Wednesday, June 12, 2013

5k challenge #12 (the last one!): ann arbor marathon 5k

the ann arbor marathon 5k was the last 5k in my 5k challenge. it was truly hard for me to believe i had reached the last race in the challenge and even harder for me to believe i wouldn't have another 5k to look forward to next month! i'm still reflecting on the challenge as a whole and will post about that when i've got my thoughts figured out.

but i wanted to talk about my last race because it was the best 5k i've had. ever.

not only did i pr. but i hit my "sub 24 minute 5k" goal AND i won second place in my age group!!! *does a happy dance*

picture of my race shirt, bib and my age group award,
a nice frosty glass!

i think what made the difference in my performance in this race was two things:

1) i didn't put any pressure on myself to pr. i was solely focused on enjoying the meaning of this race being the last in my year long challenge.

2) i went into the week feeling really, really optimistic. i felt like i would pr. i could just feel it in my bones. and that confidence came through on race day.

amazing how those two things can make a world of a difference.

the race itself was an early sunday morning race. 7:30am start. i was prepped for cooler weather but planned on stripping down for the race because i wanted to give it my all for my last 5k. i wore a previous race t-shirt with the anticipation of tossing it at the start line. thank gosh i had that shirt with me. on a visit to the porta potties pre-race, i happened to pick a potty without any toilet paper. guess what t-shirt came in handy then? yup. no shame. my t-shirt served its duty (no pun intended here) and may it rest in peace in the bottom of the porta-potty. 

the 5k start was combined with the start of the ann arbor half marathon. i feel pretty neutral about this as i don't think the combined start made the race anymore difficult than if it had been separate. it did make the course a little congested at times, but i expected that at this race. the other weird thing it did do was make it hard for me to tell how fast i was really running. i couldn't tell if i was passing a slower 5k runner, or a half marathon runner. since i don't look at my garmin while i'm racing anymore, it made it tough to gauge my own pace.

ready at the start of the race. can you tell we're
uphill here?

the race started at the big house and immediately took us downhill. i used this downhill to my advantage and really played with the fact that i could get some speed early in the race without much effort. this strategy helped power me up the hill that followed, passing quite a large number of racers along the way. the course snaked through downtown ann arbor and at one point the 5k group separated out from the half marathoners, only to rejoin them again and then separate once again in the last mile. when the groups separated it was crazy to see how few people were running the 5k. i think there were a lot more folks who were back in the pack for the 5k, but it felt like i was running a race with only 20 people in it!

i really carb-loaded before this race. i had way more calories than i knew i would burn on this run, but i didn't want to take any chances on being under-fueled. i wanted to give my body the best chance at performing really, really well and i would say that it worked!

in the last half mile i saw two girls ahead of me. i couldn't tell much about them from behind, but i guessed they were around my age and that meant i had more incentive to pass them (i really wanted to place in my age group). instead of focusing on a pr or the time, i started to focus on doing whatever i needed to pass these two girls. with about .3 miles left, i passed the first girl. the second girl alluded me until there was .1 mile left. the finish line was in sight and i just gunned it. my arms were pumping, my eyes narrowed their focus to the finish line and i gave it everything i had. i passed the second girl and finished feeling like i had accomplished something amazing. because i had!

breakdown of splits:

mile 1: 7:41
mile 2: 7:52
mile 3: 7:35
(according to garmin)

official time: 23:54

(according to bib chip)
garmin time: 24:15

this was before i knew my actual chip time. i
was feeling pretty good about the sub 24 possibility!

attempted close up of my age group award

this was the perfect race to end my 5k challenge. i finished in the same city the challenge started and i really went out on a high note. what more could i ask for? okay, maybe cheaper race photos. there are a few good ones i'd like to buy, but at $30 for one digital copy, i'm not pulling out my wallet anytime soon. ;)


  1. Congratulations, Alicia!! That is so exciting. And twelve 5ks is a huge accomplishment! Isn't it amazing what confidence can do for us? I'm glad you have such a wonderful experience. :)

  2. Ahhhhhh so awesome!!! Congrats - well deserved after all of your hard work! :) Love the swag too! (And I really miss A2 when I see your posts!)

  3. Thanks Paulette :) You need to come back and do a race or something, for nostalgia purposes!


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