So I somehow totally forgot over the last few weeks that I was registered to run a 5k today, and thus did absolutely zero speed work until the 1 pre-race stride that I took on the starting line this morning. Oops…
The race actually went spectacularly well considering the circumstances (sleep deprived & under-trained). I rode the bus over to the park where the race was being held and then jogged around for a mile or so to get my legs at least somewhat warmed up. Did a couple drills but nothing major, as I haven’t been doing drills in practice at all and didn’t want to wear myself/strain a muscle 😛 I meandered over to the starting line and tried to figure out where to line up – this is always so tricky with community events where no one’s got a seed time or a hip number. College racing seriously spoiled me ha ha. I ended up just getting right on the line, as the race was pretty small and no one looked too serious about taking it out fast.
The air horn honked and we were off! I went out relatively easy (although I had to briefly suppress my old college days instinct to take it out at 5:40 pace…that would have absolutely killed me today) and stuck in with a small lead pack. It spread out pretty quickly on the first hill and it was rapidly evident that my main competition would be the two ladies a few yards ahead of me. There were 4 fairly large hills on the course – 2 per loop of the paved park path. I caught one woman ahead of on the 2nd hill and we worked together until I started pushing the pace a bit on the 3rd hill (with about a mile to go). I felt pretty good the first lap and decided to see what I could do the second lap. Coming up the last hill I started to worry that my breathing would get out of control, but I was able to relax and stride out at the top to regain my rhythm for the final kilometer. I pushed the final downhill, turned the corner, and enjoyed a stride into the finish with 3rd place a good 10-20 seconds back.
I never did get even close to catching first place, but I felt like I had really pushed it at the end so I was really pleased 🙂 I finished in 20:36 – I had really wanted to break 21 so this was perfect. For ~18 mile weeks and zero speed work being able to hit so close to some of my best high school XC times was pretty freaking awesome!
Perfect weather, sub-21, won some socks, and got a free race entry to a 5k with GIRL SCOUT COOKIES as a prize. What more could a gal ask for?