I ran the Kentlands 5K today, finishing in 19:10 gun time, which was a PR and good enough for the age group win, so yay.
Originally, my plan for this weekend was to race something, but the exact distance TBD. If it was relatively cool weather, I’d go for a 5K, with the goal of breaking 19 (something that I believe I’m currently capable of, given good weather and a fair course). If it was hot and humid, I’d hit the local track meet instead, and race a mile. Again.
So, I registered for the Kentlands 5K, which is a fun course that often produces fast times, and then took a wait and see approach. Of course, as luck would have it, the great weather that we’ve been having decided to take a break for Labor Day weekend, letting some steamy weather roll back in. I debated doing the track mile after all, but then decided to stick with the 5K. I’ve raced plenty of miles this summer, but I’ve only done one other race (a 5K) since May. And with a half-marathon coming up in two weeks, I really wanted to race something longer than a mile. I needed a rust buster.
And, to be frank, it could quite possibly be sticky for my goal races coming up this fall. Best to get out there and get my racing feel back. And practice maintaining a confident and relaxed attitude when conditions weren’t to my taste. Though I can’t control the weather, I can control my attitude.
I warmed up for the race by jogging most of the course with two teammates. I was familiar with the course, having run it two years ago, but it was good to eyeball it again, and remind myself of the rhythm of the hills (this course is a fun one, but it’s constantly shifting from uphill to downhill, and from turn to turn. I did opt to stop at my car, and not follow the course all the way to the finish line (*foreshadowing*).
Then drills and strides, lined up, and we were off. I rode the brakes pretty heavily at first, and made sure to keep the first mile relaxed, so that I could build in the second and third miles, and finish strong. I noted with some amusement throughout that there were a large number of high school boys in the race, and each of them seemed to get a bit upset when I pulled alongside and then ahead.
Want to crush a teenage boy’s spirit? Just be an older female runner and pass him during a race, while verbally encouraging him.
Wow, I’m really mean sometimes.
Anyhoo. I paced this race really well for the whole part, I thought. I felt in control and confident, and allowed myself to really start to fly when I saw the last turn coming up ahead. Rolled through there and around the turn and…
Nope. Finish line not there. Apparently we had another ways to go, and then another turn, and then the finish line was somewhere after that.
Oops. Probably a higher power’s revenge on me for cheerfully trampling over the egos of teenage boys. And I really should have jogged the entire course.
A moment of despair flashed in my mind, but I pulled it together and just focused hard on keeping everything together until we got to the finish line. Wherever that was. Please let it be soon. I’ll never be mean again.
As it turns out, it was a bit AFTER the final turn. Ack. It was a really painful finish, as I tied up and my legs turned completely to lead, but I managed to keep it together and not hemorrhage too much speed.
Ultimately, I think I would have been a bit faster if I hadn’t misjudged the finish of the course, but I don’t think I lost that much time. Certainly not enough to make the difference between breaking 19 or not. And it was a good reminder of the importance of not getting impatient and rushing my finishes – one that will stand me in good stead for my goal races.
Splits ended up being:
Mile 1: 6:15
Mile 2: 6:10
Last 1.11 miles: 6:45 (6:05 pace)
- Took me 35 minutes to drive to the race from Rosslyn, VA (picked up a friend first)
- Temp was 73, DP 70. Yup. Sticky. It took me a while to recover after the race, which is annoying, as my asthma meds had been helping with that. However, while the new meds were working great when it was just humidity, the combination of humidity and high ragweed has been testing me the last few weeks. But ragweed will only last a few more weeks, and the weather will also improve when we get into fall. If I can PR now in conditions where I’m challenged and also make some mistakes, then I can’t wait to see what I can run this fall.
- This race was the perfect choice for me today. Rust buster, confidence boost, PR, age group win. Breaking 19 will likely have to wait until after my first marathon, but that’s OK. I can be patient.