The 5K distance is by FAR my most raced distance. I’ve been racing them since I was a kid and on through college. When I got back into running a few years ago and I started training for longer distances like the marathon and the half marathon I still couldn’t resist sprinkling in a few 5K’s here and there. I just love this distance. It’s hard and fast but I love the challenge of putting it all out there. Still, in all my years of racing a 5K I don’t believe I’ve ever negative split one… until Saturday.
As you know for over a week now I’ve been dealing with some kind of calf strain. This last minute injury changed my marathon training last week. I only ran two days and biked 3 days. On Friday after not having run most of the week I decided to go for a run. In my mind I knew this was it. If my leg hurt I was going to need to make some hard decisions about my marathon. If my leg was fine then I would proceed as planned.
I ended up running 7 miles and my leg felt fine. Not completely 100% but almost back to normal. This was very good news to me. I decided that the marathon was still on and I would also run in a local 5K the next day. Why not? I wanted to put myself in a race situation. I needed a fast run after over a week of rest/ cross training.
We arrived about 30 minutes before the race. It was a small race just a few minutes from our house. This was the 25th year for this race but the first time on a new course. I decided to warm-up on the first part of the course. My leg felt fine for the entire warm-up. After a mile and a half I decided to do a few easy strides and as soon as I picked up my pace I felt the annoying calf pull again. Noooooooo!!!!! Not now- 5 minutes before the race?! I jogged over to John who was with the kids by the start. I admitted to him that my calf felt off as soon as I ran fast. I asked if I should even run. Without any hesitation he just said, “It’s too late now. Race is about to start. Just don’t go too hard.” It’s what I needed to hear. Do it. I didn’t have to go out blazing and try to PR. I just needed to test my leg in a race situation. That seemed doable.
From the start all I could think about was my leg. My biggest fear was that it would get worse and worse and I’d have to drop out of the race. I could feel the “problem area” but it was MUCH fainter than the pull I felt 5 days earlier. It wasn’t 100% but it was manageable. It completely took my mind off the 5K I was running and I didn’t feel any race pressure. I quickly found myself in 4th place behind 3 high school/ college age guys.
Mile 1- 5:54. Right before this mile I passed two of the guys in front of me. I was feeling good and I wanted to take advantage of the perfect weather (temps in the mid 40’s- my favorite!) and fast course.
Mile 2- 5:55. Right around the two mile marker I decided to make a move on the lead runner. I was just a few feet behind him and felt like I could pick it up a little. I surged passed him and stayed in the 5:30’s/ 5:40’s for about a quarter mile. I wanted him to think I had a lot of left in the tank so he would not try to pass me back.
Mile 3- 5:52. Best 3rd mile split of a 5K I’ve ever had. I know a lot of it had to do with the high school kid who was right on my heals! Right before the third mile marker I glanced back at a turn and saw how much of a lead I had- not much. He could still win if he had a good kick. Fortunately for me he must have been tired too because he didn’t put up a fight one the home stretch.
Mile 3.1- 0:34 (5:39 avg.). Finished up on the track which I LOVE! My only finish line obstacle was Ashton wandering onto the track in front of me right before I finished. I called out his name and he just looked up. That boy!
Official Finish Time:
18:17 (5:54 avg.)/ 1st overall
The 2nd place finisher was just a few seconds behind me. After I congratulated him, his parents who were at the finish as well asked me if I ran for the local university. Ha! I just smiled and said I did years ago. I told them I have four children now. Two who were also running in the 5K. 🙂
After my short conversation with them it was time to cool down and find the kids! I ran into Abi first who was cruising! I knew she was going to have her best time but I didn’t know by how much. When we got to the part around the track she picked it up and started her sprint. She crossed the line in 25:47. (Her previous best time had been 27:44.)
Then I turned back around to find my son. He was just a little further back but still truckin along. I love his attitude in a race. Very laid back and calm. One lady told me he was very polite. Apparently when he passed her he said, “Excuse me.” We jogged in together. The HU marching band happened to be out on the football field practicing as we ran our final last bit around the track. Anthony waved to them (as if they were playing just for him) and then kicked it in. He finished around 34:14. This was also his best 5K time. At this point I had cooled down about a mile and a half bringing my daily mileage to a grand total of six. With my leg still a little off I decided to call it a day and just relax with my family. Usually after 5k’s I cool-down a lot longer to get in more miles but not this time.
We stayed around for door prizes and awards. My mother-in-law had also walked the 5K. This is another reason I felt good about my older two doing this one on their own. The route was completely safe and off main roads. It was small and local. I love when our family gets to run these races together.
|As you can see Ashton’s not a big fan of post race family pics|
|Wearing their race shirts|
Yes, this is it. Months of training have come down to this. It has definitely not been an ideal training cycle but I have put in a ton of hard quality work and a lot of miles. I’m really hoping that one “off ” week of rest/ cross training doesn’t take away from my overall marathon performance. I know my fitness is where I want it to be. I just need to follow through with it and run to my potential.
And now for some non-running stuff…
Follow the Yellow Brick Road:
Our Halloween “theme” this year is The Wizard of Oz/ Wicked. We don’t always have a theme but when we do…
|My Wizard of Oz gang|
My sweet aunt saw our picture on Facebook and asked if John was running around somewhere as the lion. I wish! We’ll just call him Oz- the man behind the curtain. Poor guy has been working/ studying like crazy with PhD comps going on right now but he did take a break and walk the kids around at the Fall Festival while we were there.
We had a lot of fun with the theme. I forgot how long it takes to get 4 kids (plus myself) ready for trick or treating. This time it took an hour and a half. We had one meltdown- Glinda did not want to wear the wig but kept it on long enough for this picture. Besides that it was fabulous!
We don’t always have a theme. There have been plenty of years I was either too tired or too cheap which resulted in a hodge podge of random costumes which was fine too. The kids don’t really care as long as they get candy. I just think it’s fun to have a theme and I figure we’ll do it while we can. I know the day is coming when they will want to do their own thing.
Here are a few of my themed favorites from the past:
|2007- Raggedy Ann & Andy|
|2008- Diego, Dora & Baby Jaguar|
|2011- Star Wars! Luke, Yoda, Baby Darth Vadar & Princess Leia|
That’s all the news for now. I will try to get in at least one more pre-marathon post later this week. It’s crazy to think that one week from now it will all be over. And no matter how it goes- life will go on! 🙂 God is good!