Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up– Dean Karnazes
It was the Fourth of July. My husband Mark had purchased this race for me as a Mother’s Day gift and also my race kit that was very festive for the Fourth of July with a note saying “Get After it, Sub 20:00”! *Note he did not get me my Vaporflys, maybe one day (although I did get these on sale and haven’t been able to do that since) 😉
This was my 13th 5k with my first being in 2006. I definitely went through a phase that it was only worth while to run marathons with not seeing much progress and/or getting injured. My PR was a Human Society Race where I ran with my dog in 2014 where she and I had gotten top female in 19:57!
So starting off today I woke up to get ready and even the kids were up before 6am. Alex was racing the 200m and Luke the 1 mile. After having a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast and the kids had their carbs, I had water with Skratch Hyper electrolytes. I needed all the extra sodium for the humid (91%) and 70°F start.
As well loaded the kids up, Luke had left his running shoes at my mom’s yesterday (I know I should have remembered when I picked them up but we changed into sandals to go to the pool when I got them…I swear it’s hard to remember everything) so had to swing by there before heading to Ann Arbor. We picked up my sister-in-law who lives there to help us out. I could already tell it was going to be a mess of a race. I had also forgotten my bib holder, I really don’t like sticking pins in my clothes, and I left my Koala Clip to carry my phone. I can’t say I wasn’t as calm as I wanted to be before the race. There is too much to remember with more people involved.
They had to move locations to the mall because the original course was under construction. This meant we were doing laps so I already foresaw dodging people during the race but at least it was flat right?! I barely had time to warm up besides running to use the bathroom and back just to make sure the kids were set. I took a Maurten caffeine gel at 7:45am because my race was supposed to start at 8…ha.
Well they started the 200m race for Alex at 8. I planned to run with her for it but the announcers kept saying the 5k racers needed to line up being them. That was a fail because the kids did an out and back to the finish so we couldn’t run them over, luckily Mark ran with her but I felt bad about that.
I was ready to go and we waited for the hot dog eating 5k racers to eat 4 hot dogs in 76 seconds before we could take off. I want to say myself and everyone around me were just sweating standing in line. It still gets me where people line up in the corrals. Anyways, my coach Elevate Your Running told me to hit 6:25 min/mi pace for the first mile and pick it up from there. My watch was saying I was spot on 6:25 anytime I looked so I tried to trust it and go. 1 mile in 6:22 min/mi.
I was trying to remember the course here because I was going to have to lap this area again. Around 1.5 miles there was a water table and I just poured water on my head and kept going. At 1.75 miles the 1 mile racers merged in with us even though they tried to separate them with cones, we were running into 5k people on their first lap so we were just dodging cones and people. Mile 2 was similar pace at 6:21 min/mi.
Coming into the last 1.1 miles I could see Mark and Luke ahead of me so that was fun shouting out to Luke. Funny story for Luke, Luke decided to go out sprinting at his race start leading the pack for less than a minute. I must say I do not recommend this as a coach but we all learn at some point. I turned up the pace, luckily it wasn’t too crazy where the 1 milers turned in before the 5k continued on to loop back to the finish. I was so anxious to get to the turn in to finish as I felt myself wanting to slow at 2.5 miles. I then really gave it everything I had left at I saw when I hit 3 miles with a pace of 6:12 min/mi that I was just under 19 minutes so I needed to finish faster to break 20 minutes. The last 0.1 miles was 5:45 min/mi.
New 5k PR: 19:32 in 6:17min/mi pace! It only took 9 years and a couple kids to get to this point. 3rd female overall and 1st in my age group and I got a lovely coaster for an award. 😆
I must say I was out of breath and had nothing left in the tank after the race. I am very happy with the outcome. I have raced six 5ks in the past year-ish.
April 2022 – 21:16 6:50min/mi
May 2022 – 20:23 6:33min/mi
December 2022 – 20:55 6:43min/mi (recovering from my marathon a couple weeks before)
February 2023 – 20:24 6:33min/mi (last minute sign up before 5k training began)
April 2023 – 20:11 6:29min/mi (was supposed to be my A race to break 20 minutes)
Progress isn’t always linear but it is so nice when things head in the right direction and finally pays off. So happy my kids enjoyed their race and popsicles at the end. It is crazy how it is all over so quickly and feels like nothing has changed even though you hit a big goal you had been chasing. Now to break 19?! (Or 18 minutes as Mark said).
We are all winners today! During the car ride home Luke asked me “Why are you so slow? [He technically crossed the finish line before me for his 1 mile race] I don’t even need to train and can still do well!” It was quite the laugh but again as a coach, we aren’t all naturally talented and it does take work to see improvement. It is better to be prepared. I’m sure he will actually beat me one day. Mark did mention on the ride home that maybe it was a good thing that the family was there to cheer me on because my last 5k attempt in April I was so worried about doing everything right and wanted to be alone, not letting my family be there. I must have needed some chaos and distractions to not have time to worry about my race. I’m very grateful I had the support today to have this happen.
Hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July. We spent the rest of the day at the pool and hanging out with some friends.
Have you had things not go right before your race?
How long did it take you to reach your goal or PR?
What did you do for the Fourth of July?