Jumping into a race after time off is always humbling. Last week, I ripped off the band-aid and ran a 5k in Wilmington. Before the race, I didn’t look at the course terrain or elevation. I just saw the date, time and that I could make it to work on time. When my husband and I got there, we realized how hilly the race would be.
I had no goals race the race. I wanted to finish healthy and injury free. Spoiler: I did just that. The night before, I had a migraine. I hadn’t slept the best during the last week, so I ended up falling asleep at 8 pm and slept until 6 am. When I woke up, I had my doubts I even wanted to do the race, but my husband asked: so when are we leaving…I groaned and said in an hour.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to race but I knew it would be a shock to the system.With that, we arrived for the race, signed up and did a 3-mile warmup. I felt fine warming up, but I knew the hilly course would make it a difficult course whether I was in shape or not.
There was both a 5k and 10k starting together, and the races went off together. The first mile went almost exclusively uphill. I was running with a pack of people, and I felt good. I thought: surely I must be going around 6:30 miles. I crossed the first mile in 6:55. I was shocked but happy with my effort.
The next mile continued to climb. I’ve run several races in Wilmington, so I knew the general terrain and area. As we reached the halfway turnaround, I saw my husband in second overall but was quickly catching the first place. He looked comfortable. We turned around and headed back towards where we came. I crossed the second mile in 7:01 and thought: I guess a 21 minute 5k is probably going to be out of my reach today.
I never felt bad during the last mile, but not in shape either. I just charged back to the start. I passed one person and finished the last mile in 6:30. I was pleasantly surprised.
I finished the 5k in 21:00 exactly. My slowest 5k in a very long time? Yes but I’m pleased with my race. My goal was to finish healthy and strong which I did. The course was difficult. My husband ran an 18:30 which id about 90 seconds slower than he has been recently running (so it gives me more confidence it was a challenging course).
Is it hard not to compare myself to when I was running 18:30 a few months ago? Of course, but I’m happy with how I ran and I’m looking forward to gaining back my fitness.
Questions for you:
What is the most difficult course you’ve run?