Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Quest to Destroy the 5k Continues

I've very publicly set a lofty goal of breaking 21 minutes in the 5k in 2015. It is going to be haaaaaaaaard. I'm two 5ks in this year and nowhere near breaking that goal, but I'm still overall faster than I've ever been. Your fitness declines as you age, but I am not good with accepting limitations.

I sat on a 26:00 5k PR for three years. That time mark was my nemesis, and I felt like I couldn't break 26 minutes. Last year I shattered it by running my current PR of 23:55. It was really hard, but it felt amazing. Since then I've run under 26 minutes several times. This past weekend I jumped into the Steps to Freedom 5k at Lansing's Hawk Island Park. It was a small race, but I just needed something close by to run and motivate me.

It was the first really pretty day we've had this spring. The sun was shining, and temperatures were in the mid-20s at the start. Given that we've had several months of regular sub-zero temperatures, I was thrilled with the weather. I shot out quickly at the start and felt good for about a half a mile. 

When I saw the one-mile marker, I honestly thought about walking. My body was so tired, and I could feel myself slowing down. I found out last week that I'm still anemic, so my physical exhaustion isn't just from parenting a newborn (which is what I'd been blaming it on). Despite taking iron three times a day, I feel like I've been running in slow motion.

Hawk Island is a great park, and the Lansing River Trail loops around it making it a perfect spot for a 5k. My breathing was labored at mile two, and I had no idea how fast (or more likely slow) I was running. I refused to let myself walk and pushed through to the finish.

A sunshiny finish.

I was shocked when I arrived at the finish in 25:17. While not close to breaking 21 minutes, I was still well under the 26 minute mark that remains symbolic to me given how long it took me to break it. I didn't feel like I had run that fast, and given how tired I was, I took it. It was good enough for 2nd in my age group.

I've got a long way to go and a lot of speed work to do to meet my 5k goal. The Ann Arbor Half Marathon is coming up in a few weeks, and I remain woefully underprepared for the race. I know I can push through 13.1, and that's not my goal this year anyway. It'll be good to get back into racing a large race on my way to my 5k speed goals. Who wants to make some signs and be in my cheering section? I'd owe you one. 

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