I was looking for something fun to do this spring break. Thanks to a January jaunt to Mexico, we didn’t have any money to travel (the kids are with their father on even year spring breaks), and I wanted to plan something to break up the monotony of grading research papers and cleaning the house.
The fact that my brainstorm for this endeavor was registering for a 5k shows just how
warped dedicated I have become.
The Dash Down Greenville 5k is (apparently) a popular Dallas tradition, although this 5 year “newbie” to Dallas is still oblivious to Big D culture. When my best friend asked if I was going to be staying for the parade after the race, my (serious) response was “what parade?” (at which point she laughed at me. Because, again, apparently everyone knows about this parade).
I don’t get out much.
I convinced my husband to sign up with me (this WAS our “fun spring break activity” after all). While he’s incredibly fit, he hasn’t done much running since his collegiate soccer heydays, so I heard a lot of moaning and groaning about having to run, and being out of shape, and not being able to keep up with me.*
Running the 5k was actually a little tricky when it came to my half training; I moved my weekend long run up to Thursday, took a rest day on Friday, and hoped my legs would be fresh enough to nab me a decent time after so many consecutive miles the previous 7 days.
Ready the night before:
There were a LOT of people there – over 6,000 runners registered. The Austin Turkey Trot had over 20,000 people, so relatively speaking, this was nowhere near that mayhem, but 1. the turkey trot was spread across an open Austin area (not a Central Market parking lot) and 2. that was a 5 mile race for runners.
This was more of a “green fashion statement, don’t get sweaty because it’s a long day of parade watching and beer swilling, hey, let’s have fun!” kind of race. Which would be awesome except I really wanted to see if I could break 30 minutes for the first time ever and GET OUT OF MY WAY PEOPLE.
Yes, even you, adorable girl in a green tutu.
I really did not know how to run this race, to be honest. The last time I ran a 5k was in September for my annual Heroes for Children 5k, and I ran a PR of 32:13. I know I can run faster than that, but I’m so used to pacing for 8, 9 and 10 mile runs – I genuinely had no idea how to push myself, but leave myself enough gas to finish strong.
The matter was out of my hands for the first 3/4 of a mile or so. The crowds were so thick (and I’m not experienced enough to dodge and weave well, which apparently, my husband remembered from cross country 20 years ago because he was GONE), that when my 1/2 mile Runkeeper pacing program told me I was only at an 11:10 pace, I cursed out loud.
Now I didn’t know how fast to run and had to make up time. Well…crap.
Also, my left hamstring began complaining about 2 minutes into the run. I chalk it up to running a ridiculous (for me) number of miles this week, but I’ve never run with a muscle hurting before, so that was new.
As the crowds thinned out a bit, I cautiously began speeding up. And speeding up. And speeding up. I wasn’t tired! I wasn’t out of breath! But wait, do I have enough for another mile and a half? Now it’s only a mile left. HOW FAST SHOULD I GO?!
I’m still figuring out this “racing” thing.
I know I didn’t go as fast as I could have, because I easily sprinted (as much as I could with other runners surrounding me) the last .25 mile or so.
- Mile 1: 10:29
- Mile 2: 9:26
- Mile 3: 9:18
- Last .09: 7:52 min/mile pace
I finished feeling great. Runkeeper got me at 29:58, but my “official” time is 30:06 (in my mind, I’m still claiming a sub-30 min 5k). When I checked the results later in the day, I was stunned to find that I placed 55 out of 271 for my age group (and I’m only in the age group for another 4 months, so I’m one of the oldest).
I’m interested to see what my next 5k race time will be, now that I know I can definitely run 3 miles in under a 10 min/mile pace. I never thought I would be running enough where I have to figure out strategies for 5k vs 10k vs half marathon pacing.
*oh and the whining, out of running shape, husband? Smoked me by 2 minutes, finishing in an official 27:58. That’s with no training at all. It’s a good thing he’s cute.