I ran the Renton Parkrun this morning and ran a post-college PR by about 25 seconds. I’m delighted to dip under 22 minutes, and I’m obviously happy with a new PR. The conditions were close to ideal, and the course was quite flat. I’d tapered a bit this week, per my half marathon schedule, and so I was feeling fresh.
I showed up about 40 minutes early, and straightaway I ran into one of the race directors. She was quite friendly and came bearing cakes. I helped her carry the cakes in, and then I did a 2 mile warmup. This put me at about 8:45, with the race start at 9 am. It was in the low 30s, and I’d been wearing quite a few layers to warmup, so I jogged back to my car and stripped down to what I was planning in racing in – capri tights, long-sleeve half-zip top, and an ear-warmer headband. Surprisingly, I didn’t really feel cold, so I guess I was well warmed up. I jogged back to the start with ten minutes to spare, and I ended up standing around in the frigid cold for about 15 minutes (as it started a few minutes late), which wasn’t ideal. Next time, I’ll cut it a little closer.
Finally, the race started. I found myself behind a wall of joggers on a narrow path, and it took me a little weaving through the first 100m to get around them. After that, it was a nearly clear road ahead of me. There were two women in front of me, and I picked them both off. The first was obviously running slower than me, but I was a little nervous about passing the second so early. She slowed quite a bit, though, in the end, as the next women who finished after me was about 4 minutes behind.
I haven’t run a 5K in ages, and I couldn’t believe how long the first mile seemed to last. When my watch finally beeped I was thinking perhaps that I was at 2 miles, and that I’d missed the first mile. No such luck! My first split was 7:00. I stuck with the pace through the second mile. My second split was 6:55, and though I was feeling lousy, I think the fact I was able to run such even splits indicates that all the long runs I’ve been doing have improved my endurance. The turnaround was at 2.25 miles and seemed ages in coming. When I finally hit it, knowing I had less than a mile to go was a huge mental boost.
I tried hard to stick with the pace for the third mile, and even though I felt like I was working harder, my split was 7:03, so I guess I slowed a little. I’d passed one of the guys in front of me at about 2.75 miles, and he blew by me with about a tenth of a mile to go. He was going way to fast for me to keep up with, but I gave chase anyway in hopes that it’d help my time, and I did run the last 0.1 at 6:36 per mile. My watch didn’t get good heartrate data, so I have no basis for comparison there.
My time was 21:45, or 7:01 per mile. Oh, I really want to dip under 7 mpm! So close, yet so far.
I left quickly as H wanted to go skiing with a friend, and I needed to get back to watch the kids. It’s about four hours later, now, and I feel pretty good. Now, I’m going to take the kids ice skating. I’m sure it’ll be a blast and will go swimmingly, given that L hates to fall above all else. She is quite insistent that we go, though, so we’ll give it a try.
Now, of course, I just want to go faster! There are really four options:
1.) Stick with my higher mileage and hope that over time it’ll make me faster
2.) Add still more miles
3.) Add speed work. I really haven’t done any dedicated speed work, and I do think I could improve a bit by doing this.
4.) Lose weight. 1 pound = 2-3 seconds per mile. My body likes to be at my current weight, but even losing 5 pounds could make a difference.
The next obvious goal is sub-21:30. I am confident that it’s achievable, despite my age. I just have to work for it.