I had no idea how this race would go. My legs were fatigued from running longer than anticipated the day before. Regardless of the race outcome, I knew the race would be a great workout. That’s the mentality I’ve gone to most of my races with. If I surprise myself with a PR, great, but if it doesn’t happen, the race still served as a workout. Most of the time, I don’t surprise myself.
The promise of unlimited grilled cheeses and tomato soup after the race sounded promising too.
My husband and I arrived at Washington Crossing Park around 9. We warmed up about 3 miles and headed to the race start. The race went off at 10 with no hiccups. There was a lead cyclist who led us all around the course which was nice because the course was confusing.
The first mile ran a huge loop around the park and fields. I found it hard to get a good groove. We ran over all types of terrain, and I was more focused on not falling than anything else. I found myself stride for stride with another woman. We crossed under the finish line around .75 and began to run down a soft canal path. I passed the first mile in 6:09. My legs were tired, but they weren’t as tight as I thought they would.
The second mile was low key. I was caught behind a male who took one stride for every two I took. I crossed the second mile in 6:04. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep that pace. My calves were tight.
During the third mile, we did a complete 180 turn and headed towards the finish line. I got caught between two people during the turning point and almost made a dead stop. After we turned around, I made my move and surged passed a few other racers. After that, I found myself alone. Racers were coming the opposite direction cheering. I hit the third mile in 5:59. I was pleased but also surprised. After that, I surged and gave the race everything I had.
I wasn’t sure how much of a lead I had, but I focused on finishing. I was tired and was running hard. I hit the 5k point in 18:50. Like racing the 6k in college, I thought…goodie a bonus round! Around 3.5, the lead cyclist came back and picked me up. I always appreciate races with lead cyclists for females as well. As I approached the finish line, I heard footsteps behind me. With a quarter of a mile to go, I surged and powered to the end. I crossed the finish line completely exhausted. I led the race for most of it and didn’t want to give that up. I gave all of the energy I had in the last mile and ran the fourth mile in 5:52. That last mile hurt.
My final time was 23:58 which was a course record! I had no idea until they announced my name.
This race was almost 50 seconds faster than the Super Hero 4 miler last month. I’m surprised considering my mileage and legs were fatigued. The race was a confidence booster because I haven’t been the greatest the last week or so. I excuted good negative splits during the race which indicates that if I went out harder and tapered I could have a an even stronger race.
My dream in college was to break 6 min/mile in a cross country 6k. Two injuries including a stress fracture plagued me so that never happened. Don’t get me wrong, I loved college running but I never had a season I was all that proud of. Racing a sub 6 min race on that terrain gave me flashbacks to cross country.
Questions for you:
Do you like cross country style races or do you prefer pavement?
What is your favorite grilled cheese combination?