president’s day 5k

My goal for this race was to run under 24 minutes. Training over the last month hasn’t been great thanks to food poisoning, a really nasty cold, Isla being sick, and general laziness and lack of motivation on my part. Nevertheless, I thought I could drop my time to under 24. My last was race 24:45, but that was several months ago.

The weather was mid 40s, windy and overcast – overall, not bad. I wore capri tights, a T-shirt, gloves and a headband (over my ears). I was freezing when I got there and registered, but fortunately, parking is fantastic at this race, and I was able to go and huddle in my car until 5 minutes before the start.

We all lined up eventually and they started the race. The race is not chip-timed, but I was near the start line and only lost a few seconds at the beginning. I started out quite aggressively, figuring I might as well go for it. In retrospect, I probably should have gone a bit slower. As a result of the fast pace initially, I really wasn’t feeling too hot from the get-go. By now, though, I’ve run this course three times, and knowing the course really helps. The biggest hill is in the first mile, and I knew we wouldn’t have any significant hills after that. (It’s actually not a big hill at all.) I was relieved to pass the first mile marker. On one hand, I knew that I was maintaining quite a good pace. On the other hand, I felt quite bad already. Nevertheless, I hung in there. I told myself that a good 5K time is all about maintaining pace through the second mile. I also chastised myself at this point for not being more dedicated about training.

I zoned out a little during the second mile and slowed down unintentionally. Once I noticed that, i started focusing on reeling in the people in front of me. I caught a few people and finally passed a couple that was running side by side and semi-blocking the course. It was about halfway through the second mile that I started feeling really bad. My back started hurting severely first. Pregnancy and nursing has been really hard on my back, but who knows if that was a factor. Anyway, it was sufficiently bad that I thought about stopping to stretch, but I decided that was unlikely to help and that I might as well gut it out. I reminded myself that I’m going back to work and unlikely to be doing much racing in the coming months, so it’s now or never. I was forced to slow down, though, and several of the people I’d passed earlier passed me at this point. A little after my back started hurting, I also developed a nasty side stitch. This I attribute to the fact that I ran out of Weetabix and had eggs and toast for breakfast. Bad choice!

What is a 5K race report but a litany of aches and pains, right?

Anyway, getting to the second mile marker was a major mental lift. I more or less knew how the course would go from this point on, and I focused on just maintaining my pace until we reached the water. I was still going more slowly than I had earlier. Once the course hits the water, it’s a straight shot along Lake Washington to the finish line. I also focused on sticking with the people in front of me. There was a woman running in front of me at about the same pace as me. I figured she must be hurting as well and focused on not letting her get away.

Somewhere around the time we got to the water, I stopped noticing my back and side. It helped that there was a tailwind at this stage as well. At this point, there’s about 0.25 miles left. I focused on picking up the pace, hoping it was enough to go under 24:00. I picked off the couple I’d passed earlier, and who had passed me back. I didn’t exactly sprint it in, but I ran in at a pretty reasonable clip. I felt truly awful for a few minutes afterwards, so i guess I gave it my best effort on the day at least.

Overall, I’m pleased with the run. I’m really glad I was able to post a sub-24 time before going back to work.