In the beginning of the year, I put the Strongsville Super Saturday 5k on my tentative race schedule. A few months passed and about two days before the race I realized I hadn’t registered, which meant it was time to make a decision if I would run or not. Knowing I would have a long run Sunday, I didn’t want to burn out my legs, but I’ve been missing speed work lately and I really wanted to test the waters of the 5k since my last one.
I woke up early enough to eat, relax and try to settle my nerves. You’d think by this point I wouldn’t get so worked up about a race….nope! I got there with about 15 minutes to spare, registered and got one more bathroom break in before the race started. Because I registered day of, I didn’t get a shirt, but really, I don’t need another short sleeve cotton shirt. (I did love the green color though!)
I didn’t have a goal for this race, other than beat my previous 5k’s time. I would go out and run how I felt, hoping not to embarrass myself after the lack of miles earlier in the week. We were off, and everyone sprinted ahead. I tried not to get caught up in the crowd, but couldn’t help quickly dropping into a sub 9:00 pace. I knew there was a hill coming up at the half way point, so I tried to keep my pace consistent. About a half mile in, I was easily cruising at an 8:30 pace. I felt comfortable at this pace, so decided to stick with it. The first mile is pretty flat and wraps around Pearl from the Strongsville Rec Center into a nearby development. Mile 1-8:32.
The second mile went through Falling Waters and lead through a housing development that reminded me of an old route in Medina I used to run. The road had slight curves, but knowing it was leading up to the hill, I focused more on my pace than the surroundings. I dropped a bit to an 8:38 pace, but was keeping it pretty steady. At about the half way point, the hill was finally in sight. Knowing I had almost no hills under my belt this year, I was a little concerned with how it would go. It was steep and it was a half mile long. Yikes!
I charged the hill, slowed my pace, and told myself to focus one step at a time. I had some chest pains mid hill that made me nervous, but I think it was my body letting me know it was angry for running quick and throwing in the giant hill. I finally made it to the top, and my pace slowed to 9:10. Not awful, but I wanted to stay under 9:00. I grabbed some water at the water stop and started on the last mile. Mile 2-9:08.
By mile three, I was started to get tired, but still had enough energy in me that I stayed under a 9:00 minute pace. We headed out of the development and back on to Pearl. My pace at this point was all over the place, ranging from 8:34-8:58. I started to pick off a few people, and my legs started to get excited we were almost done. We turned into the Target shopping center and were met with a small incline. At this point, any incline was tough and it was the last thing you wanted to see before the finish. We went towards the back of the shopping center and no matter how fast your ran, it felt like the finish was never getting closer. Mile 3- 8:39
The final stretch had a slight downhill and I could see the clock once I turned the final corner. I gave it everything I had and hoped for the best. Finish: 27:32.
It was faster than my last 5k, but slower than I thought I would have done. It wasn’t until a few moments later, I noticed my Garmin showed 3.17, a long course. I heard another runner say they got 3.2. Overall I had felt really strong, even with the hill, and had it been a flat course, I probably would have hit the 3.1 mark somewhere around 26:xx.
I was definitely bummed with my time, but I ran a much stronger race, and my pace was where I wanted it to be. I can tell that I’m getting faster and getting my speed back, but I still need to work on hills. I’ll for sure put this race on my calendar for next year, and get revenge on the hill.
Overall Place: 119/270
AG 25-29: 4/13
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