"I'm debating signing up for a 5K this weekend. Price sucks ($30) and I kinda hate the 5K. Yes or no? Discuss..."
That sounds like someone who has absolutely no desire to do a 5K. Truth be told, I don't like the 5K. It doesn't suit my racing style very well. I'm not very good about being fast out of the gate. I like to work my way into races and pretty much negative split every race and run that I do. I also cannot stand the price of these races. $10 per mile!? You've got to be kidding me. Nevertheless, I know that racing shorter and faster will make me a better distance runner, so I signed up.
Saturday morning we arrived at the race site and just about as I'm heading out to do my warmup (as I can hear Elizabeth in my head saying, "the shorter the race, the longer the warm up"), I realize I left my watch at home. Since I've stopped working with a coach for the time being, I've stopped wearing my watch or heart rate monitor or Garmin. I go by feel and turnaround wherever I want to. I only wear a Garmin or watch if I have a specific workout I'm trying to hit. Anyway, I realized I would be racing blind and figured that would be a good thing. I did a little warmup, went to the bathroom for the hundredth time and headed to the start line.
This race was small. I sized up my competition and actually lined up towards the front - a very rare move for me. The horn sounded and we were off, crowding from a parking lot onto a narrow pathway and right into a strong 90 degree turn. I found my place and took off. The entire run was done on a bike path (nice!), but was tough as it had at least four 90 degree turns and a 180 degree turnaround.
I was immediately the fourth place female, running with two other guys with no one in front and no one behind us. At the turn around point I wasn't terribly behind the third place female but was far enough back that no matter how fast I was going to go I wasn't going to catch her. I was amazed, however, at my fitness level as I felt myself getting faster after the two mile mark and continuing to pick it up as the finish came nearer. Finally, I turned the last 90 degree turn to the finish and was amazed to see the clock at a 21:20 something. Holy cow! I was going to PR. My final time was 21:33. The official results had me 11th overall and third place female, however, there was no 8th place person in the final results and that 8th place person was a female.
Is that really how Gordon is spelled?
When I established my "12 for 2012" this year and wrote that I wanted a new PR, I was expecting to get a PR by doing something like running a new distance like an aquathlon and getting a PR by default. I had no idea that I would get a "real" PR and surely didn't think it would be in a 5K. And, my favorite part of all this, this was the first race I have averaged under a 7:00 minute/mile pace in a race - 6:56. This has been an unspoken/unwritten goal of mine for a long time. The scary part? I don't think I gave the race all I had. I didn't feel tired at the end. I never reached puke-stage. I felt like I held back at the beginning. Maybe there are more PRs in the future...