Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day 5k

In the fall I ran my half-marathon just 14 seconds over my 10 year old PR from my first half-marathon I ever ran. I did that off mostly 35-40 mile weeks with just 2 weeks at 50 miles during my training cycle. I was also able to run a 41:49 PR in the 10k and a 19:29 5k along with two other 5ks in under 20 minutes. I hadn't broken 20 minutes in the 5k in a LONG time! With all that excitement under my belt I went into the spring with high expectations. I bumped my mileage up to 50 mile weeks at the start of my training cycle and have put in 50 mile weeks 7 times. I expected this increase in mileage along with running fewer races this spring, I very carefully planned out one 10k, one 5k, and one half marathon to focus on so I would only run one race each month, to result in even faster times. My 10k at the Sweetheart Run was a big disappointment and I was looking for the St. Patrick's Day 5k to be my turn around and confidence booster before the half-marathon in a few weeks. I ran some disappointing 5ks in fall but I had a huge break through race at the Jenks 5k, running 6:16 pace and feeling great. My goal going into the St. Patrick's Day race was originally to start off at 6:15 pace and see what I could do from there. I ran an awesome 8x800 repeat workout the Tuesday before the race and killed my times from the fall, averaging 3:05 per repeat compared to 3:11 per repeat in the fall. I felt poised to run really well at the 5k. But my legs just weren't recovering as quickly as I would have liked with my legs still feeling fatigued on Thursday. I was also dealing with a cough and feeling overly tired again. I think again due to allergies but I even laid down Friday evening for a short nap while Ty made dinner and he woke me up 3 hours later to give the kids kisses before bed. I adjusted my goal to breaking 20 minutes after waking up feeling fatigued again the next morning.
Group shot in our shirts after Elise had gone to bed.

Mom and Carter running to the start area.
I took off on my warm up and my legs still weren't feeling quite right. Normally I run around 8 minute pace without the stroller but I was hitting 9 minute pace for my warm up and not feeling like I could pick it up much at all. Eventually I got down to 8:30 pace for the second mile but my legs still didn't feel very good. It was in the upper 30's and raining. I wavered back and forth on whether to wear tights or shorts and eventually decided on shorts. During my warm up I questioned that decision as my legs weren't warming up and I was wearing sweatpants over my shorts. I think wearing shorts may have played into my race success along with the other factors working against me. I stopped to talk to my family and to put my warm ups under the stroller. Thomas hadn't arrived yet and we were discussing whether he would make it in time for the race. I knew he would come but maybe we just hadn't seen him yet.  My parents hadn't planned to run the race as my dad was out of town for a conference until late Friday night. Thomas told my mom he'd run it if she dressed as a leprechaun so she put together an outfit and decided to run it. She entered the costume contest but didn't win and I couldn't believe it because she looked awesome! They were really hoping Thomas would make it for the race since he was the main reason why they decided to go ahead and come for it.
Mom's awesome leprechaun costume.
This race was my first one as part of the Runner's World Race Team. I was really excited about it and wanted to have a solid run, but I was losing hope that I could do that. I found my teammates after my warm up and they were all pretty jazzed up and excited for the race. We lined up at the start and then without warning the gun went off. We all took off and then we got called back as it had been a misfire. I figured it was a good thing as it gave us a chance to get a stride in but people weren't moving back to let us get behind the starting line and we had to jostle a bit. Ty, mom, and dad said they hadn't heard the gun and didn't know what was going on toward the back so I'd say that's why people weren't moving. Then it was time for the race to actually start. We took off and I kept telling myself, "This feels okay, you've got this." I went wide to pass runners and at one point got pushed by a guy trying to go around a puddle and he pushed me directly into a giant puddle. I was disappointed to have soaked shoes since I had been avoiding puddles but what can you do.
A picture dad took of me running by after the turn around.

The first portion of the race has a couple of slight but long inclines and the course is out and back so you get to go down the inclines on the way back. I saw a guy ahead of me who I know usually runs just under 20 minutes so I told myself I needed to catch him if I wanted to break 20. I passed him about a half mile into the race. My legs were feeling rough but I was pleased to be ahead of him as I thought that would mean a sub-20 for me if I could stay ahead of him. When my watch beeped for my first mile split of 6:33 I felt a bit defeated. I calculated in my head that if I still wanted to break 20 minutes I needed to get back 8 seconds which meant running the next 2 miles in 6:21 or under. I wasn't sure I had it in my legs to go that much faster. I had been pushing it to hit 6:33 and my legs just weren't responding like I had hoped they would. I didn't look at my watch during mile 2, I just tried to maintain pace as much as I could since you go up the bigger portion of the hill during that mile. I kept telling myself, make it to the top and you can really pick it up on the way back. On the turn around I saw Jeremy and he cheered for me. Then I saw Ty and Thomas was behind him. I figured Thomas must've missed the start and started late. After the race I found out his phone had died so his alarm didn't go off. Mom and dad had his bib in the stroller so he ran to the start, started late, found them, got his bib, and ran the race holding his bib in his hand. My watch beeped for a 6:41 second mile and I felt even more defeated. I knew my chances of a decent time were out the window but I wasn't about to give up. I took off on the down hill and really tried to push as much as possible. I was passing people again so I had that going for me. My legs still weren't feeling there but I was forcing it as much as I could. Finally with about a half mile to go, oddly enough once it flattened back out and I was no longer running downhill, I started to get some pep in my step. I felt like I could really crush it at that point and was wishing my legs had felt that way the entire race. Maybe they had just finally warmed up, I don't know. I went through mile 3 in 6:21 but don't even remember seeing that mile split. I could see a woman ahead of me and knew she was too far out to catch, but I focused on closing the gap between us. It turned out she was one of my teammates but I didn't realize that until after I finished. I did catch a couple guys and then one of them went with me and passed me back. I decided to fight for it and sprinted against him to the finish, but he was able to outkick me. I was impressed after the race to see I ran 5:10 pace for the last portion of the race. As I neared the finish I could still see 19 on the clock and was shocked. I was going to finish a little better than I had expected, especially with that awful 2nd mile split! I ended up crossing the finish line in 20:15, an average of 6:28 per mile which was only 3 seconds per mile slower than I had hoped for. I'd been shooting for 6:25 pace, so really not too terribly bad.
Team picture after we had all finished.

