|Danielle, Jess, Anthony, Me, Gary|
Last night I raced the Lager 5k. I think this race is the fastest course in NJ. I would love to see a Lager Run in cooler weather, because although the course is fast, the summer weather always makes it tough. However, this year I don't think it was too bad.
I met Gary D. before the race to warm up and catch up. It was nice to run some miles with Gary, who has been someone who inspired me to change my nutrition and clean things up. Gary has done fantastic work getting leaner and faster. I look forward to seeing how his Fall Season turns out.
I was excited about the Lager Run. My last 5k was in Brick on a slightly slower course. I have reduced some body fat since that race. I was hopeful that I would be able to run faster, but I was just not sure how much faster.
My 5k PR is 19:54, set a few years ago. I ran that in the winter when I was in fantastic shape after a great Fall. I have never been the best 5k runner but sub-20 makes me happy. Competitive ladies in NJ recreational road racing are winning larger local 5k in the 16's minutes. This race had 1157 runners, making it one of the largest 5k races in NJ.
Right now, I am happy to just try to be competitive with myself. After last year's back pain, I was sure all my Lifetime PR's were behind me. I spent a year working on Acceptance. I was hard to be fit enough to try to slow the decline. (Degenerative Disc Disease is painful).
However, after making a lot of changes (but nutrition was the most helpful)... I was pleasantly surprised when I ran a 20:00 flat at the Brick 5k on June 5th. That was the 3rd fastest 5k of my life. That was at our check in race at the start of marathon training. Not a bad place to start!
Since my marathon training had just started, I have only hit the track for two speed sessions with Kim. We also completed just two significantly challenging hill workouts and one good fast-finish long run so far. I did go to Utah for a race, covering 51.5 miles going up to 9500ft last Friday. I was feeling recovered enough and ready to try to run a little faster than my last 5k race.
Gun Goes Off:
I am on the starting line with Jess and Paul and we are discussing sub-5k pacing. I am ready to go for it. I am nervous about my back. I am nervous about going out too fast. I am nervous about being disappointed if, after all the brownies I have given up, the race does not go well.
I start running and I feel fantastic! I feel light on my feet and my breathing feels good. My back feels great! I know the first mile is fast and I want aim for a 6:12. I watch my pace, but when I see the 1M clock ahead, from a distance it reads 6:05 and I am worried I have already started too fast. However, looking at my splits now, I see that my M1 was 6:12!
I know mile 2 has some incline. I watched a course preview with an elevation chart and it seemed like there was two uphills to deal with before the course elevation dropped and headed to the finish line. Last year, I remembered just one hill that seemed steep and somewhat long. This was not what I seemed to be running on, so I assumed there was one more hill to tackle around the next turn. I was careful to run steady, but not get over my head. I wanted to have some power to crest that hill I thought was coming.
We turn the corner and there is no hill. The course starts to descend. I look at my watch and we are already at 1.7 miles... that's it. The hills is over. In consideration of the intensely steep hill Kim and I train on, this hill seemed almost non-existent to me this year. The incline was there, but I just remembered it being much steeper last year. It is funny how hill training really can help put terrain into perspective. My only regret (if I can even call it that) is that I wish I had pushed harder on that up, but I don't really feel it would have helped me much since my last mile was very very hard regardless. M2 6:29
Last year, I remembered feeling like I could pick up the pace after cresting the hill, but this year I struggled. I was running as fast as I could. My mouth was so dry. I must have missed all the water stations, if there were any out there. There was a small boy with a garden hose and I yelled 'Hit Me" and he sprayed me down. That helped.
I had no real leg lift. Breathing was hard. I was not getting slower, but I had hoped to get faster and I just could not do it. However, I am still thrilled with this run. I found my redline and I held it the whole way!
As we hit the final turn towards the track, a guy on the sideline yelled out "Strong Core!" to me. I am not sure if he was giving me instructions to use my core more or paying me a compliment... I decided that since I have a choice, I would take it as a compliment and I thought "Yes, Yes I do have a strong core! Thank you very much!" ;)
I glanced at my watch and it said 18:47. I new I was track for a PR since I never see an 18 on the watch that late in a race. I knew if I hit the 3 Mile mark in 19:15, I was going to break 20. I knew the 3 Mile clock was coming up soon.
I hear Randy M. yell out "500 meters to go! Start your kick!" I think to myself, "Oh man, 500 meters is far!"
But I follow Randys instruction. I start my kick and try to open it up on the track.
I can see the 3M clock. But I am digging so deep at this point I can't even see the numbers clearly. It says 19:xx but I don't make out the rest. I just know I need to run as fast as I can and I push hard. 3M 6:27
I catch up to a man who says something to me as we round the turn. I just grunt at him. I can't speak. I can't think. I can't see. I can't hear. Everything is just a blur. Last .13 in 0:40 (5:24 pace! speed work is paying off already).
I look at my watch and I can't believe it. Finally a new 5k PR after a year of suffering with chronic debilitating back pain. I made some changes. I built a plan and I stuck to it. I made a commitment to myself. I worked hard to get well. I am healthier and fitter now than ever. It is paying off! Bring on the races!
Time: 19:47 (new lifetime PR)
OA place: 70 out of 1157
Gender place: 8th of out 556 women
Age Group: 2nd