Race reflection (5k @ Magnuson park)
Hello run racing, it’s good to be back! Yesterday was the 1st race of the season after taking a 3+ year break from events. It was a local 5k but even with the small race feel, it ended up bringing back so many amazing emotions that only competition can induce. Now that the first race is in the books, I figured it’s a good time to share the training program leading up to the return of racing.
It started as a new year resolution with the goal of setting up a new running goal while understanding I didn’t have the same time availability as I did when marathon training. The focus was to start running for speed and two goals were established, break the 5 minute mile and a 19 minute 5k. Two goals I hit at the peak of cross country running over 10 years ago.
January-March’s training was very relaxed where I would run 2–3 times a week while working on some olympic lifting and gymnastics. It wasn’t until April where I started keeping an outline and detailed notepad of workouts. I gave myself a full 12 week training program before throwing down the first race. In all honestly, I should have been much more consistent about the miles but sadly I never even made it up to 20/wk. Regardless, the first race came and went so here’s the race report and results!
Pre-race: The whole race week I was a little antsy since it was something I haven’t done in years. The goal was to get in some short speedwork and extra sleep. This was going well until Thursday hit, another trainer i work with invited me to join him for deadlifts and how could I say no. We started to get going and a client joins us(ex-collegiate football player warming up at 225). My silly pride wouldn’t let me get caught looking like a chump so I push harder that I should of for a race week and I realize my mistake upon waking up on Friday. For those who have gone through a heavy deadlift day, you know exactly how it feels…there was lots of foam rolling that day!
Saturday morning- I wake up and have a morning smoothie and ½ cup of coffee for breakfast. The back is still feeling those deadlifts but oh well, can’t change that and luckily this was just a feeler race. I get in another 5–10 minutes of rolling before heading out. We meet up with 4 other friends and I get in an easy 15 minute warm up while scoping out the course. The weather was a little warmer than ideal, mid-70’s and sunny, but overall a beautiful day. We all enjoy the 400 meter kids race and then shortly after, they call the runners to the line. I tell myself to have fun and whatever the result, enjoy every second of the race!
Race- The race was a 5k/10k/15k all with the same start. The field consisted of about 200 runners differentiated with various color bibs according to race distance. The course is mostly flat with one small hill in the first mile. The gun goes off and I go straight into race mode like it was yesterday. I was able to start off fairly close to the front and within the first minute of the race, enough space opened up so I could join the top 10 runners. The goal was to hit 6 min flat for the first mile and as we come up to the first hill, we started dropping runners until a pack of 4 was left.
Mile 1 (6:03)- Not bad, felt strong seeing that I was only a few seconds off. I continued with the group while one runner really started to pull ahead! I found out after the race that he was actually racing the 10k. Myself and two of the runners tried to chase him down but he was moving. I hung about 10 meters behind the second place runner with the idea of trying to attack at the 2 mile marker.
Mile 2 ( ???) — No 2 mile marker… the 4 and 5 mile marker for the 10k were out but the 2 mile marker never came. I did a little mental math about a minute after the 5 mile marker and realized I only had about a mile left to work. I kicked it into gear and started to close the gap between myself and 2nd position runner.
Mile 3- The lungs were already screaming but this is time to escape from reality and think about the feeling of finishing a race, bliss and pain all rolled into one! A coach once told me, regardless of finishing fast or slow, it will hurt…why not make it count! I catch the 2nd place runner around 16:30 into the race and have less than half a mile left to go. I pass hard with the goal of breaking his spirits and keep this mini kick for another minute, opening up about a 20 meter gap. My heart is screaming to stop but the race ends with a straight quarter mile with the finish line clear as day! The legs are heavy and I’m pumping my arms to muster up anything left in the tank. The race clock is ticking closer to 19 and the last 20 seconds were a big blur. Every ounce of energy was focused on trying to sprint and by the time I crossed, stumbled through the shoot, and hit stop, my watch had a time of 19:04.
Post-race: The first place runner continue on and it hit me that I was the first finisher! =) Haha, I’ll take the technical win. I came into the race with a goal of breaking 20 and having a stretch goal of breaking 19. I fell a few seconds short but was ecstatic about taking the 5k in this “comeback” race. Overall, everyone had a blast and being back in the race environment felt like returning home after a long vacation. To wrap things all up, a couple of us finished off the morning with some brunch and well deserved mimosas!
A full 24 hours later and the race results are up! It turns out I actually ran a 18:56 so it’s time to focus on getting that mile time down. Another thing I realized about this was how much I enjoy the 5k distance. I know I did a horrible job of getting in the mileage but given the sub 19, I’m excited to see where the rest of this season goes. Eyeing that sub 18 and will have another report when I attempt the sub 5 soon!