Sunday, December 02, 2012

Race Report: Reindeer Run 5k

So, it wasn't a PR, or really what I know I can do.

But I am really still happy with this one.

I know!  Doesn't really make sense, does it?

I shall explain....

I headed out to Lakewood Park to do what's become somewhat of an annual tradition with my running buddies:  the Reindeer Run 5K followed by a gorging of pancakes at the Original House of Pancakes.  I am not entirely sure they don't put crack in their pumpkin pancakes.  I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, here I am with JenC three years ago running preggers:

And here's some pics from last year on my way to my current PR of 22:52!

Got up, rolled out, hit the bathroom nervously twice and then once more at a McDonald's on the way.  (Nervous stomach much?)

Met up with some awesome people including my rockstar Mom, the ol' college roomie DaisyDuc, and my former partners-in-prenatal-crime JenC and Bridget who are BOTH preggers again! YAY!  (Not me, though.  Sorry.  I love them and all, but not enough to have a third so we can time up our flip turns again.)

I tried to do everything just the way I did last year, when I PR'd by almost a minute over a time I never thought I'd ever be able to beat.  NO COFFEE, nice long warmup of about 1.5 miles.  Same old same old.

This time, though, I didn't have my super amazing pacer Nicole.  She did all the work for me last year so I could just zone out and follow.

This time I was going to have to do it on my own.

I definitely got stuck back too far, which got me in the first mile a bit, but I hit the first mile in 7:12.  Considering I was hoping for a 7:15 average, I was okay with that.  It felt hard, but not too hard.

I kept going and definitely felt a bit like I was slowing down.  Garmin showed me slowing down and I got pissed.  I tried to HTFU and just focus and pick people off.  Still, despite that, I definitely slowed down.  Mile 2 was somewhere around 7:25 (I can't find my splits as my watch went MIA).

At this point, I tried to really remember what my student said about "the race starting at mile 3."  I felt like I needed to pick it up so I really really tried.  The thing is, I was still being kind of hesitant.  I don't know if it's an endurance mentality thing I need to get over, but I never really felt like I put the hammer down and ran as hard as I could (until the last .1 mile when I was running well under 7 minute pace).  Mile 3: somewhere around 7:40.

I turned the corner and had way too much left in the tank (I do remember Garmin said average pace was 6:42 for last 0.1, so that's too much in the tank fo' sho').  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the clock time and hit my watch at 23:06.  It wasn't my best, but it was only 14 seconds off my best ever. And I definitely haven't been doing much speedwork or pace work at all.  Just a few fartleks here and there but that's it.

I was happy with this.  Slightly disappointed I wasn't able to get 7:15s or run an even race again, yet reminding myself that to do that it's hard and requires specific training (tempo, speedwork, etc.) that I haven't been doing.  All in all, to be 14 seconds off my best on December 1 is not too bad.

Afterward, my super fun (and fast) friend ESpeed was attempting to make me feel better about my time (I think she thought I was really sad, but I actually wasn't!) and told me that I shouldn't feel too badly as now I have the kids and stuff.  Here's the thing though: I set the bar pretty high on this one, and I was just happy to be in the ballpark. 7:15 would have been very tough considering my best is 7:23.  I still went 7:27.  I do hate the "I-have-kids-now" excuse and try my hardest not to use it.

But I immediately caught her--and myself--and explained that this was actually a pretty awesome day for me.  I know to fast people out there, 23 and change isn't anything to write home about, but bear with me here...truth be told, I've gone under 23:43 in a 5K exactly twice in my life and once was last year and once was today.  And both times, I was significantly under 23:43. Age 34 and age 35, yo'.

What does that mean? A few things:

A) I must have totally been a slacker in my 20s (no surprises there) and
B) I can definitely go faster and
C) I need to give myself a big high five for doing this on my own this time.  Progress is good.

If that's a "bad" day, I can't complain.

I was talking to Bridget over pancakes because she's had some CRAZY improvement in her 5K times and she told me that she finally realized how to run a 5K when she ran with speedy fast Salty as a pacer at last year's race.  She told me that she was like, " THIS is how it's supposed to feel."  I don't think I really know that yet.  I'm too conservative of a racer, which suits me well in longer distance but makes these short ones tough.

After she has a baby in less than a month (!) she and I made a pact to pick out a 5K and she'll help me figure that out. When it comes to this distance, I definitely get by with a little help from my friends.

Final standings had me placing 8/127, but over a minute back of the first 7 girls.  Still, this tends to be a pretty stacked field and I am happy with that today!

If this is any indication of what's coming for next year, I think I am in good shape.  Plus, seeing a bunch of my running friends is always awesome!

Got home, hung with the kiddos, and then last night even had time for my newest obsession:

This *might* make my previous addiction to 24 seem like NUTHIN.  Sure makes for good watching on the trainer, though!

Happy first-week-of-December to all--get out there and do some training!

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