and I held onto that pace for a bit.  I knew it would probably come back to bite me in the last mile but I just hoped I would have more left in the tank than she did.  I honestly didn’t care about what time I got.  This race was all about placement!

Mile 2- 6:10.  At this point I was 2nd overall but right behind me was the guy who had recognized me from the other 5K.  I could hear him breathing and I told myself that Kristen was right there with him.  I actually had no idea how much of a lead I had on her but I didn’t want to give myself any reason to let up or get discouraged.  It was better that I not know and just keep running! In my head I started counting down laps around a track.  I told myself that the $100 was mine.  I just had to hang in for a few more minutes! My quads were burning!! Surprisingly enough, my knee was not an issue.

Mile 3- 6:18.  The guy right behind me passed me in this last stretch.  At a big turn I turned my head to see how much of a lead I had on the second place female and I knew I had it.  I just wanted to finish this thing!

Mile 3.12- 0:47 (6:26 pace). Worst tenth of a mile ever. I really had nothing left in the tank.  Usually I have a much faster kick but when that guy passed me I was just ready to be done with it.

Total Time: 19:15 (6:10 avg.)

Post Race:

Need I say more?!!

Besides the race t-shirt, all participants received a bag of corn tortilla chips too!

Immediately after the race I congratulated Kristen for a good race.  She really pushed me and I learned a lot from this race strategy-wise.  (FYI- She finished around 19:50.) Then I called John before doing a mile cool down.

I came home to a pretty sick house.  Ashton threw up for the first time in his life- several times.  Poor baby.  Hopefully this is just a 24 hour thing. 

I took an ice bath when I had a few minutes and iced again later.  Still in limbo on my knee situation.  It seems to be better on lower mileage runs as well as runs at a faster pace.  5K’s seem to be the right distance for me right now.  My next one is in 2 weeks.  I’d love to be able to train for it better but it will depend on my knee situation. I am getting closer to the 18’s…. Hopefully I can get my knee in gear and do it!

So back to my first line in this post- this race could have easily been a disaster- or not have happened at all.  I am so glad I went ahead and ran it.  When it seemed like nothing was going in the right direction it all came together at the right time.  Before the race I prayed that God would carry me through to the finish and I know he did. Sometimes I think I put too much burden on myself.  I’ve done the training and I know what to do.  All the little worries and obstacles are nothing to Him.  I ran my fastest 5K in over a decade when I least expected it.  During the race God calmed my nerves and gave me complete confidence in my ability and potential.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised at an outcome of a race?

Do you usually race for time or placement?  Do you have different strategies for both?

Kids and stomach bug- would you race?

30 thoughts on “Port Fest 5K- Race Report {AKA- The Race I turned Pro!} ok, not really!

  1. Wahoo! You are my running hero! Ha! This is awesome Tia. Look at you brining home “the bacon” for your sick family. 🙂 You know, I think that if you negative split a 5k, it usually means you had more to give….positive split seems to be the way to go with a 5k IMO but I have never been very successful in this race so what am I talking about. I used to go out at a sub 6 pace and DIE so that I was ending with a 7 something pace. NOT good strategy. But you…you Rocked this thing girl! that sub 19 is yours in no time!!!! xoxo

  2. Firstly I hope your kids are feeling a lot better. Not fun having a household full of sick kids.

    And secondly – Congratulations!! What a great race. You did so well to keep your thoughts under control and keep yourself focussed on the job you’d come to do. And yes I would have left the kids at home too – they were being well looked after.

  3. This is awesome! Congratulations! That’s a screaming fast first mile, and a nice $100 bill too.

    I hope your kids heal up quick. Those stomach bugs stink, but at least they are usually of short duration.

    1. Thanks Terzah! Yes, that is one good thing about the stomach bug. SO far 3 of the 4 are better but my oldest just got it today… 🙁 I am still hopeful I don’t get it!!

  4. That is SO exciting!!! Fabulous job!! I’m thrilled you were able to have such a great run after taking a break and with all your knee issues. WOOT!!!

    1. Thanks Kathy. I wish the break would have solved all my issues but not so much. I think I have patellar tendonitis. More on that soon… Thanks for the congrats though!!

  5. TIA!!! I FRIGGIN LOVED THIS!!!! I was on the edge of my computer chair the whole time! lol…so glad you WON!!!!! woohooo!!! You fought hard physically AND mentally!!! amazing!!! man i wish you lived closer!!! xxx

    1. Thanks Nicole! I just re-read it and realized I had all these grammar errors (oops!) so I fixed them. It was a VERY mental race. I don’t usually run for place- just time so it was a little different.

  6. How do you do it? You are amazing!! How could NOT training and knee problems and even not warming up too well still led to that performance in the race??? You must be quite competitive to be able to pull that performance out under those conditions! Congratulations on winning the cash!!

    1. Thanks Katie but I think it had a lot to do with wanting that prize money! I am pretty sore from this race- mostly from the lack of running prior to Saturday!

  7. Yay, Tia!! I love that picture of you holding the $100 prize! What a sweet victory for you… amazing race! And in that temperature? How did you do it?! The 10k I ran Sat was similar temp and kicked my butt!

    1. I think they are getting easier (mentally) since I keep doing them! Hopefully I will break this 19 barrier soon… I have two more 5k’s within the next 5 weeks so I am going for it!

  8. So excited for you!!! It sounds like you are loving the 5K’s and you sure are great at them. I pray that your knee gets better and so do your kiddos!

  9. Tia you definetely know how to race! The fitness part of it is important obviously, but you have the mental part nailed too! I hope you get some answers about your knee. I’m dealing with arch and top of the foot pain right now. I’m hoping to get answers this week. It’s tough when your mind says go but your body says wait! Great job on another successful race!

  10. YES!!!!!!!!!! You got the MONEY. Ha! I love your strategy and that you were able to defeat the negative talk before the race. IT’s probably pretty good that your friend informed you about Kristen, so you could plan accordingly. Certainly, you ARE a competitor, Tia. No backing down!
    Really hoping that your icing and running combo can get your knee to behave.. You have some FAST races to run this summer!

    1. You are right about the knowing part. If I would have just raced without any idea of my competition or her past times, I might have let myself off the hook and given up more easily. It worried me at first but knowing was a good thing. Good observation! I know I’ve probably analyzed this race to pieces but I like learning from each race experience. Thanks Raina!

  11. The last time I pr’d a 5k I was very surprised. I didn’t get out that morning to pr, I just ran. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the clock as I finished. Now for the life of me & I’m always trying I can’t break that pr. grrrr : )

    I think I always race for what ever I have in me for that day. It seems like the more I try to hit that perfect time or try and beat that certain person it tends to backfire. Sure I put myself through that mental thought process of I want this time & to beat so & so, but I give myself plenty of slack. When (for example) that 13 year old girl beat me (who could easily be my daughter) then I just don’t stress over it.

    I’ve never missed a race because of sick kids. I think my hubby would do the same & tell me to go while he stayed home. So as long as I had the kids taken care of I would race no matter what.

    I loved reading this. I love your competitive spirit!!

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