I was disappointed and felt like my training has shown I could run a faster time, but it just wasn't there on Saturday. I could speculate as to why and come up with so many excuses, but the bottom line is that I wasn't able to pull together a strong race. I was really hoping to blow it out of the water and get a huge confidence boost going into the half in a few weeks and I wish I'd been able to do that. Looking back at the fall, my big 5k I had been hoping to run well at was significantly slower than this one at 6:36 pace. I ended up adding another 5k to my schedule so I could get a strong race in and was able to run the Jenks 5k in 6:16 pace. So my disappointing 5k this season was not as disappointing as the one from the fall. I'm trying to remember to compare all the way across instead of just comparing this race to my fastest 5k from the fall. At that race I had perfect weather and an incredibly flat course. It happened to be during my taper so I had an easy week going into the race and was a bit more rested. Everything came together perfectly for me to really rock that race. While it's hard not to compare this 20:15 to that 19:55 which was actually around 19:29 as the course was long, I'm also trying to remember to compare this 20:15 to my 20:36 at a race in the fall where I was confident I could break 20 minutes. It's hard not to compare our worst races to our best races but it's not a fair comparison. While this race didn't give me the confidence boost I was hoping for, it did light a fire under me to get out there at the half and prove that all these 50 mile weeks weren't for nothing and I do have a good spring race in me!
Running my cool down in with mom as she finished the race.

Even though I was disappointed in my race, I was still able to run about 20 seconds faster than my time at this race last year, which was also a tough race for me. Come to think of it, I've never really had a strong run at this race. Maybe there's something to that! In 2014 I ran it while my body was still miscarrying our pregnancy between Carter and Elise so that was an added difficulty for that race. This year I finished 41st out of 1,237 overall, 6th out of 648 women, and 1st out of 82 in my age group. When I finished I stayed around the finish area talking to my teammates and some other runners I have met at various races. I got to see Jeremy finish in 20:55, a post-accident PR! He was 59th overall and 9th out of 62 in his age group. I started my cool down back toward mom and saw Thomas finish in 24:17, 158th overall and 20th of 51 in his age group. That was with my parents starting the race with his bib. He started late and caught up to them to get it from them, so he actually ran faster than that. Next I saw Ty finish in 28:58 which put him 352nd overall and 32nd out of 62 in his age group. Dad ran with the kids in the stroller since he is coming back from an injury. He finished in 31:30 which put him 522nd overall and 22nd of 36 in his age group. Mom finished in 36:10 which put her 754th overall and 5th out of 20 in her age group. Since I won my age group I got a beer stein award. When we got home I was pulling stuff out of the car and accidentally knocked my beer stein onto the ground, shattering it in half with a few other pieces. That was kind of symbolic of my race!

Awesome picture of dad running with the kids.
My broken beer stein award.


  1. Aww, there is so much to comment on here! I think you're onto something with comparing your "meh" races from different seasons; very smart idea since they aren't all going to be our best! I definitely think that if you were a little sick, or even if it was allergies (which is after all, allergens attacking your body!), that can make all of the difference. Were you still fairly fresh off of (i.e., exhausted from!) your Florida trip too? The more you get your times down, the harder it is to have a perfect day to improve even more. Your body is just waiting to peak for the half, right? Look at that 5:10 sprint to the finish - that's smokin'!

    I love that Jeremy keeps improving his post-accident PRs - he is rocking it! Also love that you're racing on a team now, how cool is that?! Have you found some training partners from it? Finally, your mom's costume and crocheted beard are the best!!

    Focus on that huge improvement in your 800 workout, and eyes on the prize in 2 weeks!

    1. Yeah, we got back from our trip on Monday and the race was Saturday so not super close but the kids were still on Florida time and waking up early all week! Thanks for the vote of confidence, we will see what happens on April 1st. I'm hoping it goes better than I am expecting.

      Jeremy is amazing!