This race couldn’t have come at a better time. I was fresh off the let down of a bad 5k and I needed some kind of redemption race. I also had one of the busiest and craziest weeks in a while, and I couldn’t wait to leave it all behind me and zone out for three quick miles. The 5k was in my hometown so I knew it would be flat, and hopefully fast. I spent the previous night at my parent’s house so I wouldn’t have to drive 45 minutes in the morning. A 5 minute drive on the morning of race day seemed much more enjoyable. The race didn’t start until 9:00, but I was wide awake at 6:30 and I was able to catch this beautiful sunrise. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, but it never gets old.
I was a little concerned because my legs were pretty tight still from Yoga, so I made sure to do some extra stretches. After a random granola bar and some water, I was ready to go. I got to the park and wondered if I’d see anyone I knew. The first person I saw was one of my high school coaches. She didn’t recognize me or acknowledge me, but it wasn’t too surprising. If you weren’t number one on the team, you just didn’t matter.
That aside, I picked up my bib and shirt, ate a few Sport Beans, ran a bit of a warm up and was ready to go. We lined up, got ready and suddenly we were off. A lot of people sprinted, and I was passed by a ton of runners. I kept reminding myself not to go out too quick, I didn’t want another race like last weeks. 7:50, 8:05, 8:15, I was forcing myself to slow down but at some point, I just couldn’t get past 8:20. A half mile in I decided to forget about my watch and just let my legs lead me. I wasn’t running a half marathon, if I forced myself to go at a 9:00 pace, I’d never get any faster. And I certainly wouldn’t be happy about my time. So through the wooded street and into a familiar development, I hit my first mile at 8:16.
I was feeling good, picking people off, one by one. I could tell who went out too quickly and hoped I wouldn’t be joining in their pain. We ran through a newer housing development, and I could remember doing mile repeats and pre-race shenanigan filled runs. I was excited to be on my home turf, and more excited to show my once high school coach that I could still run. I was able to stick with a pretty decent pace and kept my attention on a women ahead of me. We headed to the turn around point and as I passed the half way mark I was at 12:47. I started to run the numbers and forced the thought quickly from my mind. I wanted to use time as a check point, not let it control my race.
The second half of the course would be what we just ran, easy, flat, and hopefully no issues. I was still feeling good, no pain at all, but could tell my breathing was a little loud. My legs were a little tight, but I figured it was because they weren’t used to going this fast. I made it out of the development, and knew I’d have a short distance on a side street, following the main road before turning into the park for the finish. Unfortunately I became a little distracted when a much older gentleman decided to drive down the middle of the street behind the runners, tailing each one. It was clear he was too close to everyone for their safety. I got out of the way and kept my eye on him until he turned off. This slowed me down a bit, but the last thing you need on the course is an accident.
I turned on the main road and knew I had less than a half mile to go. I could see the three mile mark up ahead as my legs started to extend. My pace opened up and I could taste the finish. 24:48 at the three mile mark. I wouldn’t break 25:00, but I knew I could definitely break 26:00. I rounded into the park and pushed it as I crossed the line. 25:37 for a new adult PR. A whole 2:05 off of last week’s horrible 5k. I was thrilled! Even with my less than perfect training all week, I was able to zone out on everything and really focus on my running.
I did a short jog back and forth to the car to keep my legs loose. Once all of the runners were in, they announced the winners of the race. I was shocked to hear my name called under 2nd place in my age group. I didn’t expect it, and was grateful that I had done better than I thought.
I truly enjoyed this race. Hermes always does such a great job managing races that it makes for a fun time running. I hope that I’ll be able to run this race again to improve on my time and hopefully see the race grow. If you need a flat, fast 5k in March, definitely keep this one on your radar for next year.
Garmin Time: 25:37
Age Group 20-29: 2/12
Female Overall: 15/61