Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the 5k challenge: #3 run like the wind

my goal for september’s 5k was to beat 30 minutes, or run close to a 10 minute per mile pace. this past saturday at the “run like the wind 5k” i smashed my goal and ran the best 5k race since my senior year of cross country. i haven't beat my 5k PR yet, but saturday’s race gave me the confidence to know i can.

sleepy and hungover from chicken wings,
but ready to run!

but let me back up and talk about the race first.  september’s 5k marks #3 in my 5k challenge, and i chose the “run like the wind 5k” because all race proceeds benefit a cause near and dear to my heart: youth track clubs. i’ve said it numerous times, but running cross country in high school was a life changing event and molded me into 75% of the awesome young adult i am. i owe many of my strengths and skills to what i learned on my cross country team and am forever grateful. with so many track clubs and cross country teams at jeopardy of losing school funding, i will do whatever i can to support kids who want the chance to run. i also chose this race because its one ive done before and the last time i ran it i finished 1st in my age division (okay, i was the only runner in my age division, but it still counts!). i secretly wanted to see what my odds were of winning a medal again.

the night before the race was a late, late night. brandon and i got home from our first college football game around 2am after an hour and 15 minute drive from the stadium. exhaustion led to starvation (in my mind) and we dined on chicken wings for the entire ride home (okay, only i feasted on leftover wings as brandon was smart enough not to partake).  by the time 7:45am came the next morning, we probably had gotten about 5 hours of sleep – not an ideal way to prepare for a race where you’re trying to beat your past performances!

chicken wing culprits in lower right hand corner

but we are troopers, and after each of us partook in methods of injecting caffeine and energy into our bodies (brandon opted for c4 and i went with a new sample i got in my bulu box) we headed out on a ½ hour drive to the park for a 9:30am race start. we picked up our race t-shirts first; an awesome neon tennis ball yellow color that i can’t wait to blind people with at the gym. once our shirts were safely in the car and our race bibs on, we did a very slow .20 mile warm up with some much needed stretching. we were as ready as we were going to be!

sexy race shirt. jealous?

there were about 60 runners in this race, so a small and intimate setting. the race was out and back on a slightly inclined road – and i don’t mean hilly (although there were hills). the road wasn’t level, so the left side of the road was slanted down, which meant you were running awkwardly with a strained stride the whole time. trying to run in the middle of the road was difficult, as it wasn’t much flatter and you had to compete with other runners vying for the level ground, or had to move out of the way of runners as they ran the against you heading back to the starting line.

aside from the slant, i thought the course was fast for an out and back. our first mile was a fast warm up pace for me, 9:05. i knew when i checked my garmin at mile one and saw 9:05 on the clock that i was headed for a good race time. brandon and i continued to pick up gradual speed and when we hit the finish line i was elated to see the final time of 27:23 on the screen.

once i felt like i could breath again, i got to enjoy a blissful moment of celebration. 27:23!! not only did i shatter my goal for september’s 5k, but holy crap i can not remember the last time i ran a 5k that fast. all of august’s training paid off (and i attribute some of my success to the late night chicken wings) and this race finish made me feel confident that i can beat my 5k pr by the end of the 5k challenge by working with my trainer on a more long term training schedule.

drenched with sweat, brandon and i changed into our neon yellow race shirts and waited anxiously for the times to be posted. i knew we had a good chance of getting medals with such a small amount of race participants. we ate cookies and drank water while we waited, dreamt about the fatty breakfast sandwiches we would have at dunkin donuts and watched other runners victoriously cross the finish line. truly a wonderful saturday morning.

then the race times were posted....

!!!!! #2!!!!!!

... and brandon and i both won 2nd place in our age groups! he had 7 runners in his age division, and i had 4 runners. i felt so proud walking to the table to collect my shiny piece of medal – when hard work pays off, damn does it feel good!

smiling like a 5k champion

he may look smug, but he was equally as excited
as i was about our medals

immediately after our quick celebration, medals hanging proudly around our necks, we went to dunkin donuts and got those fatty sandwiches we were dreaming about (i had an egg white sandwich, so it wasn't that fatty). it was fun to answer questions about the race from other dunkin donuts customers who were intrigued (or blinded) by our bright yellow shirts and silver 2nd place victory badges. for a few moments, i felt like an olympian (or what i imagine one would feel like after winning a race). the moment was awesome and if i ever needed a reminder of why i love running, i got a stock pile of reminders that day.

now that 5k #3 is past, its time to think about the rest of the year and 5ks #4, 5 and 6. my plan for the remainder of 2012 is to take those 5ks easy. no pressure to train for speed, just focus on keeping consistent in running. i want to prioritize losing weight (specifically body fat) and gaining lean muscle for the rest of the year so that i’m in tip-top shape for tackling my 5k pr in 2013 (and training for a potential marathon in 2014). oh the places running will take me – i can’t wait to find out!


  1. Congratulations! I have only done one 5K before and it was a run/walk type of thing. I am doing the Color Run in Nashville in October but am looking forward to doing another one- just to say I can do it! one of my goals since i had a breast reduction surgery in 2009 is to run a whole 5K.

    1. The color run always seems like a blast - reminds me of the Indian holiday Holi that I've always wanted to participate in! Looking forward to catching up on your blog after the 5k in October! You can do it!

  2. How exciting, congrats on the age group award and medal! It's so exciting. Strangely enough, my shirt was bright yellow AND my hubby's Labor Day race shirt in Newton Falls, OH, was bright yellow. It was a bright yellow kind of time. That's such a great finish time too!

    1. Thanks Paulette! That is strange that all the Labor Day race shirts were yellow. Is there something about yellow on Labor Day that I wasn't aware of??


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