I NEVER went into the Ark Classic 5k thinking I might break 18 minutes. It wasn’t even on my radar. Last month I couldn’t even break 19 (although I’d like to blame 90 degrees and tired legs) so I did not have high expectations just four weeks later.
Since this was a shorter distance Grand Prix race not too far from our house we brought the older two kids. On the way to the North Little Rock we dropped off the little ones with my mom and picked up my dad, my sister and her boyfriend. (My sister and her boyfriend were in town for Labor Day weekend and somehow we convinced them to join us for the race.) Lots of activity for 6 am on a Saturday!
Race started at 7:30 and temps were in the mid 70’s (pretty muggy and humid too). Not ideal racing temps but again, after running and racing in much worse weather all summer this weather seems much more doable. (I’m sure once we get to experience a few weeks of fall weather I’ll think differently!)
We arrived at Burns Park with about 45 minutes to spare. I was able to get in a nice 2 mile warm-up with some friends and fellow Searcy Rush teammates. By the time I made it to the starting line I was a nervous wreck already covered in sweat. “Why do I do this??” This is a fairly common pre-race thought. John assured me that I was ready and I would do great. I wanted to believe him and prove him right but what if I couldn’t?
The good thing about a 5k is that it’s fast. Once the gun went off I immediately got into the zone and focused on what I needed to do. There was no time to worry or over analyze anything. I hoped I could pull out a mid 18:30’s race. I thought that would be a successful performance for me right now.
I quickly settled into a 5:40’s pace and within a half mile I was third female (which is about what I expected when I saw who was there). The Arkansas Grand Prix is a tight knit group and after running so many races throughout the year you really start to get to know your competition including the men and women.
Mile 1- 5:46. I was feeling good and was set on cruise control. I fully expected the wheels to come off at some point during mile 2. They didn’t.
Mile 2- 5:54. I kept moving and passed a few runners along the way. I was still feeling surprisingly strong and watched as the gap closed between me and the second place female.
Mile 3- 5:58. Shortly after the second mile marker I passed the second female. There was one guy between first female and I. When I started to pass him he picked up his pace. He wasn’t going to have it! : ) I stayed right behind him. When we rounded the last turn and I saw the clock I couldn’t believe my eyes. We were in the 17’s?!! I sprinted as hard as I could because I wanted to make it under in time and I did. Barely!
Last .10 @ 5:10
Official Time- 17:59 (2nd OA female). Official Results can be found here.
This was my first time to run the Ark Classic 5k and I’ve got to say I’m a fan! It is an excellent course. It’s very flat and FAST!
Once I finished I waited on some teammates and then we started to jog back to find the kids. Abi finished in 24:58. My son finished with over a 2 minute PR and ran a 27:29. He had fallen at some point during the 5k but he got back up and finished even with a big cut on his knee. My dad, sister, and her boyfriend came in after Rocky.
Next up on the racing calendar is another Grand Prix race- the Benton 20k. Hopefully it will go better than it did last year!
Have I mentioned yet that the Chicago Marathon is 4 WEEKS FROM TODAY?!!! I just made it through a tough week of training which included 4 sets of 2-mile repeats (Wednesday) and then a 22-mile run (Saturday). I’m starting to feel like everything is coming together. Am I ready for 26.2?? We’ll find out soon!