Freehold Winter Series 5k (19:59)

Every local race I run I think it’s a good idea to pack everything the night before.  Every time I decide that sitting on the couch is more important than I don’t have enough time to pack.  That being said the race didn’t start until 10.  I wanted to leave the house by 8 am.  We ended up getting to the race at 9 even with some starts so even with packing and running around in the morning I was okay.

I had originally thought the weather was perfect.  It was 40 or so degrees, slightly sunny and not raining.  That is the best weather I’ve seen for a few weeks.  When I actually started running I realized how windy it was and I was little bit distraught.  I knew this would be nowhere near a PR but as long as I can consistently break 20 minutes I will be happy…for now…

I warmed up and decided because it was cold I would race in my yellow long sleeve stripey Oiselle shirt.  With the wind I decided it was too cold for a singlet.  I ran a few miles and headed to the start.

Tim and I laughed at the start because at the very front line there was a pack of high schoolers, thin, freezing and toeing the line.  This was a small race and I seriously felt like I was watching a championship race start.  The race started with an air horn and the front line immediately pressed their watches and began.  Tim and I were just goobering around as “second race stringers”.

Anyways I started the race as seventh female overall.  The first mile was going completely with the wind.  (Read: it should have been the fastest mile).  I felt good the first mile.  We had to cross a flooded pathway which I was most nervous about.  The water level had risen due to the amount of melting ice and I had prepped myself during warm up not to fall.  (Shockingly…I didn’t!).  I hit the first mile at 6:20 and was pretty disappointed.  I knew the struggle for a sub 20 minute 5k was real.  I didn’t understand why since I felt good.  I felt like with my effort I should have been in the low 19s.

The second mile included two 180 degree turns.  That was a bit frustrating but I knew they were there so it wasn’t a surprise.  I tried to maintain my pace even while going back into the wind.  I ended up passing the rest of the females as well as 2 males placing me as first place female and 6th place overall.  Since I was demotivated due to my pace as well as wind my placement was a bit more motivating.  I hit mile 2 at 12:48.

The last and final mile I knew I was going to have to red line it to break 20 minutes.  I was so frustrated with myself but I was starting to understand that it was not a fast course or fast day.  I saw one more male infront of me that I believed I could catch.  I started to dig down deep and passed him just after the stream passing again.  The third mile was a mixture of the first and second mile combined so we had seen that part of the course already.

Then the last .1 I just powered through like the mac truck I pretend to be because there was no way I was going to be over 20 minutes.

I crossed the finish in 19:59.

After being asked if I had graduated and then causing the race director to be flabbergasted that I graduated college nearly two years ago I headed for a cool down.

Thoughts regarding this race:

My watch measured it as 3.2.  I personally consider anything at 3.2 to be a long 5k course.  Anything under 3.2 I consider that I didn’t run the tangents well and it’s not long.  With all the 180 turns I know I should be ok with running a 19:59.  I’m still rather upset about it though.  I think there were a lot of factors: long course, 4 180 turns, lots of turns that weren’t 180 and wind that played a role in a slower time.

I know I need to give it time but it’s still frustrating in my opinion.  I’m doing the rest of the series (there are 3 more) so hopefully I’m able to improve on my time.  Regardless I still had an enjoyable time and finished injury free so I can’t complain.  Running a 5k PR just seems so far in the distance right now.

Questions for you:

Have you ever had to cross a stream when running a race?  Have you ever fallen during a race?

This was the first time I crossed a stream.  I’ve fallen a few times in college cross country races.  I nearly got spiked in the face at one of them.  I was able to make a pretty solid recovery though.

What 5k time do you constantly try and achieve, as your “C” goal?

For me it’s always 20 minutes, that being said I’d rather run 20+ and be injury free then run a 19 flat on an injury.

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  1. The C goal for me is under 24. That would be when the weather is hot, or if I’m coming off a long week of workouts, not feeling well, etc.

    Congrats on your OA win even if you’re not 100% happy with your race… that’s awesome that you passed so many women (and men) to get that time and that you squeeked in under 20 minutes even if it wasn’t easy. I saw where you won a coffee mug too which is super cool.

  2. I fell flat on my rear end during my first and only trail race last September (pretty sure we crossed a stream in that too) and have decided that I will not be running in one of those anytime soon, if ever again. It was a good experience, though, and made me really appreciate road running/racing haha. I’m not sure what I would use for a C goal in a 5K since I’ve never run one. With where I am right now, anything under 24-25 would make me really happy, but it would depend on the day. Congrats on the great placement, hun. I truly can’t imagine ever finishing a 5K under 20 minutes and think it’s pretty amazing that you do it consistently

  3. Great job on getting under 20 on what sounded like a tough course. I really despise turn around a on a race course it steals so much of your momentum and speed. I’ve never had to cross a river while racing on a road course. I did fall one time warming up for a track meet in high school. It was pretty embarrassing I was doing strides and their were pebbles on the track and I slipped. I think my “C” goal is to be under 16:30 for road races. Although running a 17:35 at Bells Mills on Saturday during bother me much since the course was flooded.

    1. I saw that course and oh my lanta it looked rough. Plus Bells Mill is notoriously long? (My brother told me about that last year since hs always races on it). Nice work.

      1. Thanks, it was so much fun. I just enjoyed playing in the mud plus the photos look super cool with me all muddy.

  4. Awesome – I grew up in Manalapan, right next to Freehold. I don’t know if you’ve checked out the Browning Ross Winter series down by Rowan but they run events every weekend too (it sounds a lot like Freehold).

  5. I don’t really run 5ks but I usually used 38 as my C goal in a 10k. I’ve never had to cross a stream but my cross team did this year at a race I missed while I was still out. It was more of a river, nearly knee deep for the girls and at least 10-12 steps across!

