How Not to Run a 5k and Still PR
A few weekends ago (yes, this is delayed as per usual) I ran the Haggen to Haggen 5k race. It's an ultra-competitive local race that I've never done before AND everyone swears I should. It's a race to PR at because it's a net downhill for the 3.1 miles. Count me in! I decided late in the week that I was running it. No real preperation other than simply being able to run again without pain.
Of course in my overly eager, post Huge Eug PR spectating awesomeness, I came up with a race plan that may/may not have been the brightest idea. I decided that I was going to see 1) how fast I could go and for how long and 2) if I could mentally push through wanting to keel over and die and finish the race strong. I was going to find the heels of someone fast and hold them as long as possible.
In theory this was a great idea. In practice... well I kind of did what I set out to do.
Saturday morning I awoke excited and a bit anxious. I haven't had race nerves in quite some time so it felt good and yet a bit silly to have the butterflies for a 5k. But such is life. Corinne and Kyle picked me up and we headed to the race registration. After registering, shooting the sh** and warming up, we meandered to the starting line - an overly crowded, narrow, and angled side street. I worked my way up to the front and found my friend Kristi - the 'fast friend' that I was going to try and hang on to. More shooting the sh** as we stood there and felt more and more like cattle and then the countdown came. Go time!
Starting out I felt great. It's a bit of up and down as you make your way towards a main road and since I was towards the front of the pack it cleared out in a hurry. I was tailgating Kristi like crazy, zigzagging through the crowd just simply watching her shoes and trying not to sprain an ankle in the cracked pavement (the roads in the first part of this race suck by the way). I saw Amanda and Julie right on my heels as well and knew we were all cruising - this was going to be great...
Until it's not. Basically once we rounded the corner onto Holly Street and I hit about mile 1 I wasn't feeling so hot. It's downhill at this point (or a bit earlier but really this is 'the' downhill section) and yet I felt like my body was shutting down. My arms and legs were like lead weights. I pulled up a bit and let Kristi, Amanda and Julie pull away. They were still in sight however, as I negotiated with myself that I would give my body a minute and then make another surge.
Yeah, that didn't happen either. They slipped further and further away and I watched as a 7 year-old in a cross country kit flew past me. Oh the good 'ol days - can I go back there? Mile 2 was just about slowing down a bit and holding on. Negotiations were happening in my brain left and right but I was determined to just slow down and not stop. There was no pain and there was no reason to stop. BUT... My arms still felt like lead, my breathing was labored, and I was just plain sucking wind - and/or just sucking in general.
And so I walked. Only for a few seconds but man did it feel good. Oh yeah, and then I walked again... and then maybe one more time. Seriously!!! Yeah, that happened.
I just wanted it to be over. I didn't look at my watch the whole race because frankly I didn't really care about overall time but my expectation of being able to hold on and go fast the whole way was crashing down all around me. The last mile plus was really a blur. A guy in fishnet tights, Vibram shoes, purple arm warmers, and a glitter start painted next to his eye passed me right towards the end and that made me die a little inside. LUCKILY the second 7 year-old to creep up on me (granted there were many others out there and probably a few that beat me) I held at bay. VICTORY IS MINE!
The finishing time was 21:34. A PR and yet a disappointment and one gigantic positive split race - AWESOME! 5k and sub-20 you will be mine! Just let me train for it first.