There are some major accomplishments going on over here. First, it is the end of February and I haven’t been sidelined by an injury. This time last year I was hurting, I think because I didn’t adequately build up my base. This year? Whole different ballgame. 2013, year of the snake, you’re being good to me. I love you and I’m going to respect you running-wise.
Beyond being injury free, I also completed my first real race of the year!* I chose the Have a Heart for Hoffman-Boston Elementary School 5K. I was hoping that a small race on a familiar trail would make me feel like racing was no big deal. This brings me to something that is a little embarrassing to admit: in the two years since I have been running regularly I had never really raced a 5K before this past weekend.
Let’s start with the not so good – it was rainy, chilly, and foggy. The weather seemed to get in my joints and though I was thankful for J suggesting I do a dynamic warmup before I left the house, I forgot my gloves. Amateur move, Emily, amateur. Not so good out of the way.
Good news? Small race registration is a breeze AND reps from 5 hour energy were there handing out samples. Full disclosure: I don’t know anything about whether 5hr energy will make my heart explode someday, or whether it will turn me into a centaur but I will say that before every race in which I have PRed I’ve had a 5hr energy. Draw from that what you will.
No chip timing. The race started with a whistle. I loved that. It was an out and back course on a paved trail I’ve run many times before. I had a spot near the front of the pack, which was a little selfish of me considering my goal was to keep my pace between 8:10-8:15 per mile. So when I saw my pace was closer to 7:45 so I tried to back it down. I wish I hadn’t done that, because I had more in me at the end. I finished in 24:47 – which is ever so slightly, barely, minutely below a pace of 8:00 per mile. (Not really, when you round it off … but please, I’d like the confidence boost!)
Further confidence boost? I ended up placing third in women 30-39 (What?! P.S. Don’t tell my mom that there were only 15 or so women in my age group.)
Here I am on the way out in the BRIGHT RED SHIRT. I swear I have hair. I just pulled it back into a bun.
And here I am, Big Red, with the finish line in sight:
The race was sponsored by a local elementary school – and the race premium was a bandana designed by one of the students. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard to beat that. They had an impressive post race set up with Einstein bagels, coffee and water. Race premium, set up and ease of registration make me think that I’ll definitely run this race again.
My takeaway from this first real race of the year is that I think a PR in my half marathon seems very likely. The trick now will be not resetting that goal to run faster than what is actually possible for me. I struggle sometimes with comparing myself to other runners. I should be focusing on improving on my own time, but that’s hard not to get greedy. If someone finds the magical potion that prevents this competitiveness please let me know. I don’t think it’s 5 hour energy, but check back in a few weeks.
My next race is this weekend! What? J and I are heading out to Burke for the Burke Lake 12K which is part of DC Road Runners Snowball Series. The last snowball series race we ran was the Langley 8K and it was so cold I swore my face was going to fall off. This race I won’t really be racing, it’s my long run for the week so I’m just going to try to keep it at a reasonable pace.
So my next for real for real race is the Four Courts Four Miler – which is two weeks from this coming Saturday. It just so happened to line up perfectly with a day when my training schedule has me running a pace run of the same distance.
Are you training for any fun races or events coming up?
*I did run the Langley 8K earlier this year, but I didn’t really race that. It was more of kick off to my pre-training ramp up runs…so I don’t count it.