On Thursday, Jim and I did our 2nd annual Stars & Stripes 5K in our beautiful hometown of Lee's Summit, MO. It's awesome having a race so close to home. Just a short 10 minute drive and we were parked and ready to go. This is a fairly small race (about 700) but well organized by one of the local Running Companies (Kansas City Running Company). All of their races are always great and they sponsor several group runs and other activities in the community.
I had no plans to PR this race....absolutely none. I had several things going against me. First, it had only been 4 days since the Double Road Race where I had set a new 10K PR (and 15K PR) and I probably wasn't fully recovered. Second, and probably the biggest issue, was we had been to our friends annual BBQ and 4th of July party the night before. I might have enjoyed some brisket, nachos and cheese, a glass of wine, and a cupcake among other things the night before. I might have had seconds on the nachos and cheese....hmmmm.....this might not be a good idea. On the way over to the party I told Jim, I'm just gonna enjoy the food "it's just a 5K and I'm not gonna let it it ruin my night". So I guess technically, I stuck with my plan.
So, when I woke up Thursday morning, my stomach was a little cranky to say the least. I felt bloated and a little sick from all the salt and crap food the night before, plus with the booming fireworks all night I hadn't slept great.
But once I got there, well it was just such a beautiful morning that I just started to feel kind of excited. We lucked in to our 2nd unseasonal race day temperatures and as we lined up for the race at 7am it was only in the low 60s. The sun was shining. It was truly a gorgeous day! Jim and I had done this race the year before and the starting temp was 85!! It was still humid, which you just can't avoid in KC in the summer, but it was about the nicest day you could have in July.
Although I had a few things going against me I knew I also had a few things going for me. I have lost several pounds over the last few months, I have been doing core work pretty religiously 4 to 5 times a week, and I had recently been doing some speed work. Honestly, I was feeling pretty strong and the weather was just about perfect.
As race time approached I put my cranky stomach out of my mind and decided to go for it. I wasn't sure if I had a PR in me or not, but I decided I was at least going to run this race hard.
The race starts off pretty flat and I found myself running a 9:45 first mile! Sweet...now I just needed to hold on - if possible. The second mile is a little "hillier" - there are really no hills, in this race, but when you are running at top speed any incline can seem huge. My pace this 2nd mile was 10:05. I was disappointed because I felt like my effort was the same, but my pace was slowing. But, after 2 miles, my average pace was still around 9:55 and I had never ran a race with a pace in the 9s - EVER! I was feeling pretty tired, but I now realized that if I could just push it, really push it, I would not only set a new PR, but I could meet one of my 2013 goals and run a 5K with a pace in the 9s. So I sucked it up, and I pushed as hard as I could and finished mile 3 in 9:53. Then pushed just a little bit harder to the end for a 8:56 for that last .11 miles.
As I crossed the finish line I had a huge smile on my face as I knew I'd set a huge new PR! I crossed the finish line in 30:44 - officially a 9:55 pace (although the Garmin pace was 9:52 - I like that better as it shows my real effort). This was the fastest race I had ever run and I couldn't have been more excited! I took almost a full minute off my previous 5K PR of 31:35.
|Crossing the finish line with a big smile and a thumbs up!|
|Celebrating after the race by dancing with a horse...why of course!|
This was a great race - a new PR, and I met one of my goals...but now, it just fuels that fire to see if I can get below 30 minutes. I used to think that was an impossible goal, but now I can at least see it as a possibility. It may not be this year, but maybe - who knows!!
|Jim & I post race|