It’s taken me countless proclamations over many, many years but I finally did it.
Last Saturday I ran my first 5K!
Not a virtual race but an actual in real life 5k!
Do I love the distance?
Short answer? No but it might grow on me.
Getting prepped for the race, I had no idea what I was doing. With longer distances, I’m good. I know what to eat, when to eat it and how much I need to warm up prior to gun time. I kind of just went about my morning business. Ate oats for breakfast, drank a few glasses of water and then did a warm up run of 1.6 miles. It was the inaugural running of the race and the first race of the Dover Race Series. There were about 800 people running/walking. Not bad for a first year race!
From the moment I picked up my bib, I had an inkling that this race may not be like all 5ks. First, I had to walk through a cloud of smokers standing outside of the bib pick up area. Second, there were tons of people talking more about doing the pub crawl afterwards than actually about the race. I guess I should have expected this when the name of the race is Run Before You Crawl and it’s the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day!
Can I just have a rant here for a second? I’m all for everyone having a good time and running for fun but there is no need for you to line up at the front of a race with a stroller and/or a dog. Go to the back for everyone’s safety! Thank you. End rant.
The route of the race was nothing new to me. I’ve run it countless times. I knew that there was a hill within the first 1/2 mile followed by a huge hill that kicks my butt every single time around mile 2, followed by mostly downhill with a little incline near the finish. My plan was to not have a plan. I was just going to run by feel and have fun. I haven’t done a speed session in months and my mileage is still mega low. The closest I’ve come to running fast (for me) lately was my two most recent 5 by the 5th Virtual Races in February (24:23) and March (24:17).
I took off easily as we had a slight downhill first. I found a good pace just as we hit the first incline. I’ve never been a huge fan of hills but I could definitely tell that I haven’t been running outside as much. This hill had me huffing and puffing. My pace slowed a bit. I watched a girl that was ahead of me pull farther away. Even though I said this run was all for fun, my competitiveness came out just a little. We neared the top of the hill and I felt in control of my breathing and legs. She slowed, I sped up and passed her.
Mile 1: 7:24
The next mile was relatively flat in prep for the huge hill. I knew my pace would drop significantly once I got there. And. it. did. I felt like I was running in molasses. It’s the usual feeling I get from it. As I was running up, I kept repeating “It’s all downhill from here.” I was also thinking “I must do hill repeats on this bad boy from now on!”
Mile 2: 7:56
A weight was lifted at the top of the hill. Sweet downhill here I come! My breathing recovered quickly from sucking wind up the hill but my legs were feeling the lactic acid build up. I could feel my form getting a little sloppy at this point so I tried to concentrate on correcting it rather than looking at how much farther I had to run before turning towards the home stretch.
Mile 3: 7:44
The last 0.1 was a blur except I remember hearing a man say “You’re in the top 10 women!” I crossed the finish line and proceeded to not stop my Garmin. Gah! I always do that. I figured my time to be around 24:00 or so.
Mile 3.1: 23:53
A PR! Wait – is it still a PR if you’ve never officially run the distance before? Oh well, I’m counting it.
And the icing on the cake?
I won 3rd place women 30-39 and was in the Top 10 Women overall!
I caught up with my friend, Mariette, afterwards. Speedy girl won first place 30-39 women! Way to go girl!
I felt quite well afterwards once I caught my breath. I don’t think it was entirely enjoyable nor pure torture. I’m intrigued now. With as little training as I’ve done recently, I was still able to run well. Imagine what I can do with more training? Hmmmm…I’ll have plenty of opportunities over the next 7 months to learn to enjoy the 5k distance. I signed up for the Dover Race Series and it’s almost all 5ks.
This could be interesting. Here goes nothing!
Do you like 5k races?
What’s your favorite race distance?