I went to the Runners World Half Marathon Festival with no major race goals. I went to have fun and enjoy myself (which I did)! My plan, if you call it that, was to work hard in the 5k. Whatever happened in the half marathon was the whipped cream to my coffee (IE: bonus). The 5k is what I’ve focused on for the last four months. So last weekend I continued to concentrate on the 5k.
My training leading up to the festival is here. At the Festival, I decided to run the 5k and 13.1. I am obviously clumsy and injury prone so I did not want to risk falling during the Altra trail run. I thought adding the 10k was too much for me personally. I applaud my fellow bloggers that can handle that!
Anyways, I didn’t set my alarm for the race, and it backfired as always. I woke up at 6:30, when realistically I would have liked to wake up at 5:30. Oh well, I ate breakfast and jogged down to the starting line. I wasn’t stressed since I had everything I needed. I hid my bag in the bushes (if they really wanted a pair of smelly running shoes…go for it) and ran a 3 mile warm up. I met up with Allie and Laura at the starting line, and before I knew it, we were off.
The race started, and I got caught up in the moment. I knew the 5k was hillier than what I’m used too, and the crowds were flying. Like any race, I also knew I shouldn’t take it out too fast. The race started, and I found myself running near several of the Runners World editors. Talk about a crazy crowd!
During the first mile, I found myself as second place women. The first place woman was about 10 seconds in front of me, and I was desperately trying to catch her. We ran up a bridge and then back down. I hit the first mile in 6:03. I knew 6:03 is a little faster than my usual first mile (Normally my first mile is between 6:05-6:10 and those five seconds makes a lot of difference. This course was uphill during the first mile as well.).
I thought to myself…either I will ride the pain train home, or this might finally be the race I run under 19 minutes again. During mile two, we doubled back over the bridge, and I saw many Runners World bloggers who cheered me on!
I was feeling good, and the second mile was fast. I can’t think of a single 5k where my second mile is the fastest. The combination of the downhill, cheering and adrenaline caused me to run a 5:50. That is my fastest mile in over a year! That led to riding the pain train home.
As usual, the third mile was about “holding on”. Several people including another woman passed me. As we went uphill, she surged by me like I was standing still. She later went on to win the 10k and hat trick! It was a little bit demotivating to see so many people pass me, but I knew I had taken the race out of my comfort zone. I knew I was giving the race everything I had, and there were faster runners out there.
Not only did I take it out faster but I did so on a harder course! (hashtag #derp). During the final mile, I held on for dear life and just hoped I could finally break 19 again. When I reached mile 3 at 18:15, I knew I was close. I sprinted as hard as I could, high-fived Bart Yasso and crossed the finish line in 18:56.
I finished as 3rd women overall with an 18:55 chip time and 18:56 gun time. Since I placed overall, gun time wins.
I’m happy with the race. I will never complain about progression, and the course was much harder than I’m used too. To be honest, I’m beginning to wonder if I thrive more on courses which elevation change. I do believe, however, on a flatter course, I could be closer to 18:40. I just have to wait for another good day and a good course.
In summary, I am progressing, and I had a good race.
Questions for you:
Do you thrive more on hilly courses or flat courses?