Last year, one of my 2013 Goals was to run a 5K at a pace under 7:30.
But Saturday, it did!
While Colby was tackling the mighty KeyBank Vermont City Marathon, I covered the other end of the running spectrum by running the Weston Memorial Day 5K.
I didn’t have high expectations for the race, as my running has been sporadic and, well, kind of crappy as of late. I am running the Heartbreak Hill Half on June 8, though, and thought it would be good to get back into racing mode with a small, local 5K.
Once I got to the race, I realized that I actually felt pretty good. And I figured, with my lack of distance running lately, my legs were as rested as they will ever be, so decided to go for broke and see what I could do. Last year, my 5K paces ranged between 7:37-7:43. I didn’t expect to beat them, but hoped that I could be in or around that range. Weaseled my way to the front and took off with the rest of the crowd like a bat out of hell.
As I closed in on the first mile, I saw 6:56 on the time clock. Holy Crap. HOLY CRAP!Way faster than I could have hoped. At that point, I decided I was just going to run as hard as I could until the finish – no excuses. The next mile had some rolling hills and my pace definitely slowed, but my effort did not. I cranked as hard as I could through mile 2 and kept pushing. More hills – nothing that I’m not used to, but I generally do not try to speed up them. That was hard. I’m used to distance racing and conserving energy and form on hills. Not this time. At this point, I figured I had a shot at breaking 7:30 and I couldn’t let it slip away. At least not without a heck of a fight. Plus, there was another runner who was right with me the whole way and I think we helped each other keep the pace up. By the time I saw the finish, I kind of felt like I might puke. And my legs were on fire. But I crossed at 22:56, with a final pace of 7:23. PR, Baby! I even placed 2nd in my age group and got a shiny medal.
Not a bad way to kick off a holiday weekend! I’ll admit it – I was pretty darn stoked. And I will now stop complaining that my running is not going so well. It’s different this year from last year – I have a lot less time to devote to it – but I guess I have to think of it as different and not necessarily worse.
Successful 5K aside, I’m still a little apprehensive about how I’ll manage the Heartbreak Hill Half in 11 days…a Half…now, that’s a whole different ballgame (and 10 more miles). And it will be June. I’m going to start praying right now for a cold snap.