Believe it or not I just raced my first 5k last Sunday. Over the last 5 years I’ve ran multiple races… 15k’s, half marathons, and full marathons, but only one 10k and until a few days ago I’d never raced a 5k.
5k’s never appealed to me. I think mostly because I thought if I was going to pay for a race, and wake up at an obscene hour and go thru the hassle of getting to the race, I was going to run a distance that made it worth it, not a measly 3.1 miles.
Well, what the heck did I know! That was the old me. The new me is not just a steady long distance runner. I’m working on improving my pace and getting faster, and shorter distance races are defitinly going to be a part of that process.
The 5k race I ran was part of the the Arizona Road Racers Summer Series. I loved that the race was smaller in size, about 500 people registered. I was probably just as nervous for this race as I have been for a full marathon. Running fast does not come easy to me, and the thought of having to push the pace for 3 straight miles scared me death. My stomach was in knots the morning of the race. I did a 2 mile warmup on the course which was so helpful. I had never run in this area before so running a portion of the course gave me an idea of what to expect. After warming-up, stretching, and a little bit of standing around, it was time to start the race. I was ready to get running. My coach told me to start out slower and finish strong. It’s easy in 5k’s to take off at a crazy pace in the beginning and then crash, which is not what I wanted to happen. It was hard to hold back in the beginning, I felt like I may have started out a little too fast. When I looked at my watch at about the half mile mark the pace was reading 7:05, so I backed off a little bit because I knew I had some hills to manage a head. The hills were tough and my pace dropped to around 7:50, but I regained speed on the down hill, and ended up finishing strong the last mile. The last half mile was probably the hardest. I couldn’t push it anymore and it was a struggle just to hang on and not stop. The race seemed so quick compared to what I am used to ruuning but the effort level is so much harder. I felt on the verge of puking the last half mile, and was just praying to keep it together until the finish line. However, 5 minutes after the race I felt great, and I definitely loved that recovery after a 5K is much quicker than a longer distance race!
My official time was 23:36, I was really hoping to be in the 22’s but considering the temperature was in the 90’s and the course was hilly. I am happy with my time, after all it is a PR;)