I raced a 5k this morning! For how much I run, I haven’t been in many races; this was only my second 5k race. After signing up, I informed my family of my plans, since some of them have varying levels of interest in running. My brother-in-law and his visiting father decided to join me.
Two years ago, I set a goal time for a 5k. As the summer closed, I realized that I had some work to do to make the time that season. Then I got (a) pneumonia and (b) pregnant, which pretty much ended that season and the next.
Since we didn’t really have a winter this year, spring training started early. My goal was to run a 5k in May, but I wimped out until this weekend. I always say I need to schedule a race to keep me motivated, but then I don’t schedule a race because I’m not sure I want to be motivated. I did start working harder once I signed up for the race, though. Unfortunately, the last couple weeks I realized that I couldn’t sustain my goal pace for three miles, and calculated that I’d come in about a minute behind my goal time. This presented a dilemma–should I start the race at my goal pace and possibly slow dramatically by the end, or start at the pace I thought I could do and later wish I’d run harder?
This morning was a cloudy, cool, damp morning–decent running weather. We three runners met up so I could hand out the race numbers and goody bags I picked up yesterday. My brother-in-law wanted to warm up a little, since three miles isn’t a long enough run for him. He runs to win races, but his dad runs about my speed.
My planned pace dilemma was solved when I left my watch at home this morning, so there was no calculating paces for me. I had to listen to my body and base my pace off how I felt.
The dad and I started towards the back of the pack, and I worked hard to resist sprinting off the line with everyone else. About the time we got to the narrow, no-passing-room part of the course, I realized that I should be running faster. I had to wait several hundred yards to pick up the pace, but that was better than overdoing the first half mile.
There were two points on the course where we met the lead runners and their police escort, and it was fun to see my brother-in-law in the lead.
As the clock at the finish line came into view, it was already showing my goal time. I kicked up my pace a couple notches, and managed to cross the line two seconds after my realistic estimated time. Since it had taken me about fifteen seconds to get to the starting line from the back of the pack, I figure I actually was a few seconds faster than I expected to be. I guess I didn’t miss my watch much, after all.
After the race, we were offered bagels, bananas, breakfast burritos, barbecued beef, and a few other foods that don’t start with “b”. We were also able to wander around the Botanical Center, where the race was held. It started to rain while I was driving home.