Finally! A long-standing goal of mine has been crushed – namely, finishing a 5k in an official time under 30 minutes. At long last I pulled it off in this race, clocking in exactly 3.1 miles (per Henry the Garmin) in 29:27.
To be fair, Green Lake is pretty much mostly flat with only just a few very gently rolling hills, and the weather was COLD (about 31 degrees at the time we started!) which also usually makes me run a little faster. I even somehow overdressed – I wore my Brooks running fleece from RnR Seattle last year over a long-sleeve Nike top and I actually got a little over-warm (also had gloves and a running beanie, which I thought would be good due to the temps, but I ended up yanking off the gloves sometime during mile 2). I did push into the uncomfortable zone but I think overall I probably have it in me to go even faster, though that would require “visting the pain cave” as they say.
Also, they just posted race photos and LOL I think this is quite possibly the most flattering picture of me ever:
Of course, that’s also the ONLY photo they got of me…
I started off the race checking my watch neurotically to make sure I was sticking around the pace I wanted (I was shooting for 9:30) and had to keep reining myself in the first mile – I would glance down and see numbers like 9:08, 8:56, 9:15. I eventually settled in behind a tall older fellow in a blue track suit who was chugging along right about exactly where I wanted to be and let him pace me for a little while.
After a while, though, I glanced at Henry and realized track suit guy had fallen off pace and was going around a 10:03 clip. I picked it up a bit and trotted on by him to do my own thing.I was actually getting pretty warm (somehow) and made myself wait until 1.55 miles (exactly halfway!) before unzipping the necks on both my fleece and Nike long-sleeve shirt underneath, and the rush of cold air on my neck felt awesome.
Mile 2 is usually one of the worst for me – on my route at home, it’s the hilliest, so I inevitably slow down for this mile, and I think my body is used to taking a little break. As such mile 2 was my slowest of the race at 9:40 average. I kept glancing down and reminding myself that if I wanted to hit my goal, I was going to have to work for it and not slack off. Strangely though I never hit the “I feel like death” mode that I usually do during a race – I was working, and keeping my feet moving (and “running tall,” a piece of advice I read on the McMillan site a week or so ago), but I felt strong the whole time. (I’m kind of shocked considering how random and inconsistent my training has been lately.)
We hit the 3rd mile and I knew I had to keep it up and finish strong. I kept repeating my posture-helping tips over and over in my head and focusing on keeping my feet moving quick and my shoulders back and tall. With around .6 of a mile to go I drew next to another girl and she sped up to keep stride with me, and we ran side by side for a few minutes until she dropped back with about two tenths of a mile to go. I picked up the pace again , summoning whatever I had left, and when I hit mile marker 3 I sprinted as best I could (OK, maybe I did feel a little like death right at this part) to the finish, stopping Henry the Garmin right after the mats in 29:30!
Then there was the obligatory stand-there-breathing-like-a-freight-train-while-getting-your-chip-cut-off-your-shoe moment, and I staggered over to the food booths to snag a banana and a bottle of water, feeling very accomplished. Achievement unlocked!
I guess my next goal should be to go even faster, eh? And perhaps even train a little more consistently ;)