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Sprint to the Finish

I have a love/hate relationship with 5Ks. Running 3.1 miles seems easy enough but I just can’t run them without going into total race mode and basically taking off in a full of sprint like a bat out of hell.

I ran the Dowd Y “Rocktoberfest” 5K this morning. The Dowd Y Half Marathon & 5K is one of my very favorite races in Charlotte. I wish I could have run the half (I love the course!) but it just wasn’t in the cards for me today.

It’s a smaller race so I was able to head out of my house around 7:30 for the 8 a.m. start. I parked about a half a mile away and jogged to the start. I must do a warm up jog before 5Ks. I cannot go from completely cold to sprint. That just does not feel good.

I joined the crowd at the starting line (and asked a random stranger to take a picture of me). It was 40 degrees this morning so I was pretty bundled up. Honestly, I could have gone with less clothing but it was fine for the short duration of the race. I quickly made a playlist of “pump me up” songs and then it was time to go!

I literally took off in a full out sprint, darting around people. Mile one was done in no time in 6:53. Mile 2 was not as kind. The cold air was burning my lungs and my heart was pounding. Once I passed the marker signaling the end of mile 2, I kicked back into go mode and before I knew it the finish was ahead.

I finished in 22:58…and won my age group!!! It was not a PR (my current 5K PR is 22:40) but it was a great race! Although I did have to take a little breather at the finish to collect myself. This distance is intense.

I took a little recovery jog back to my car and then booked it over to Y2 for the 9:15 hot vinyasa.

Yoga felt so good after the run. It undid all the tightness in my hips and hamstrings. Bliss.

I was so ready for lunch when I got home from yoga and running errands. Leftovers from last night’s dinner were calling my name. We tried a Vietnamese restaurant that’s close to our house and we’d heard great things about. Must share this meal with you.

We started with Vietnamese beers.

And spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce. These were so light and fresh.

We both ordered pho for our main course. I went with the vegetarian pho that featured tofu and fresh veggies. Brandon ordered a pork and meatball pho and admitted that he was jealous of mine! He actually loves veggie noodle bowls.

I loved the plate of accompaniments they brought out so that you could customize your pho to your taste. We’ll definitely be going back!

5Ks…love ’em or hate ’em?

Vietnamese food…love it, hate it or never tried it?

{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Matt @ The Athlete's Plate October 22, 2011, 9:45 pm

    5k’s are OK. I prefer something a little longer like a 15k or half though 😉

  • Sana October 22, 2011, 10:07 pm

    Hahaha, maybe if I ran faster 5k’s would not seem so long for me.

  • Nicole October 22, 2011, 10:23 pm

    Congrats on winning your age group! That is awesome.

  • Katie October 22, 2011, 10:35 pm

    Wow! You rocked that 5K!!! I ran a 5k today and had a PR of 28.50….. you put me to shame girl!! Way to go – you are an inspiration!!

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:36 pm

      katie – thank you and congratulations on your own PR!

  • claire October 22, 2011, 11:19 pm

    Nice job on the 5k!! I have been meaning to race a 5k since I started to run more seriously a few years ago, and I just can’t seem to get myself to do one! I’m much more of a distance runner, my strength is not speed, but 5k’s are so useful in training and I do need to get myself a 5k PR that isn’t embarrassing (the only 5k I’ve done in recent memory was when I was totally out of shape and hadn’t been running regularly for years). The nice thing though is that they are short, so the pain doesn’t last for too long!

    I LOVE Vietnamese food – I was in Vietnam for two weeks in May and the food there was unbelievable, so fresh and flavorful and plenty of healthy options too.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:38 pm

      exactly – it’s only 20-some minutes of pain! i have to admit that i was mouthing choice words after i crossed the finish of the last one! 🙂

      eating vietnamese food in vietnam sounds amazing. and what an incredible trip!

  • melissa October 23, 2011, 12:01 am

    I don’t hate a 5K, but don’t love them either. Prefer a longer distance as you probably do. Would like to get faster at 5Ks and I’m chipping away at that, but I’ll get back to doing that after the longer distance season is over. Congratulations on placing first today! Great time!

