Panther Prowl 5k (19:04)

This past weekend I ran the Panther Prowl 5k. I started the day on a rough note. I didn’t sleep well; I woke up looking a mess, and I couldn’t find any race shirts/singlets to wear. I have come to realize that my best races come when I am least prepared and don’t sign up until the morning before, and mentally I DGAF.  I guess I’ll continue the trend.

Anyways after getting lost I made it to the race. I signed up and met up with Liz and Chris. We warmed up and headed to the start.  The 5k was relatively small but not the smallest I’ve done by any means.

It was chaotic at the start, and I don’t remember the exact events but all of a sudden we were off.

pitman 5k

During the first mile, I found myself progressing towards first place overall. There were several high schoolers in front of me, but I began to pass them. By mile one, I was tied for first place overall, and there was even a lead police car. I’ve never run a race that I’ve personally got a lead police car! I was running nearly side by a side by a student about a decade younger than me (holy old, that’s fun to say!). I didn’t feel as if I was running well, but I hit the first mile in 6:10.

During the second mile, I was worried I would slow down and be lucky to finish under 20:00. I’ve run plenty of 5ks that I’ve run the first mile in 6:0X and finished the third mile with a 6:5X. My goal of the day was to be more consistent and run under 20:00. To my surprise, I continued to feel good. I began separating myself from the second place person. Despite several elevation changes and small hills, I kept the pace consistent.  It wasn’t an entirely flat course but it wasn’t crazy either. The race had a few sharp uphills that led to gradual downhills. I hit the second mile in 6:15.

During the third mile, I just focused on finishing. The third mile of a 5k is never pleasant and, to be honest; this was no different. The majority of the hills were during the third mile, and there was a little bit of wind as well.  Luckily around 2.6 there was a .1 downhill, and I began to build momentum towards the finish line.  I knew the race ended on the track, but I didn’t realize we were doing an entire 400 around the track. The police car pulled over, and I was pointed in the direction of the track.

There was a point that I was the only person on the track, so I felt like I was doing a speed workout with all eyes on me. I powered through and hit the straight away when the clock was at 18:45. I knew once again I would miss a sub 19 minute 5k, but I wasn’t concerned.

I ran my last mile in 6:10 and finished the 5k in 19:04 and first person overall. I haven’t won a race (for both men and women) in a very long time.

liz chris and i
Myself, Liz and Chris


It’s hard to complain about a race that is a two-year PR and overall win. I’m most proud of myself because my splits were 6:10,6:15, 6:10 (which is my only perfectly executed 5k in a long time). It’s motivating to see my workouts and hard work finally paying off. I’m now 30 seconds away from my PR. Thirty seconds is so close but at the same time so far.

Questions for you:

How do you race 5ks?

Typically I take it out too fast and ride the pain train home.

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  1. 5k? What’s a 5k? At some level, I think I like running marathons more than 5k’s for the exact reason you mentioned…the dreaded last mile! I ran very hilly 5k last December and didn’t die so that was a positive. I might run another one this December, but these are actually the distances I need to start doing more of. But blah, blah, blah…who cares about all that? Congratulations on a perfectly executed race!! It’s always nice to be chasing a police car, as opposed to the other way around! 🙂

  2. Such a great race for you, congratulations!!! I don’t race 5ks often, I just use the distance for a regular training run distance. Way to go getting a police escort and overall win, that is so awesome!

  3. Good job hollie, very nice time, yes your hard work is paying off
    I tend to start out fast and try pace the 2nd and 3rd mile sound 6:15.
    It tuff on last mile, so I need to dicapline myself more on the start.
    Anyways good job on the 5k..

  4. I was really looking forward to reading about this race! Congrats on such a strong, even paced 5K. I’m with you – I go out too fast and ride the pain train the whole way. It’s the only thing I know how to do in a 5K. You rock!!

    1. That’s normally how my 5ks go as well Allison so I completely understand your pain theory LOL.

  5. Great job in this race, and congrats on winning!! I’m the opposite of you, and I always start out way too slow, then have to make up time the entire race. It is always nice to pass people for the second half of a race, but some time I have to actually pace myself so I can do better (and probably be in more pain at mile 3!). Great job Hollie!!

  6. So happy for you! It’s a great feeling to win and I’m glad you ran your fastest time in a couple years. Your hard work is paying off and it’s awesome seeing you feel more and more confident in your running again!

    1. Thanks Sarah, I have always appreciated your support both on and off the internet. I’m super excited for your full marathon debut as well. That is awesome!

  7. That consistency is awesome!! It’s been so fun to watch your progress this summer – virtually of course 🙂
    I haven’t raced a 5k in years. Kind of looking forward to tackling one soon and feeling that pain. Only runners can understand that it’s fun sometimes to feel that!

  8. Well… I was going to do a half marathon on Oct 25th. Those plans haven’t worked out so now I have the opportunity do a 5K in Newton, MA (a mile from my house) on the 25th!

  9. damn, girl. i love your race recap. i absolutely LOVE having fast friends. congrats. and yes, i never race 5ks the right way. i ALWAYS go out way too fast, feel like death and then slog to the finish. they are SO hard!

  10. Awesome, Hollie! Congrats!
    I don’t run 5ks anymore…I think because they are so painful! I prefer the long, torturous, unrelenting pain of marathons. Ha!

    On an unrelated note about getting lost. Have you heard of Waze? Free app. Better than my car’s GPS! Try it!

  11. Congrats on a great race and breaking a two-year plateau. Onwards and upwards (or downwards, since you want the time to be faster) from here.
    My perfect 5ks are also sandwiches, but much more exaggerated. Fast first mile, recover a bit in the second, kick it in for the third. I’d love to be able to do three 6:15 or less splits!

  12. Those splits are amazing! It was so tempting to run through the finish before running around the track, especially seeing the time on the clock. I’m so glad you threw down such a great race. I think it’s so funny we were complaining about how bad we felt before the siren went off… and then ran really fast races. 😂

  13. Congrats on the awesome race and win, Hollie! I haven’t dabbled in many longer distance runs, but I do notice that my 5ks run pretty similarly to yours — I start out way too fast and end up gimping my way through the last little bit.

  14. Great recap HOLZz!! I just ran a small local 5K Saturday night. Three of the miles were over and back on a bridge. I finished first in my age group out of 37! I came in at a 23:47. I don’t know if that’s good or I was the best of a bad group. But I was happy with the time because the bridge was steep and I was still nursing my groin pull .

  15. Congrats on the win! I like to take it steady and then wind it up. My local ‘Parkrun’ (a free timed 5 k race we have in loads of locations) is a 3 lap course so I get good practice at keeping things consistent.

  16. Boom! Super congrats on the overall win. You executed that race precisely too. All-around awesome!

  17. Congrats on the win! You are inching closer and closer to that PR.

  18. Congrats on 1st place! No doubt all that speed work is paying off! Maybe on the next 5k you’ll get a sub 19 minute 5k!

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