Today was my second 5K of 2013. You may recall that I added another goal to my list of running goals for 2013 after my first 5K. That goal was to run a sub-30 minute 5K. For the Frosty's Hustle in January I ran a 9:49 pace, ending with a 31:45. However, it was not a true 3.1 miles, it was 3.23. That will be important later...
This time I remembered to carb load, partially in thanks to my parents, who invited my family and I to celebrate my mom's birthday at an Italian restaurant on Friday. I went to bed early, set my alarm, and my cell said I had 10 hours until my alarm would go off. Lots of rest. I woke up feeling really good. My kids weren't up yet, so I figured I'd be able to sneak out without listening to the begging about not leaving. That always delays my departure. I filled a bottle of water to drink on the way there and ate two hard boiled egg whites for protein to get me through the race. Then two of my kids woke up. I got the usual "don't go Mommy!" Until I pried my arm out of their little fingers and darted to the car. I was a good ten minutes down the road when I got a text from my husband that I'd left my water bottle on the counter. Looking at the clock, I was pushing it to make it out there by start time so I let it go.
I got to the rec center with six minutes to start time, got my bib, pinned it on and started my running aps. Then we were all called outside. This race was more and less intimidating as the Frosty's Hustle at the same time. There were only about 30 people there, tops. MUCH less than the last race. It was three degrees out, and there was 2-3" of fresh snowfall too so I am guessing that explains the small turnout.
As we took off, I realized that despite my carb loading and other prep for this race, it was going to be a hard one. I haven't replaced my broken YakTrax, and traction was a huge issue today. The bike paths were not plowed, so we all had to run in the road. The fresh snow was just enough to make sure I couldn't anticipate many of the ice patches. I followed the lead of a lot of the other runners and ran in the traffic lane to try and avoid the ice but as we got farther along in the race I found myself trailing many runners, and close to a block ahead of the others. My own little no man's land. At about a half mile in I thought I saw the woman that helped me set my pace at the last race. She was about half a block ahead of me and I thought to myself, "either she's having an amazing race, or I am really slow compared to last time." As I was contemplating my pace, I got passed by two runners. Normally, I'm fine being passed, but for some reason I seemed to think I needed to be ahead of them. We were going uphill and today's course was similar to the last one, but backwards so I knew there was a large downhill just before the finish. I told myself I'd catch them at the hill. Ha!
I didn't bring two pairs of headphones and opted for music over running updates each mile. I have read that it's good to leave the tech gadgets at home every now and then to learn to listen to your body more than the gadget. I think there's something to that, as I really felt like I was running a comfortable pace for my body today. I was frustrated with myself because I felt like I wasn't pushing myself as much as I did last race. I certainly had an easier time with the pace I was at, and felt like I was no where near reaching my new goal of 30 minutes. Whomever made the image above certainly never ran on ice! My view was similar to the top picture, but much more white with the fresh snow.
As I neared the finish line, I increased my pace and figured I would finish around 32-33 minutes. Not horrible, but not as good as my previous race and definitely not closer to my goal. A slow song came on about half a block from the finish so I paused my iPod to focus on increasing my pace. They have volunteers at the finish that count out where each runner is when they pass through the finish line. He starts when the runner is a few feet away by announcing the minutes and counting the seconds until the runner passes. I was shocked to hear "Thirty minutes, 41, 42, 43, 44." As I passed through the cones. That's a MINUTE off my time from Frosty's! I was so excited, I forgot to stop my aps, lol. I puffed as another volunteer ripped off the bottom of my bib to help them with the final finishing stats, and then turned off my aps as I went inside for a bottle of water.
While driving home, I reflected on my race and realized that it's a minute off my time, but they also shortened the route to be more reflective of a 5K. Today's race was 3.14, not 3.23. Hum...I checked my pace: 9:48. So technically, I beat my previous pace by one second per mile. However, I am optimistic because my pace was very close to the last race, but it didn't feel as hard as the last time I ran that pace. I have six weeks until the next race in the series and I am hoping some of the ice will go away and the temps will be more conductive to doing some speed work. Perhaps the next race will be the one when I meet my first goal of 2013.