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?
None of my road races have been difficult courses in any memorable way, the challenges come when getting off road even a little bit. The most difficult course I’ve run to date was a 10k trail race at Tyler Arboretum in Ridley Creek State Park in PA; rocks, roots and absolutely brutal hills. By comparison, the Valley Forge 5 Miler had challenging hills but was on asphalt multi-use trail loop.
Anywhere out there in PA is tough. I’ve run a couple of times in Ridley State Park and I’ve never been more exhausted. What’s your next race Robert?
I ran a 5K once that was not only very hilly, but they didn’t have good course support, nor did they block streets or anything! We were running along side cars trying to get around us. It was horrid. I don’t even remember my time for that one, I think I have blocked it from my memory!!
My fastest 5K was 29:53 so a 21 min finish would be amazing! You still did very well!
Migraines are the WORST! Glad you were able to get some sleep that evening. Please don’t compare yourself to those 18:30’s I have NO doubt you can get yourself back into that shape in no time if thats what you decide to do. Hope I get a chance to run with you again soon!
I love how you guys run so FAST together and I’m really happy you are pleased with your first race back. I have no doubt you will just continue to build on this…
Well done on the hilly 5k. A great time considering you haven’t been racing for a while.
Also, where’s your sports bra from? Such a nice colour!
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