In 2017, there existed a young (well, maybe middle-aged) woman with stars in her eyes, eager to approach the new year with dreams of breaking 20 minutes in the 5K. With hope in her heart and speed in her legs, she eagerly anticipated the first day of 2018 when she would say "goodbye 20:17"-- both the year, and her 5K PR.
She would pace it perfectly. The first mile (uphill) would clock in at precisely 6:37, and from there, she would cruise downhill for the rest of the race at a pace of 6:20. Completely feasible for someone who just ran a 6:44 pace for a 3-mile tempo, and didn't even push that hard to do it. And definitely possible for someone who just ran 5 miles on a track at an average pace of 6:54, feeling like she could have run harder. She was primed for 5K excellence! While it wouldn't be easy, this
middle-aged young woman was determined to give the race absolutely everything she had, glide across the finish line in 19:59, and then bake herself a PR cake.
|Me and the finisher's blanket!|
But suddenly, the young woman looked down and read the name on her bib. This bib did not belong to her! The volunteers had handed Prince Charming the wrong bibs. So the loving husband went back out in the sub-freezing cold and wind to retrieve the correct bibs.
Once everything was in order, it was time to warm up. They ventured out into the 11-degree weather, the young woman wearing an extra jacket over her race attire. They warmed up on the course, which they had scouted out the day before, just to get the lay of the land. After all, when every second counts, it's critical to know where the tangents are and get a sense of the elevation profile. The young woman had been warned by her coach, with whom she had shared the elevation profile, that this wasn't necessarily a PR course. And perhaps she could find another 5K later in the winter that had a flatter profile. But the young woman was still determined to go for it on this New Year's Day, in the cold, wind, and hills.
The 11-degree temperature wasn't so bad when running in the sunlight with the wind at their backs. But the young woman and her husband had a rude awakening during the warm up to discover that the first half mile of the course was shaded, into a headwind, and up a sizable hill.
And finally. . . it was time to start the actual race. Telling herself that she could endure anything for 20 minutes, the young woman approached the start line with all the confidence in the world. Here is her race report:
It wasn't a surprise that the first mile was uphill, into a headwind, with a "feels like" 1 degree temperature in the shade. I intended to run up the hill at a strong effort, but without killing myself completely. I didn't look at my Garmin as I climbed the hill, which was only about 1/3 of a mile long. But it was relatively steep. By the time I reached the top of the hill, I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me (literally) and I welcomed the downhill tailwind portion that ensued.
I glanced at the Garmin and up until that point, I had run a pace of 6:55. Not exactly what I wanted, but the mile wasn't over and so if I kept pushing, I could still make up enough time to bring that down. My Garmin beeped but I didn't hear it because the Forerunner 630 is much quieter than the 220 I am used to. And I didn't feel the pulse on my arm because the Garmin was over two layers of clothing. Afterwards, I learned that I ran the first mile in 6:52.
Speaking of wardrobe, here's what I wore, from bottom top top:
- Mizuno Wave Sayonara shoes
- Smart Wool socks
- CW-X Insulator compression tights
- Moving comfort underwear
- Sports Bra
- Compression arm sleeves
- Mizuno mid-weight half zip top
- "Little Hotties" hand warmers between the gloves and mittens
- Ear warmers
|Post race: Trying to get my hands un-numb|
- This was a good VO2 Max workout for the upcoming Houston Half marathon
- It was fun to see my running friends including Cheryl, Cristina, and Rochelle
- I did push really hard, and I know that I couldn't have run any faster, except for maybe the last 1/4 mile
- I won first place in my age group and was the 4th overall female finisher
- Greg ran a 20:18, which is a super cool way to start 2018
- I tried to be smart with my approach by scouting out the course the day before and having a pacing strategy
- I lost my mental toughness with about 1/4 mile to go, running a 6:57 pace to the finish line
- I ran much slower than I expected to-- this is one of my slowest 5Ks in the past year
- My official race time was 21:13 (6:50 pace) even though my Garmin pace was 6:40.
- I tapered for this race which meant I lost the opportunity to do a long run prior to the Houston half in two weeks
- The weather is going to be even colder than this for the next 5 days, which means I will have to either train on a treadmill (not fun) or be ridiculously uncomfortable while running (also not fun)
- No photos for the blog or Instagram- photos don't happen when it's a "real feel" of 1 degree.