Earlier this week I got a little race registration happy and decided to sign-up for a local 5K just for ‘fun’. I seriously just wanted to break 21:00 and get a solid speed workout in. I love to run, that’s no secret, but it is really challenging for me to do speed workouts on a weekly basis. It scares me, I know it’s going to hurt, and it is hard to push yourself when you are out by your lonesome. I was dedicated to speed work while training for Boston and NYC but with this spring being all about fun and not PR’s, I’ve only done two speed workouts. I completed one tempo style run and another 800 meter repeat workout so far this spring. This time last year I was logging 800 meter repeats or mile repeats weekly so I seriously didn’t think sub 20:00 would even be within reach.
The race started and finished in front of COSI. I usually like to get to races a bit early, but with traffic and a nightmare of a parking lot that took FOR-EV-ER to enter, I got to the race about an hour before the gun went off. This made me a little uncomfortable because I had to book it to pick up my registration packet, hit the restrooms, do my 3 mile warm-up and still have time to stretch and pee again. I somehow managed to accomplish all of that and made it to the start line with 5 minutes to go. My secret to success? Forgo the restrooms and porta-pots and find a seedy alley to pop a squat it.
When the gun went off, I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other and pushing myself. When I came through the first mile I looked down my watch and saw 6:10 on the screen. I honestly didn’t believe my eyes and shrugged and kept running.
The course had some surprising hills that I wasn’t expecting specifically during mile 2 and 3. Historically I suck it up reaaaaal bad in the second mile. I looked down at my watch rolling through mile 2 and saw a 6:46. Now that I believed.
I gave myself a pep talk like I always do after mile 2 and said I could indeed break 21:00 if I just held onto this pace. There was an unforgiving hill half-way through mile 3 but I just put my head down and kept pushing on. My reasoning? I just paid money to do a speed workout, I might as well give it all I had in the final mile and make it worthwhile and get my money’s worth.
I came to a fork in the course – 5K runners to the left, 10 K runners to the right. I was so relieved I chose to do the 5K that day and just kept chugging along and then I was surprised to see the finish line SO close. I gave one final kick and when I crossed the finish line and looked down at my watch and saw 19:47 flash back at me, I was in disbelief.
Did I seriously just tie my current 5K PR?
Then in my mind the excitement began to quickly increase. If it was socially acceptable I would have totally started screaming 19:47! 19:47! 19:47! In the same manner that Data from The Goonies screamed when he found the 50 dollar bills…While simultaenously fist-pumping…No idea what I’m referring to? Click on the video below to be caught up to speed on this 80’s classic.
According to the official results I rolled through the finish in 19:48, ONE second from my best 5K race to date. I have no explanation. I feel like this is completely insane. But I’m going to take this huge confidence boost and hold onto it really tight moving forward. To make it even crazier, I placed 3rd overall for females, 1st in my age group and 14th out of 477 total racers.I seriously can’t wipe the smile off my face!
I guess there’s a lot to be said for aiming to have ‘fun’!
Have you ever surprised yourself by an unexpected performance?