Polar Bear 5k (18:42)

Polar bear 5k atlanta me running

My husband and I wanted to get out of town for the weekend. We have been to Atlanta before, and since it was only a 2.5-hour drive from Montgomery, we opted to drive out there. Along the way, we discovered a few 5ks and decided to run the Polar Bear 5k. When we arrived at the race on Saturday morning, we quickly realized how big the race was. Over 1000+ people were running. To be honest, I thought it was going to be a 200-300 person race but the more, the better.

After warming up on the course, I noticed it was a flatter Atlanta course. I’ve run a few races in Atlanta (One before blogging and the Haunted Hustle 5k), and this was definitely the flattest. Was it flat? No, but it was flat for Atlanta. I wasn’t concerned as I had a workout anyways.

I had a workout for the day, and the goal was to run 2X5k at 6:45 pace. That did not happen. I ran the race as the first 5k, and it was faster than my coach wanted.

The race started at 8:30 am, and it was congested. I nearly fell over a young child. It was impossible to start any closer to the front, but I wasn’t really concerned. During the first half mile, I ran in a huge pack. In fact, the entire race was a giant pack of people, and you ran almost elbow to elbow with others. Somewhere around .66, a woman shouted, “you’re almost halfway there, ” and I responded with, we aren’t even a third there. I crossed the first mile in 6:00 exactly.

During the second mile, I was able to get my bearings of how many men and women were ahead. I noticed there were a few women in front of me, but I was towards the front. I saw my husband in the chase pack, and I was happy he seemed to be doing ok. I passed a couple of women and by the time I knew it, I crossed mile 2 in 5:55.

The third mile was just focused on finishing. By the mile 3, I found myself as first woman overall and we were running near the walkers who were all cheering. We climbed a small hill followed by a downhill. I crossed the third mile in 5:58.

The last portion of the race made a huge U and finished in the parking lot. I lost a lot of momentum with the U finish, but I crossed in 18:42. My garmin said the course was a bit long but who knows.


I’ve run several 18:30-18:45 5ks (including the 5k in Birmingham 2 weeks ago) in the last few months. In November, I raced the Medford Lakes turkey trot in 18:30. It was a flat, fast course on a beautiful day and I felt awesome. On Sunday, I raced the Polar Bear 5k in 18:42 on a more challenging course and I didn’t feel great. I know I’m making improvements but haven’t had a race where I’m tapered and it all clicked. That will have to wait as I’ll be tapering for a few half marathons in the Spring.

Questions for you:

What is the biggest race you’ve run?

How do you stay motivated during a plateau?

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  1. Woohoo! … AND you continued to run another 5K after the race, which I’m sure no one else did. Once we reach a specific level with our running (or swimming or biking or whatever sport), it takes much more concentrated training to see improvement; we have to fight for every single second we want to shave off. Keep putting in the work! I cannot wait to see how you do (tapered!) in the spring.

  2. The woman who said you were almost halfway there made me laugh. I ran a half marathon on Saturday and a volunteer helping direct the runners told me at mile 4 that I was almost there. I looked down at my watch and looked at her and said, yep! Only 9 miles to go! With a surprised look she just said, Oh! and pointed me in the direction I needed to go. I think I ran the next mile laughing to myself about it. I ended up finishing in 1:39:58, 3rd AG, new PR!

    1. HA! I’m glad I’m not the only one who was amused. Nice work on your PR Casey! What is next for you?

  3. So jealous of that 5k time haha. Since I’ve only started racing last year, the hardest run I’ve probably done was an 8k. Although entirely flat and on a tarmac, the wind was against me the whole time. I also didn’t train nearly as hard as I should’ve…it was a recipe for disaster!

  4. Such an awesome time! I know what you mean about it all clicking and feeling good- I haven’t had that feeling in a 5k for a long time… I think I need to start running them more often. I’m inspired by how often you race!

  5. The biggest race I’ve run is the Nashville rock n roll marathon. But, as far as shorter distances I guess a local 10k but they only had 500 people give or take. Your speed seriously impresses me…I feel like my body has just gotten comfortable at the 7:00 min per mile pace & doesn’t want to do anything else. So, I’ve been following a new plan that’s been challenging my pace. Although I’m really, really struggling to hit them (feeling slightly discouraged) I’m at least forcing myself to be challenged. So, I suppose challenging yourself in a totally different manner helps break out of that plateau. Guess we’ll see how well it’s been working when I run a 10-miler two weekends from now.

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