Race to Neverland 5k (20:20)

On Sunday I ran the Race to Neverland 5k.  It was a small, local 5k in the area.  In South Jersey you can pretty much point to any road and say “there will probably be a 5k here in the next month”.   There are at least 2 each weekend within 20 miles of my house.  Needless to say this was a rather small 5k.

My goal of the summer is to work a lot more on the 5k distance.  With 5ks, I can run less miles, less long runs and work on speed and turn over. This month the only goal is to get comfortable with the 5k distance.  Next month I’ll try and add speed workouts and go from there!

The race started at 9am and we arrived at 8:15.  There were 3 cars in the parking lot.  It might have been the smallest race I’ve ever participated in.  It only had about 50 people.  After picking up our numbers we went for a warmup.  My legs felt awful.  The heavy legs was a combination of more training miles and Broad Street last weekend.

After warming up, we chatted with personal friend and Saucony Rep Austin.  They ended up delaying the start by 10 minutes because the volunteers forgot to show up to mark off the course.  HA!

Austin and I
Austin and I

The race blow horn went off and the race finally started around 9:10.  I found myself immediately in fourth place (where I stayed the entire time).  Austin and another male were battling for first, Tim in third and myself in fourth.

The course consisted of two big loops and then back to the start.  The first mile I ran in 6:23. At that point I knew there wasn’t much hope to break 20 minutes.  It was hot, humid and I didn’t have the leg strength in me.  I wasn’t going to live obliviously and think I could hold a sub 6:27 pace (to break 20).  I just kept going.

The second mile I began passing people in the first mile (since the second mile was the same loop as the first mile).  After weaving in and out of people, I made the turn into the third mile.  The second mile I ran in 6:32 which honestly was a lot better than I felt.  In my personal racing the third mile of a 5k is riding the pain train.

Around mile 2.5, the course headed towards the finish.  The policeman said “little lady I think you had another lap to go…”.  No sir, I am almost done…ha.   As a 5’7 and 24 year old, I would hardly consider myself a little lady either…

I crossed the finish line in 20:20 and fourth overall.

It wasn’t a great race or time for me but it gave a baseline.  I can’t pretend I’m a 19 minute fitness level because I’m not.  In order to get better at 5ks, I must actually do more 5ks.  So onward and upward.  Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll be consistently under 20 minutes again.

Questions for you:

What is the smallest race you’ve ever done?

I know I’ve asked before but what is your 5k strategy?

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  1. So how many runners were there in total? I would have a hard time taking it as a run with such few people, but I guess it’s a good thing if you’re just using it as a tune-up sort of race. At least there are less people to weave through unlike Broad Street. You went from one extreme to another haha!

  2. Ugh, that policeman would have so pissed me off. Anyway, glad you got a good baseline of your current fitness and it will be interesting to see what you do this summer with your 5k time!

  3. How condescending is that policeman!? Well done on fourth!
    In the UK we have a thing called parkrun and it’s basically a free 5k timed event run all over the country every single Saturday. It’s in the same place each time in the different areas and completely run by volunteers (I’m lucky to have about 4 close by to me). I’m amazed there aren’t more in the US (I think there are like three). It’d be great for you because you could chart your times each week as your times get uploaded to your profile online – and it’s free. Just an observation!

  4. I really need to get back into doing more 5Ks again. Even though they’re painful, I really enjoy them. I’m with you on your race strategy- just go out and hang on as long as you can through that 3rd mile. I’m excited to see how this training cycle works for you 🙂

  5. I think the smallest race I’ve ever done was maybe 100 people? Not totally sure. It was also a really small, local 5k. I love the more homegrown type races! And plus usually they have homemade baked goods at the finish 🙂 I really should start racing shorter races – my strategy is to go as hard as I can and just try to hold on. It has yet to be completely successful…

    1. Chelsie! I was thinking about you the other day and I’m truly glad to hear from you. I never match so I think this was once in a lifetime for me!

  6. Oh, I hate being called “Little Lady”. Or worse yet, someone asking me which high school I run XC for. It doesn’t happen as much here because I know most runners and most people know me now.

    I ran a 5K once with 9 people. I don’t know why it was so small except they really messed up the dates and there were 2 other races that day… in a very small town. I was 2nd female overall, haha. Glad I knew the course. Here, even the small races are at least 100 people. I like small races, but I prefer at least 100-200 runners. To me 300 or so in a 5K is just perfect. In a really small one I would be scared I might get lost, like if there are a lot of turns and not many runners ahead of me, or you can’t see the other runners bc they are so far ahead, etc. I think Mile 2 of the 5K is hardest and usually my slowest mile. The last mile I keep thinking about how I only have to run for 8 more minutes and that helps mentally.

    Congratulations on the win! You did a great job with the 5K, time wise, even if you didn’t break 20. It was a small race and sometimes I think that is harder, if I have a good crowd of people to pull me along I usually get a better time. Plus it was hot and delayed due to the volunteers not showing up! I am sure you will log better times as you run more 5Ks and also get back into consistency after the injury + wedding + honeymoon.

  7. Congrats! 4th overall is awesome, and first female is even better! My strategy is not to die – wish I had something more interesting, but that’s about it!

  8. I think the smallest race I’ve done in terms of category only had about 25 people (for a marathon, but there were others doing a relay at the same time). I do prefer tiny races though, simply because I don’t have to be so scared of the crowds and the possibility of being crushed and/or tripped over.

    You ran my 5K PB 😉 That was from 2008 or 9 I think though. I doubt I’d be able to go under 23 odd minutes now! I never have any real strategy for races…I think for 5Ks I just used to push as hard as I possibly could and try not to throw up in the process.

  9. My speed workout taught me today I need to focus more on turnover too. 400s were on the docket, and I knew in order to hit the target pace, I’d need to turn over my legs super quickly. My cadence is usually pretty good, but man, my legs/butt were ready to fall off after the sixth repeat!

    1. I’m oddly excited to begin speed workouts….I don’t know if there has ever been a time I could say that!

  10. Congrats on your race! I’m also hoping to massively get down my 5K times this summer… but it is just such a scary distance – so much more pain than I’m used to. I’m definitely looking forward to reading your tips for getting faster here 🙂

  11. I’ve done maybe one or two 5Ks with 30-ish people. I think 5K races are the most fun ever so I’m always really confused when I show up to a race and there aren’t millions of people there. My 5K strategy is evolving a little bit; I still want my first mile to be the fastest, but instead of going balls to the walls at the start, I think it makes sense to hang back for the first 5-10 seconds to assess the field and lessen the shock to your system. That cop is the WORST, btw!

    1. There are so many 5ks around us this time of year they I feel like you can do a ton that have less than 50 people!

  12. I run 5ks differently than most races – The first KM is always super fast, usually my fastest KM. Then I slow down a bit for KM 2-4, then KM 5 is all out. I always get surprised about how short that KM can be at the end and feel like I should run a bit faster or go faster sooner.

  13. The trail races around here are pretty small. I like that sense of community. Everyone talks so much and it’s friendly competition. I’d say the smallest race I was in was a fun one mile run at a local festival. My friend and I made sure to run slow enough to take selfies 😎

  14. That is still an awesome race even if it wasn’t your best! That’s kind of an obnoxious comment from the cop, but whatever. Bet he wouldn’t have said that to a man.

  15. Congrats on your finish! I think the smallest race I’ve done is about 100 ppl. It is a strange feeling but I appreciate the dedication involved since most of the time these races don’t offer a lot of bells and whistles.

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