It’s been awhile since I’ve set a 5k PR – almost a year, in fact. The 5k is such a weird distance – full of people just getting into running who are having a great time and just trying to finish, and then people trying to improve and shave seconds off their previous personal bests… which would be the category I fall into, so a 5k race is more an exercise in pain and HOW MUCH LONGER CAN I HOLD THIS PACE?!
My previous PR (set this February) was 28:18 and I distinctly remember feeling like death as I slogged along trying to maintain that 9-min-mile. ( I am not fast, clearly). But after my big half marathon PR last month, and all the consistent (if slightly halfhearted) speedwork I’ve been doing since around August/September, I thought I might have a shot at finally cracking under 28 minutes for 3.1 miles.
I met up with some friends around 7:30 – we’d all volunteered at packed pickup in exchange for a race entry. Can’t beat a free race for a few bone-chilling hours handing out bibs!
It was cooollllllllld at the start – though I should have ditched my race shirt; I ended up tying it around my waist… you’d think I’d learn…
When the race started I remember deciding to go for it and took off at a challenging pace for me. That saying “it never gets easier, you just get better” is so true – it felt like a hard pace has felt for me in the past around a 9 min mile, but I was actually holding a sub-8-min pace for the first time ever.
I’d decided to try out a long-sleeve compression shirt I’ve had for awhile but never raced in, and while it was comfortable enough, it looked kind of ridiculous!
Even though it was like 30 degrees out I still got too warm and took off my gloves. I am my own sunshine factory. I mostly just tried to keep up the effort as hard as I could and felt shocked every time I glanced at Henry the Garmin and saw sub-9 min mile paces. I guess all that halfhearted speedwork paid off!
As I crossed the finish line I knew I’d set a shocking new PR – nearly 2 min faster than my old one. I didn’t even feel like puking afterwards, which has been a staple of previous hard efforts for me – who am I?! I’m kind of curious now what I could do if I really applied myself to training instead of just going through it and completing it… like maybe actually doing 400m repeats at a pace that feels insane?