I went into this race with zero expectations. My original plan was to run an 8k on Sunday, however as I said in my training log, there wasn’t enough time in the day. I wasn’t able to make it to work after the race. I didn’t think I would do any race last weekend, but found this race the night before.
The night before, my husband went on a date to a local seafood and Greek restaurant. One of my favorite foods is Octopus, and when I see it on the menu, I almost always order it. We enjoyed our date with no limits of food choices. Needless to say, not only was the timing of the race off, but my stomach also was not exactly properly fueled (more on that later).
When we found the race later in the evening, we still decided to go for it. Why not? It was surprisingly big and had about 1000 finishers.
We arrived to Philadelphia around 8, signed up and warmed up. By the time I knew it, the race was off at 9 am. I found myself at first woman overall. There was a large pack of men in front but for the most part, I found running myself alone for most of the race.
The first mile went by without much note, and I crossed the in 5:57. I was surprised. For half of a second, I thought I might be able to break 30 minutes. I quickly laughed because that was not happening.
During the second mile I knew I wasn’t able to hold that pace, and I was going to regress.
I worried, did I take the race out too fast? (Yes). The 5k I ran a 6:06, 6:32, 6:59 split, will always haunt me. I worried it would go something like that…
I knew I was fading, but I wasn’t sure by how much. I promised to make it through the half way point before mentally reevaluating. I hit the second mile in 6:05. It wasn’t as bad as I thought but I also knew I couldn’t hold that pace either.
The course was out and back, and this race had one of the best turnaround points. It was wide, and I hit the halfway point at 15:10.
Immediately after the turn, we were greeted by a headwind. I saw a pack of three women not too far behind. Going from first to fourth isn’t a great mental feeling. I hit the third mile in 6:10 and the 5k in 18:45.
I gave myself a mini pep talk of “two miles to go” and all aboard the mini pain train. I zoned out and dreamed of the finish line and possibly lunch too.
The fourth mile was where my leg fatigue and dinner caught up with me. I didn’t feel great, but I went from bad to worse. My stomach started rumbling, and I felt the octopus from the previous night.
Since it was an out and back course, there were hundreds of people staring and cheering. To make matters worse, a cyclist rode alongside and started talking to me…I wasn’t sure how to politely tell him to go away, so I let silence set in. It was either silence or projectile octopus…I hit the fourth mile in 6:12.
During the fifth mile, we caught up with the two-mile walkers. It was frustrating because I spent extra energy weaving and it was energy I did not have. Seeing walkers gave me more mental stimulation to take my mind off of “.9 to go”…”.89 to go”…
By the time I knew it, I crossed the finish line. I ran the last mile in 6:14 and crossed in 30:37.
I surprised myself and raced decently on tired legs. It gives me confidence in racing both a tapered 5 mile race and 10k. I believe I could race a 37:30-38:00 10k on tapered legs.
This race felt more like a workout than race, but I felt good finishing it. I have a few races coming up that I plan to rest and properly fuel. I don’t intend to give up date nights and have no regrets on the Octopus.
Questions for you:
Have you run a 5-mile race before?
Do you like Octopus?
You can see a photo on my Instagram here.