Monday, February 2, 2015

Owning the 5k in 2015

Last month I resolved that I would focus on the 5k in 2015 and really work to be a speed demon following my fast (for me) times last year. I've been doing a lot of great speed workouts on the treadmill, and I have to be honest: being fast is way more fun than running long distance. No comparison. I am registered for two races that are longer than 13 miles this spring, but nothing is more fun right now than rocking out a pretty fast 3.1.

I haven't run a race since November, and I was itching to get outside and run hard. I registered for the Super Bowl 5k knowing that the weather might not permit a PR. I woke up on Sunday morning to light snow and warnings of blizzard conditions later in the day. Not exactly PR material, but it wasn't going to stop me from running hard.

The race was in Meridian Township and began at Chippewa Middle School. I picked up my packet easily before the race in the school's gymnasium. The snow was coming down more heavily at the start of the race, but the temperature actually felt great. I didn't realize when I left home how deep the snow actually was, and I was lamenting leaving my Yak Traks at home.

All smiles before the snowy start!

I took off like a shot at the beginning, full of energy and wanting to prove myself despite the snowy conditions. It only took a few hundred yards before I realized this wasn't going to be a fast race. We were running in the middle of the road in several inches of snow. My breathing was already labored a half a mile in. I used to run on the beach when I lived in Virginia, and the few inches of snow made it feel like we were running in sand. Very slippery sand.

When I reached the first mile clock, I had run an 8:20 mile. Not the 7:30 or less I was hoping for. I knew I was far from a PR, but it didn't mean I would quit pushing. The course twisted through a subdivision, but I ignored my surroundings and focused on breathing. It was difficult to do at that point. 

Around the 2½ mile point I got a second wind. I realized I could push harder, and I passed several people who I'd been letting pace me for most of the race. One woman was likely in my age group, and I had a momentary surge of adrenaline that let me fly by her.

I had side stitches as I crossed the finish line in 27:32 (1:42/mile off my goal pace), but I knew that a PR wasn't going to happen in that race. My legs were dead, and I knew it was way harder than running on the treadmill or on a snowless day.  I left quickly to run some errands before heading home. I was in the car at a light when I saw the text informing me that I'd won my age group.  That had only happened once before when I set my PR last May, and it motivates me to continue to push myself.

The snow accumulated throughout the day resulting in work cancellations and about a foot of snow in the area. I was able to enjoy it with a cup of coffee while nursing my sore legs in the afternoon. My first 5k in 2015 wasn't my best, but the year is off to a great and motivating start!

Snowy Lansing the day after the storm

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