After running any race, I am obligated to do a recap of how it went. My half marathon training plan called for a 5k race at the end of week 3, and I was able to find one!
Race Morning Recap
I felt great the morning of the race, and really felt like it could be a PR kind of day (my last PR was 28:00, set on Veteran’s Day in Ohio), despite the fact that it was only 25 degrees.
My husband planned to run this race with me, since it was a Valentine’s race after all. He pretty much runs in circles around me when I’m giving my best effort which is SUPER frustrating, but I appreciate that he runs with me so we can spend more time together. He doesn’t really like running, yet he has a hard time sitting on the sidelines waiting for me to finish.
The race was in the same location as the Thanksgiving 10k I ran a few months ago, so we were familiar with the area. We arrived, picked up our packets, and headed back to the car to keep warm. About 30 minutes prior to the race start, we jogged around the block and did some stretching to warm-up but tried to keep from sweating so we wouldn’t get cold. I made a final bathroom stop and we headed back to the car (which was super close to the starting area) to stay warm in the final 15 minutes. 5 minutes prior to the start, we shed our warm layers and headed out to the starting chute.
The beginning of the race was a total cluster, with everyone trying to shoot out too fast. I forced myself to run slow on purpose, because I’ve made the mistake of starting too fast before.
My goal pace for the race was 9:00, because a 9:04 average pace would tie my last PR. I figured if I could hit 9:00 average, then I would definitely PR this race.
After the first half mile, MapMyRun told me the bad news, the first split was a 9:48 pace.
Time to pick it up. I focused on keeping my effort light while churning my cadence quicker. The second split was quicker, just under 9 minutes, but my average was still at 9:15…too slow for a PR.
From there, I focused on keeping my effort just under the 9 minute pace, hoping I could make up for my lost 20 seconds at the beginning of the race. I held it for a little while, but I got a nasty side stitch and slowed to around a 9:15 pace while I focused on breathing through the cramp.
I passed SO MANY PEOPLE between the 0.50 mile mark and the 2 mile mark.
At the 2 mile mark, my side stitch had subsided, and I made a quick stop to pull a rock out of my shoe. The rock had lodged itself right on top of my heel. Grr…
After we passed the 2 mile mark, I told my husband to run ahead and get some pictures of me in action. The whole run up until this point had been a moderate jog for him, so he easily took off ahead of me.
I focused on holding my pace and keeping my cadence quick.
When I rounded the corner and hit the 3 mile mark, I knew I had to kick it down with all I had. It was going to be really close if I was going to make this race a PR.
I was actually surprised at how easily I was able to kick down my pace and sprint out the last 0.1 miles, since I had previously thought I was dying. I’m pretty sure I passed at least 7 people before the finish line.
I finished right behind this really cute couple who was all dressed up, so my pictures didn’t really turn out.
Apparently, I need to learn how to run THROUGH the finish line and not just TO the finish before checking my watch. Ugh…I’m not very photogenic when running.
As it turns out, I TIED my previous personal record!
This is a funny feeling because technically I didn’t PR. I don’t really feel like I did since I don’t get to change the time on my PR board. Looking back, I feel like there were so many little things I could’ve done differently. I could have run a little faster at the beginning or the rock could have stayed out of my shoe. My final kick could have started earlier, or I could have RAN THROUGH THE FREAKING FINISH LINE instead of slowing down 10 feet before it.
However, I know this race proves my fitness has improved.
My previous finish of 28:00 was set in Ohio, which was around 400’ in elevation. This race was in Utah, which rests at around 4200’ in elevation…HUGE difference. If you’ve never run at elevation before, don’t underestimate the effect it can have on you. I’ve personally found the same perceived effort be around 30 seconds to 1 minute difference in pace per mile. Huge.
I’m looking forward to the effects of training at elevation in Utah, and then running the Air Force Half Marathon in Ohio this September.
After we cooled down and got back to the car, I opened my email on my phone and the race results were already there. I had placed 3rd in my age group! My husband was curious what his official time was, and he placed 2nd in his age group as well!
We got some cute mugs and called it a day.
I launched my Pinterest page this week, have you seen it yet??
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About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>