    One thing I want to ask, because I do it too. I go to races often by myself. I kind of limit myself to one race a month, maybe two during certain months, but when I go I go by myself. I have kids and so my husband stays with them. I then try to pay him back with him getting golf time, or some kind of alone time. I do eventually want to get them into some fun runs, but I don’t want them to have to go to every race to do what Mommy has goals of doing. I do have friends, but not every friend is a runner and even if they are they have different running/racing goals. So I go alone. I sometimes see friends or acquaintances at the race, but not always. I guess there really isn’t a question, but guess I’m just glad that others go it alone as well.

    But next weekend hubby and I are both taking a getaway vacation sans kids and both of us are running a half marathon, his first and my second. I’ll still be alone during the race since I am now faster than him! 😉 Running is my thing.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:40 pm

      melissa – i hear you! i’m pretty “eh” about them.

      i don’t mind going to races by myself although i do have a deal with my husband that if i’m running a half or longer he has to be at the finish. if it’s in town, i’ll go to the start on my own and he’ll be waiting at the finish.

      it sounds like you and your husband have a good system worked out with the racing/golf trade off. i think it’s important to do the things that you are passionate about!

      enjoy your kid-free vacation this weekend and GOOD LUCK on your half! let me know how it goes! 🙂

  • Maggie October 23, 2011, 12:20 am

    I absolutely love the 5k! After running cross country and track all through high school, I can say I definitely loved the 5k. Too short to go out of body, but long enough that it definitely takes a lot of strategy and mental toughness! And mid to late October is the perfect time for them–you often get those mid-50s mornings that are so crisp and perfect for racing.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:41 pm

      maggie – i think one of the things that sucks me in is the mental toughness factor. i love teetering on the edge of “omg i’m going to collapse!”

      agreed, this weather is the best for racing. fall running is my favorite.

  • Cate October 23, 2011, 12:21 am

    I feel the same way about 5Ks… it’s totally love/hate. My goal for next year is to set a new 5K PR (mine is over a year old). I’m kind of excited to really focus on speed!

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:43 pm

      i love that goal and it will be a fun way to get your speed back post-baby. i bet you will rock it! 🙂

      becoming a little speedier has been one of the most exciting things to happen to my running in years!

  • Fit Chick Britt October 23, 2011, 12:26 am

    Awesome job winning your age group. I have a love hate relationship with 5ks. Right now I’m hating them because I’m just not as fast as I used to be since I’ve been focussing on distance.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:43 pm

      thank you!

      the speed will come back to you! training for distance is fun too!

  • Stef October 23, 2011, 12:59 am

    I loooove pho, it is one of the most amazing meals! You feel so full and content from all of the broth and healthy veggies.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:44 pm

      agreed, i love this kind of “feel good” meal!

  • Natasha October 23, 2011, 2:16 am

    Awesome job for winning your age group. I love running 5ks. I try to do at least 2 a month. I even ran one this morning and came in around 28:00 minutes. My PR so far is 27:57 from earlier this year – back in April. I keep trying to lower my time, but it never fails…I always hover around 28 or 29 minutes. Do you have any tips on increasing my speed and lowering my time? Thanks so much!

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:46 pm

      thank you natasha. i was really excited.

      i can’t believe you run a couple every month. that is so cool! i bet you have quite the collection of race shirts. 😉

      tips for increasing speed…train for speed (do track workouts) and strength train! get those legs stronger!

  • bethp262 October 23, 2011, 7:46 am

    I usually do one 5k a year–not my favorite because it hurts the whole time! But on the plus side, I do a small local 5k so I usually win my AG.
    Also love pho!!! So yummy and healthy, too. I usually get the chicken pho. Once my husband got the “special” which had all sorts of unidentifiable organ parts and stuff…he didn’t make that mistake twice!!

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:47 pm

      haha, love the story about your husband. brandon ordered the meaty one and was jealous of my veggies! 🙂

      small local 5ks are the best so that you can actually compete!

  • Amy October 23, 2011, 9:51 am

    Congrats on the age group win, Jen! That is so fantastic! I ran the half yesterday and thought the race was well-organized and nicely done. Congrats again and awesome job!

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:48 pm

      thanks amy!

      i love that race. i was hoping to run the half but ended up going with the 5K.

      hope you had a good race!

