Yesterday I ran my first race of the year and had great results. I used to only sign up for bigger races (half and full marathons), but shorter races are so important for tuning-up and setting benchmarks. The 5k distance is easy to recover from, and I knew it was a good choice. I didn't know what to expect coming off this winter, but my recent workouts had been promising. On Wednesday, I did 3 x 1 mile at goal pace followed by 2 x 400m sprints. This went well, and I was feeling good going into the race.
The race started at 9, and I was up at 6:30 to have toast with strawberry jam alongside a banana with peanut butter. I also had a Clif bar between 7:30 and 8. At 8:15, I did my 2 mile warm up and then completed some drills and strides before we started.
The first mile was slightly downhill, so it was easy to go out too fast. My coach told me to keep the first mile at 6:15 - 6:20 pace, which I followed perfectly. The rest of the course was relatively flat with a few small inclines. I set my watch to show total distance, total time, and average pace. Since my goal was sub-20 minutes, my main focus the rest of the race was to keep the average pace at 6:25 or faster. There were a few other runners I was able to target and chase after, which helped with my speed as well. The last half mile I had a strong push to the finish, and I really opened up my stride to sprint at the end.
I crossed the finish line at 19:26, which is a big PR for me. Last summer I ran 20:34, so this was over a minute faster. My legs quickly seized up after crossing the finish line, but I stayed loose by keeping myself moving. Shortly after, I did a 2 mile cool down and then enjoyed a bagel followed by a wonderful lunch out with my family. I got 1st place female and won a quart of maple syrup. I also won a raffle and received $25 off a pair of shoes at Fleet Feet. It was a great day! I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks and what lies ahead.
Spring racing is always challenging in the Northeast because you never know what the weather is going to be. Freezing rain, ice, snow, mud - you have to be ready for anything. We were fortunate to have the most beautiful sunny day yesterday. It was 35 degrees and pure sunshine with a mild wind. I very rarely have the opportunity to wear sunglasses running, but yesterday they were very much needed!