  6. I am also running a winter series! I was able to win the first one of four, now I just have to hold my standing! YIKES! It’s fun having races like this in the winter, gives some excitement to the monotonous training right?! For me right now, considering my fitness- anything below 00:19:00 is an amazing time! Congrats on your run!

    1. Anything below 19 would be a dream come true for me right now but I don’t see that coming anytime soon. PS: We need to schedule a long run sometime in the future!

  7. Congrats on the win, and for sneaking under 20 mins on a tough course! Did Tim run it too? Do you find yourself shortening your stride in flooded sections or do you wing it through? I’ve crossed a lot of streams in trail running and orienteering, and have found that running on my toes in those sections gives me a lot of stability. Thanks for the authentic recap, you’re an inspiration!

  8. Congrats Hollie! I try to get under 19 minutes as my “C” goal but the 5K is just so brutal. I feel like I can bust my tail so hard and have it only result in a 5 second difference than if I cruise it, ha.

    1. Oh my god that is exactly how I feel. It’s the difference of about 15 seconds (5 seconds per mile) that I’m either in cardiac arrest about to peel over..or can hold it for another 5 miles.

  9. I had to cross a stream-like flood/body of water during one of the tris I did last summer. The race date was the day after Hurricane Andrea, so parts of the bike course were flooded. Suffice to say, that was not my fastest bike split of the year.

  10. Not a runner but I love reading running recaps- especially the commentary between each part of it- except for the damn converting km to miles. And lol at that comment about graduation- hi 5 to looking like little kids?

    I’ve run a few fun runs here (5ks too) and I try to get 25 minutes. We have an underwear run coming up. Maybe the lack of clothing might see me reach that goal 😉

  11. Running in the wind is my absolute least favorite thing. Good job pushing though anyway! I ran a turkey trot one year when it was in the low 30’s, straight up a hill against 25mph wind. It was miserable.

  12. I definitely ate it during a 180 turn at the Cupids Chase 5k (at Onondaga Lake Park) last year, first and only fall (so far, lol). I’m aiming for anything under 22 minutes if its hilly, windy, and especially if it’s snow covered on the running surface.

  13. At one point, I was much faster and ran a 24:57, but now adays I pretty much aim for under 30 minutes haha. Oh man, I need to commit more to fitness!

  14. You’re complaining after WINNING the race??!! Jeez, woman!! Though that IS a good sign you’re a CHAMPION!!
    As for experience in races crossing streams….how about a RIVER??
    It’s the Trinidad-Clam Beach race in Humboldt County, CA.
    Trinidad is a picturesque tiny (pop about 300) town 15 miles north of Arcata, where HSU is.
    This race is an annual race held in February, is 8.5 miles long, and is dubbed the “Humboldt County Olympics”.
    All the greatest HSU alums/current runners run this…..and HSU has had several National Class runners……so it’s a BIG deal!!
    I ran it most years I lived there… best time being 52:23 (about 6:09 pace).
    The route is scenic (to say the least!!!!!), starting about 3 miles above the “town” of Trinidad.
    The road is curvy, right along the ocean, with shrubbery & trees your view, plus 100’s of runners.
    Rolling hills throughout, after 6 miles, there’s a SHARP drop (I mean SHARP!!!!!!) down to the beach.
    But I loved running downhill, so I KILLED it….full speed ahead!
    At the beach, you have the option to remove your shoes and run barefoot the last 2.5 miles (on hard sand), or keep them on.
    I normally removed them. (They bring them to the finish after the race!!)
    Reason being, you need to cross the “Little River”.
    It’s sometimes just ankle-deep, but sometimes it gets up to your knees!!
    I LOVED that part!!
    But it’s not wide, so 2 or 3 long strides, and you hit the hard sand.
    Then it’s just a LONGGGGGGGGGG straight dash to the finish line.
    Seems easy, but you keep on seeing the finish line, with a cheering crowd awaiting you.
    You keep running, moving fast, and STILL, the finish seems SOOOOO close!
    And you keep on going and keep on going…until FINALLY the finish is THERE!!
    The CR’s were (when last I lived there) were something like 39:32 for the men (about 4:39 per mile) and 49:28 (??) for the women, about 5:50 per mile).

  15. You’re not supposed to be so hard on yourself! It was wind! You had to turn around! And after taking time off running, you’re still getting back into it! No big deal! You’ll PR again and you STILL made it under 20! I think you did a great job!

  16. I can’t imagine that many 180’s in a 5k race. seriously that would destroy me.

    My goals for 5ks are pretty much to keep my ass under 20. I guess I don’t race them as much as I used to, so its hard for me to have a real definite time goal. But I’m with you on the 20 thing.

    As for crossing a stream AND falling during a race. I have done both and actually in the same race. It was my first ever trail race back in 2010. had to cross a stream in middle and late on in the race, I fell and did a somersault on the flattest clearest part of the course (figures)

  17. I’m sorry that you didn’t run the race that you wanted, but the fact that you won, says that the course/conditions probably affected everybody, and you dealt with them the best. Congrats.

  18. My 5k PR is 18:32, but the last race I ran was 21:09. I haven’t actually gone sub-20 since 2009. When everything is changing in your life, it’s ok to prioritise other things. Some days it’s been hard for me to accept that I might not be able to get the quantity of consistency that I need to run that fast again but when I think of all the other things that I have achieved in that time, that I might not have done if I’d been a slave to my running schedule, I don’t regret it. At 25 I’m director of a charity and in the summer I’ll qualify as a lawyer. Whilst to be able to do that and run 18:30s would be nice, I have to be a realist, as there are only so many hours in the day!

    The ‘C goal’ for me is always finishing uninjured with a smile on my face. If you can do that then tomorrow anything is possible.

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