On July 23 I ran our local 5K. This race is called the Citizens Bank “Not Your Typical 5K”. It starts on Main St., heads up the hill to campus, then immediately back down the hill, then back up the hill, around a short loop (with another hill), and back down again. Also, it takes place in mid-July in the evening in Connecticut so you can count on temperatures around 85 degrees. A friend recently called it the Death Race. But it’s right downtown! They have pizza at the end! There are circus performers at the beginning! So, of course I run it if we are in town.
I’ve run this race three times. The first time was in 2011. It was maybe the third 5K I’d ever run. It’s SO EXCITING [!!!] running a race at home!! There are so many people in the race who LOOK LIKE REAL RUNNERS!!! And I KNOW them!!! Apparently that is what I was thinking the first time I ran it because before I even got to the first hill, which is about 100 yards into the race, I was pretty sure I was going to puke. I looked at my watch and it said my pace was 7:xx, which I have no business running in a 5K. Yet, I was completely unable to slow down. I alternated that entire race between running absolutely flat out and walking because I was sure I was going to barf. I started dumping water on my head at all the water stops. I’ve never been more out of control in a race. Finish time was 29:46, basically a testament to adrenaline and insanity.
Finish line waiting to be crossed!
I ran this again in 2013 and my main goal was to beat my previous time. I was a little cocky about it because my previous race had been so manic. By 2013 I was a little more seasoned. Of course it was absurdly hot again and raining as well. I ran hard, felt like crap, walked some, and finished in 29:27. Beat my old time, but not by much. Turns out adrenaline and insanity are not a bad way to approach a 5K!
This year I was quite sure I could beat my old time and I was almost certain I could run it in under 29 minutes. I thought under 28 might be possible, depending on the weather. I told Coach Cowboy I didn’t want any extra pressure about this race because I was fully capable of making myself crazy about it all on my own. In the end, I did want to talk to him about it though. I told him about the heat and he said something about how heat isn’t that much of an issue for shorter races. I told him about the hills and he reminded me that I am running hill repeats every week now. His advice pretty much boiled down to: for a 5K, you had better warm up. Run the hills hard, run the flats harder and don’t bother with water stops. Remember you’re in much better shape this year than last year. Ok then.
Lots of friends at the race!
A hometown race means tons of friends hanging around the start. In addition to my whole gang, we ran into Maple Leaf Trail Runner and her kids. Fast Friend and I had planned to meet up. We haven’t been running together as much lately so it was awesome to see her. We also found Little Engine and chatted with her. When they started the kids race, I suddenly remembered I was supposed to warm up, so I went to do that. Good thing too, because my knee still bugs me a little if I don’t warm up so I was glad to have that out of the way. I lined up with Fast Friend, we wished each other a good race, and we were off!
Me and Fast Friend
Rose, Little Engine, and me
This time I think I actually saw 6:xx on my watch on that first straightaway, but I didn’t panic. That is definitely not my 5K pace, but I knew I’d slow down on the hill. The first time up the hill wasn’t too bad. I did remember all the hill repeats! By the second time up the hill, I was thinking of all the problems with our hill repeat hill. It’s too steep. It’s not long enough. Maybe we just need to go up it more? Because running up hill for the second time was losing its charm for sure. By the third much smaller hill, I was really wanting to walk. Just for a minute. But instead I just thought, screw that, new goal is not walking in this bloody race so let’s get on with it. On the way down the last hill, I was mostly thinking, I am going to stick to marathons from here on out because 5Ks just suck. But I was running pretty darn fast! When I turned on to Main St, I could see the clock and I knew I would be very close to under 28 minutes. I ran like a fiend, but the clock said 28:03 when I crossed the line. So close!!! I was also 8/43 in my age group, which is pretty cool.
I feel good about this race. I got a course PR by more than a minute. More than that, I ran a much more controlled race and I didn’t walk! Fast Friend and Little Engine also had really great races – Little Engine got a course PR by more than 5 minutes! She’s running PRs all over the place right now, which is how she earned that nickname!
At the finish line, my daughter Rose piped up with the question “What was the course like?” Hysterical! Guess she’s been listening to our runner chat. Then she started running around me in circles to demonstrate her incredible speed. Adorable! We all enjoyed the post-race pizza!