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad October 23, 2011, 12:33 pm

    Congrats on the AG win!

    I hate 5Ks…so much so that I was pondering running one this morning and decided to run 14 miles instead. Yep, I really hate them!

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:49 pm

      thanks kristy!

      LOVE your 5K story. sounds like you really do hate them. i bet you’re super speedy though! 🙂

  • Lindsay October 23, 2011, 8:57 pm

    I just ran my second 5k yesterday morning…and I’m just like you…I start off too fast and then I started burning out. Plus the new cold air didn’t help! I sort of like 10ks better because I feel like I pace myself better and have less focus on the speed. I came in first in my age group too though so that felt nice!!

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:49 pm

      yes, 10Ks do allow for a little bit more pacing yourself. CONGRATS on your AG win! awesome!

  • Sarah Beth October 23, 2011, 9:23 pm

    Woohoo! Way to go! I love 5ks just because my husband and some of my friends are more willing to run those with me. My favorites are still half marathons though…

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:50 pm

      yes, it is fun to do them with friends and is easier to convince people to run 3 miles v. 13!

  • Alaina October 23, 2011, 9:25 pm

    5k’s are such a tough race for me. I want to go all out sometimes, but I end up just crapping out by around mile 2. Great job on the age group win!! Yesterday was a great day for running!

  • Emily @ emily-eats.com October 24, 2011, 6:14 am

    I have never run a 5k! I definitely want to I just have a hard time justifying paying to run 3.1 miles. Sigh. Definitely check out Lang Van for some excellent Vietnamese food in Charlotte. They have amazing pho and spring rolls (my go-to take out meal) but I like to let them order for me when I dine in and it’s always delicious and adventurous.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:53 pm

      emily – i hear you on paying to run 3 miles. that is why i don’t run more 5Ks!

      i have heard amazing things about Lang Van. Must try ASAP!

  • Holly October 24, 2011, 7:29 am

    Considering I was running a 5K nearly every weekend in June/July of this year. I would say that’s a LURVE.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:53 pm

      you are a die hard 5K fan!

  • Rheba October 24, 2011, 8:06 am

    I LOVE pho! My neice spent a great deal of time traveling in S.E. Asia and introduced me to pho this past spring. (and thankfully, how to pronounce it!) Where is this restaurant, I would love to take my husband there?

    • Rheba October 24, 2011, 8:07 am

      eh hem… niece…

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:54 pm

      hi rheba! it’s saigon palace on south. in between seneca and tyvola. definitely try it out!

  • stephanie October 24, 2011, 9:44 am

    I don’t have a love/hate relationship with 5K’s. Mine is strictly hate! lol Seriously, its an all out sprint for 3.1 miles. It’s painful, my lungs hurt and after I think “it’s over already”?!

    Great job on the AG win! and nice shoes. we run in the same kind.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:55 pm

      thanks for the congrats! love my brooks adrenaline.

      uh…i definitely mouthed a bad word the second i crossed the finish and stopped running! 😉

  • Jenn October 24, 2011, 11:03 am

    Congratulations on your race! You did a great job!

    So…what are some of your “Pump It Up Tunes?” I am running a marathon in January and am looking to add to my collection to get me through that race! Any suggestions would be helpful! 🙂

    (P.S. I LOVE your blog and read it daily! I am so excited and proud of your for all the recent life changes you made….sounds kind of weird coming from a stranger….but you are doing GREAT! Keep it up!)

    Take Care!

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:56 pm

      hi jenn! thanks so much for the comment and for reading! 🙂

      i will post some sample playlist with favorite running songs as soon as i get my computer up and running again.

      what marathon are you running!?

      • Jenn October 28, 2011, 11:20 am

        I am training the Disney Marathon (Jan. 8th, 2012). Super nervous…but…Super excited! 🙂

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 24, 2011, 9:23 pm

    Thats how I feel about 5Ks too. They kill me because it’s basically a 20-30 minute sprint.

  • jen October 25, 2011, 7:21 pm

    gotta know the vietnamese place. i’m a big lang van fan but would love to know a new haunt.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 5:57 pm

      hi jen! it’s saigon palace on south. in between seneca and tyvola. great service and food.

      we have to tr lang van soon. i’ve heard so many great things about it!

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