On Saturday I woke up early, pinned on a bib, laced up a timing chip and made my way to the starting line of a race for the first time since December 2012.
As most of you know, I am the content manager for a new running website, Run Charlotte Run, that is hosted by the Charlotte Observer and sponsored by OrthoCarolina. Each year OrthoCarolina hosts the OrthoCarolina Classic 10K and 5K so as part of my work with Run Charlotte Run I have been promoting the race and registered to run it. My original plan was to run the 10K but I wanted to be on the ground talking to and interviewing runners after the race so I decided to run the 5K instead so that I would be finished running earlier.
I was a little nervous about running the 5K because as I’ve commented before, when I run 5Ks I do so for max effort and performance. I don’t leisurely jog 5Ks but rather embark on an all out sprint. Going into the race my 5K PR was 22:44 and I had it in the back of my mind that I would like to PR and going sub 22 would be an added bonus. I felt good about a PR effort given all the running and CrossFit I’ve been doing lately.
And I’m really, really thrilled to share with you that I accomplished both goals. I set a new PR, broke 22 minutes AND was the second place overall female finisher.
Here’s how it all went down…
Mile 1: I knew that I needed to keep my pace around 7:15 to PR and if I wanted a chance to break 22 minutes. I have a tendency to go out fast in 5Ks with sub-7 miles so for this race I held back and kept my pace right around 7:15. I finished the first mile in 7:13.
Mile 2: Mile 2 is a blur for me. I just focused on maintaining a steady pace even through the up and downhills. I think there was a water station towards the end of this mile but I breezed by and kept my focus. I felt so in the zone that I did not want to break it. One thing I do remember is realizing how humid it was. I was starting to really sweat and water was pouring off of me like raindrops. I finished mile 2 in 7:11.
Mile 3: As I passed the 2 mile marker, I was really surprised to take inventory of how I was feeling and realize that I had a lot more in the tank. Usually this is the point in a 5K where I will slow down and lose the PR. Instead I hit the gas and gave it my all. A lot of mile 3 was uphill but it was super motivating to see a straight shot to the finish line when I was about half a mile away from it. Even though it was uphill to the finish, I picked up my pace. Mile 3 was done in 6:56.
Last .1: I was at 21:20 at 3 miles and had a short tenth of a mile sprint to the finish. I ran as fast and as hard as I could to make it across the finish line in under 22 minutes. I was shocked to hear the announcer say that the second place female finisher was coming in. I had no idea for the whole duration of the race that I was in second. I knew there was another girl in my site for the whole race but I figured there were others even further ahead. I crossed the finish in 21:55.
This photo was taken less than 60 seconds after my finish. I was shaky, dripping in sweat and on cloud nine. I can’t even describe to you how amazing it felt to have a really good race and how grateful I am to be running so strongly again. I can’t believe I ran negative splits! It’s the first time I’ve ever done that in a 5K!
I guess now would be a good time to tell you that I’m running the Thunder Road Half Marathon in November. It will be my first half since I ran Thunder Road back in 2010. After our easy 9 miler last weekend, my running partner and I decided that we may as well take advantage of all the running we’ve been doing and run Thunder Road. I’m actually really, really, really excited.
And for the record…I will NEVER run another full marathon again. I know you should never say never. But really…never. (I just had to put that out there.)
Me + my body + running has been quite a road of ups and downs and for now I’m happy to be running faster and easier than I ever have in my 14 years of running.