Backing up to yesterday. I ran 6 miles with my last 2 at tempo pace of around 7:30 pace. This was my first run post-Norovirus and I felt it. My stomach felt awful and I had no energy. My plan was to run long. About 4 miles into my run, I decided a long run was not going to happen, so I picked up my pace to try and finish out strong. I felt terrible when I was done. The rest of the day I was tired and my stomach was not happy. My 5k was looking like it may not happen, but I took it easy last night. I ate oatmeal for dinner and went to bed early. I had hope that I would at the very least run the race.
I woke up this morning with a headache, but my stomach felt pretty good. I ate a bagel for breakfast and waited to see how I felt. The race had a noon start time, which really helped. I got ready for my race and headed to Lowell.
I met up with Janine and Steph before the race. I love running races with friends and today was no exception. Having someone to talk to really eases the nerves and made me forget that I might not feel the greatest.
I only warmed up for 1/2 a mile. I usually like to run 1-2 miles before a 5k, but I didn't want to risk an upset stomach so really took it easy. It was about 29 degrees and sunny, so perfect running conditions. We lined up pretty close to the front of the pack which was a good thing as the race had about 3 times as many people running as last time. They announced the start pretty quickly and we were off.
The first quarter mile was quite a bit of weaving as usual. My goal today was to run strong and hope that I could hold on for a sub-21:30. (This isn't a PR, but I wanted a strong race, not a PR today) Within the first quarter of a mile I got passed by a woman pushing a jogging stroller. I looked down at my Garmin and saw 6:25 pace. Wow, that lady was cruising! I settled into a 6:40 pace. I knew that I probably wouldn't sustain this pace for the whole race, but I felt pretty good so went with it. At the end of mile 1, there is a small hill and I passed Stroller Mama. I have to point out, she didn't finish too far behind me, love it! I passed quite a few people on the hill but knew my time was going to expire soon. Mile 1 clocked in at 6:40. Wow, so happy to see a sub-7 minute mile.
Mile 2, is when the energy started draining quickly. The first half of the mile, I was still passing people, but I was really tired. At about mile 1.5 you turn to head back and I was still holding onto my sub-7 minute pace. I wasn't going as fast as my previous 6:40 pace, but I knew if I held strong I could manage my 21:30. I hit mile 2 in 6:46. Woo, love it again!
Mile 3....oh how I hate thee. When I ran my 5k in December, I remember hurting worse than I did today. But today, I was not feeling it. I wanted to push stronger to stay under 7 and I couldn't do it. My legs were slowing down even though my brain was trying to tell them to go faster. I started to get passed, but I was still passing people. I guess I wasn't alone. I hit mile 3 and saw 7:08. Sigh. Outside my goal, now I wasn't sure if I would hit my goal.
Just before mile 3, you turn the corner toward the finish line and hit an incline. Yuck, I hate this. It isn't a hill, but when you run hard, it still hurts. Once I hit mile 3, I picked up the pace a bit. Once I saw the clock, I picked it up even more. The clock hadn't clicked over to 21 yet! I finished the last 0.1 miles at a 6:01 pace and finished the race with a time of just under 21:15 for an overall pace of 6:50. 15 seconds below my goal time and less than 20 seconds slower than my PR! Success!
So I didn't PR today, but I am beyond happy. A year ago, I couldn't imagine running sub-7 mile pace for an entire 5k, and I did today after being sicker than I have been in years for an entire week. I know my sub-20 minute 5k is in me. I would love to try for it sooner than later, but I have a slightly more important race that I need to resume training for tomorrow. And, yes, I am back to training tomorrow. AGAIN. Bring on the miles.