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Big Red Shoes 5K and Salutation Nation

It’s a beautiful Saturday in Charlotte. The sun is shining and I’m having a great day full of my favorite things – running, yoga, Starbucks, farmers market, cooking and Georgia football.

I set a new 5K PR (which admittedly was not difficult given that it was only my second 5K ever). I ran my first 5K (also my first road race ever) when I was 19 and finished in 29:35. Today was a bit of an improvement. Here’s how it went down.

Friday night carb load. The fact that it’s not necessary to carb load for a 5K is beside the point, it was a great excuse to eat pasta and bread…and drink wine! We bailed on the Greek festival in favor of a quiet night at home. I made a baked pasta with marinara, fresh mozz and basil. Salad on the side.

Pre-race tradition, no matter the distance. Toast with almond butter, honey, banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon with black coffee to wash it down.

The Big Red Shoes 5K was a really small race (only 150ish runners) but in my favorite running neighborhood in town. The race benefited the Ronald McDonald House which is one of my favorite non-profits. I actually used to serve on the junior board of RMH when we lived in Birmingham.

I arrived at the race a few minutes early so that I could get a quick jog in to get my legs warmed up. I knew there was no way that I could go from zero to “balls to the wall” without a warm-up. I did an easy mile at around a 9-minute pace.

My stretch goal was sub-24:00 but I had no idea if it was even remotely possible. We lined up at the start and I pretty much took off in a sprint. I decided to throw pacing myself out of the window and run as fast and hard as I could for as long as possible. 5Ks are a different animal than longer distances because they’re so short. It’s hard to know how much to save in the tank.

Mile 1 – 7:07. Surprisingly easy but I thought there was no way I could sustain that.

Mile 2 – 7:27. Flew past the water stop without even thinking about taking a break. Still feeling good. Focusing on controlling my breath.

Mile 3 – 7:44. Steady up hill for the first half of the mile. This is where things got very mentally tough and I wondered why oh why I ate a big breakfast right before sprinting a 5K but I just kept pushing and tried not to let my pace get above 8:00.

Last .1 – 0:24. Sprint. Sprint. Sprint. Die.

FINAL TIME: 22:44. Where did that come from!!!??? I was thrilled. 18th overall, 8th in my age group.

Post-race photo opp with Lululemon friends Lauren and Helen who also ran the race.

The best part about the race was that the Lululemon Salutation Nation was immediately after. My legs where in serious need of a good stretch.

It was an amazing day for an outdoor practice. I loved being a part of the nationwide neverending om! It was really cool to think that yogis in cities all over the country were practicing at the same time!

After practice I hit Starbucks, the farmers market and grocery and then came home and made this lunch. Egg scramble with two eggs, sauteed squash, sundried tomatoes, spinach, smoked gouda and basil over a sliced heirloom tomato with a NC mountain apple.

We’re having friends over for the UGA/USC game so I’m off to finish cleaning and cooking. Happy Saturday!

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Holly @ Pink Runner September 10, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Fantastic time!! I’ve only done two 5ks and I tend to avoid them because it is so tough pushing yourself as hard as you can go for 3 miles. I’d rather run a half marathon when I can go a bit slower! Yoga after the race must have felt amazinggg!

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:13 pm

      thanks holly! i agree – halfs are the best!

  • Kamaile September 10, 2011, 4:14 pm

    PR & You did great! Enjoy your weekend.

  • Fit Chick Britt September 10, 2011, 5:51 pm

    Dang that’s fast! My 5k PR is right around there and I can’t find a way to beat it anymore. Running must be so much more competitive there because that time would sure win you something in your age group here in the Houston area. I’m bummed I missed the Lululemon yoga this morning. Looked like a great time.

    P.S. My hubby and I are making beer brats and watching the Bulldogs game- that’s what made me think I hadn’t stopped by your blog in a few days 🙂

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:13 pm

      britt – i know, i feel like there is NO WAY that i could run a 5K faster than this one.

      go dawgs! sad we lost! 🙁

  • Cristina September 10, 2011, 5:54 pm

    First of all, you look amazing!! And 2nd, congrats on the awesome race. I can’t believe you only placed 8th in your age group, there must have been some quick girls in that field!

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:12 pm

      thank you so much cristina! i know, i couldn’t believe that i was 8th in my age group given that there were only 150 runners. crazy fast girls!

  • wandjbodie.blogspot.com September 10, 2011, 7:14 pm

    You look A-MAZING!! I did the Salutation Nation here in Atlanta… enjoy the rest of you weekend!

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:11 pm

      thank you, thank you! so fun to hear someone else that participated in salutation nation. hope it was fabulous!

  • Megan@eatmybeets September 10, 2011, 8:20 pm

    What an awesome time! I can’t imagine running at that pace! Your food looks delicious. Man, I want to run a race now.

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:11 pm

      thanks megan! it felt so good to run a race after not running one for NINE months!

  • Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement September 11, 2011, 5:31 am

    Great time! Congrats! 5K’s scare me for same reason. How do you pace for that distance? It all seems to be over by the time you get into your groove.

    I am totally part of that mindset that carbo-loading is required for any race, any distance. If I am going to be running, its a great excuse to eat carbs.

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:10 pm

      thanks sierra! i know, it’s pretty much impossible to pace for a 5K…you just have to full out sprint until you just can’t anymore…which doesn’t feel great all the time!

      and yes to carbs! 🙂

  • Alaina September 11, 2011, 9:34 am

    Whoa! That is an amazing time!!! Congratulations on such a great race!!!

    Your day does look pretty perfect. And the perfect weather to boot. 🙂

  • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:09 am

    Great job speedy! I’m so happy for you 🙂 I also set a 5k PR yesterday which wasn’t too hard since my only 5ks have been during pregnancy.

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:09 pm

      yay for new prs! i am always hesitant to run 5Ks because 1) i kill myself and 2) it’s expensive to pay $25 to run 3 miles!

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad September 11, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Jen, that is awesome! Congrats on a super speedy 5K and new PR!

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:08 pm

      thank you kristy and SO MUCH congrats to you too. i am so very excited for you!

  • Caroline September 11, 2011, 6:01 pm

    First of all….congrats! SEcondly, you should be reminded of the post you wrote a few weeks ago “Born to Run”. If your performance in that 5k is not a testament to your amazing running ability, then I don’t know what is!!! Everyone gets injured…we have good days and bad days. But if you enjoy running (and better yet, are really good at it) you are most definitely a RUNNER!!

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:07 pm

      caroline – thank you so much for your comment. it really meant a lot to me. days like saturday definitely make me feel like the runner that i want to be.

  • JennyV September 11, 2011, 9:08 pm

    Congrats and happy to know your hamstring was behaving for you!

    • Jen September 11, 2011, 10:06 pm

      thanks! it felt great! 🙂

  • Claire September 12, 2011, 10:28 am

    A.) Congrats on the 5k time! I did Rock N Read again this year on Saturday and mine was 30:40. 10 minute miles,eek but shaved 7 minutes off last years time so that makes me happy 🙂 It’s all about getting better and practicing right? Still don’t think I will ever do a 5k in 24.

    B.)love a good egg scramble!

    C.)Hope you are doing well!! 🙂

  • Claire September 12, 2011, 10:29 am

    PS. totally saw Jen from RTrials running in at the finish with her pregnant belly! So happy for her!

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