It’s been a while since I did a standalone 5k all out… and when you race as much as we do, that’s saying something. I really don’t like 5ks. I’m not working speed right now – it’s killer for me to run even a mile in the 8s (and my fastest mile is 7:07), but give me some time to get warmed up and accelerate and on the good days, it’s not all that much slower.
However, this is the race that fit well into our month, plus Zliten wanted to soundly thrash his 5k PR, plus it was a dollar to enter, so we headed to Berry Springs Park in Georgetown and prepared to race. Plus, with all the tris and splash and dashes where I’ll be wearing the same thing over and over, I wanted a chance for a race day pic in my new fave nike shirt. IT’S PURPLE and STRIPEY, people!
I had been mentally preparing myself, even if I haven’t been training speed. I know the 5k is a huge mental game for me. I don’t mind a moderate amount of pain, but 5ks are INTENSE. There is a point where things go from hard to unbearable, and it’s a small window, and somewhere around mile 1.5-1.75, it changes even if my pace doesn’t. That’s typically my despair point, where I slow down and lose it a little after running way too hard in mile 1.
I have found now that reigning myself in on mile 1 and speeding up from there is my ace in the hole. I decided my goal would be a 9 minute mile for mile #1, 8:45 for mile #2, and fast as I could fly for #3 on in. Considering the fastest mile I’ve ran in the last few weeks was a 1 mile 8:58 off the bike (which was honestly kinda brutal), I wasn’t sure how this plan would end up working. Oh yeah – and I’d been out drinking TWICE this week (not the night before, but still), and eating way too much restaurant food. So I was TOTALLY primed for success here.
My fears got worse that morning, as I a) had a slightly unhappy tummy, which is never a good sign for 5k all out pace and b) in the warmup, my legs were rough… I ran about .5 mile in the 11s because nothing faster my legs would have, and then struggled like hell to get under 9s for some race pace striders. Let’s just say I’ve started races a little more confident about my upcoming performance. However, messed up head aside, the race still started and off we went.
We got going and looked down at my watch expecting to see 10s… I saw 7s. That was not going to work. “Slowing down!” I told Zliten and he followed suit. I settled in a little under 9s feeling pretty good, and we ran together for a bit, but then he dropped back and I kept going. Proud as hell of that guy, he kept me in his sights the entire time, we got to hi-5 at both turnarounds, and he got a huge PR (and he’s noting this is our TENTH race this year… crazy… or maybe he’s waving his hands in the air like he just don’t care…). But anyhoo, this is MY race recap.
The first mile it was definitely a struggle to not go too fast, but I conquered and ran it in about 8:54. One down, two to go. I started magnet-ing (seeing someone in front of me, attracting myself to them, passing them, picking someone else, etc). Some went quick, some went slow (most notably the 16 year old in front of me around mile 1.25, and the 7 foot tall dude took quite a while to pass around mile 1.5). Just as expected, around 1.6 it started getting rough. I tried to come up with a mantra to get me through the second half – the first one I came up with was “go faster and you’ll be done quicker” but yeah, I’ve tried that before and it doesn’t work. I was thinking “Bring the pain” that morning before the race, but what really got me through was “Expect the pain, manage the pain, push through the pain”.
I felt pretty darn good after mile 2. At a 9 minute mile, I obvs didn’t actually speed up any, but it contained a big hill and some slight uphills that did not rock my world. The last mile is usually pretty good for me, and while I wasn’t running lightning speed, I wasn’t sputtering out either. I played leapfrog with a guy this mile that was walking, then sprinting, then walking, but I am happy to report that everyone that I passed on the course stayed behind me besides this guy. The last turn around had another decent incline, so I maintained up that and put the gas on when I crested it, for an 8:58 third mile and a 8:20 pace for the last .13. I took the final turn and powered to the finish for a 27:58 garmin time for 3.13 miles – 8:55 average pace.
My 5ks since 2009 have been as such: 27:48, 27:19, 26:31, 25:10, 27:51, 28:26, 29:26, 27:58. The first 4 I actually trained for, the last 4 were just “hey let’s do a 5k”. So while it’s not my best, it’s definitely not my worst, and I’m pretty happy that I’m not just consistently getting WORSE at them. And have an 8-something as avg pace, at this point in my volume build for the half iron, makes me very happy. One workout that seems to be keeping me conditioned for a little speed too are these double (and this week we make them triple) bricks – 15 mins on the bike trainer, 1 mile run at like 90% effort x2 (or 3). Do believe that these will stay in the rotation for a while.
Of course, we can’t just leave well enough alone, and 4-ish miles with warmup and cooldown are just not enough for a Saturday, so we did a wicked 25 mile hill ride around my parents area. Let me tell you, it sounded like a great logistical idea at the time (hey, we’ll be in the area, and only have done a few miles!) but these were two back-to-back leg thrashing workouts. We were going to do 30, but it just worked out that we were back at the house at 25 and we were both just *DONE*. We gained and lost 1800 feet in 25 miles, that was enough thxuverymuch. Slow as molasses with an avg speed of around 14mph, but it was good hill training. Aero bars are my friend and I found a great new way to pedal up hills that uses my calves more when the other stuff gets tired.
Other stuff I have done this week:
-Went to a high school production of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Those kids were pretty talented! I wish I would have had the option to go to an “arts” high school!
-Drank fancy cocktails in a room that used to be a happy ending type massage parlor called the Midnight Cowboy. The two drinks I got there, the Jinx remover and Lindsay’s Lament, were both fantastic! I would have taken pictures, but the place asked that you not use your cell phone to keep it quiet and mellow. It was a great 2 hours for our reservation of quietness and intimate chatter with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and then we stepped out onto 6th street and… CHAOS. It was so bizarre. I would definitely go there again.
-Actually made it to a game developer beer night at Mr. Tramps and didn’t overdo it! Only 4 glasses of wine…
-Discovered a fantastic place with 5$ happy hour burgers and drinks called the Park – and the burgers are so big Zliten and I found we could split one and be full. Fun evening – and I totally earned half a burger and some fried pickles after a good 10k run that morning.
-We lost power on Wednesday night and didn’t get it back until the morning. It was a trip to be so… unconnected. Also, it meant that I really couldn’t cook dinner so it was another unexpected night of eating out.
-Got in some good training. 30 mins weights and 25 min 1400 yd swim Monday, 10k (supposed to be 10 miles, but I didn’t wake up in time Tuesday, off Wednesday, group power class and double bricks Thursday, and a 30 min swim Friday. I missed one weights workout and missed a few running miles, but all in all I’m pretty happy with my week.
I also slacked on tracking food for the last two weeks, and certainly haven’t been pigging on junk 24/7, but I have ate and drank not like my normal self, especially this last week (see above). Back to it this week, and going to stop using the awful body bugg software and track on sparkpeople.com again.
And of course to support me, my husband brings THIS into my office today. I actually made him remove it, or threatened to take a big ass bite out of it or lick it and he didn’t want that (his idea was to slice it like a cake) so it has left my office and I feel better.
This week, changing it up a bit and doing a long 2 hour trainer ride tomorrow morning, and a longer run (10-14 miles) on Saturday, along with the rest of the normal schedule (M: swim+weights PM, W: triple brick AM+weights PM, Th: weights class AM + swim PM). Looking forward to a little R+R this 3 day weekend. Should be nice!
Questions of the Week: What’s your plans for the long weekend? What 5k training or pacing tips do you have for me?