Going into the race, I knew it would be a tough morning since I haven't done much hillwork lately. The good thing was that the weather cooperated and it was a brisk - but sunny - morning with temps in the upper 30s/low 40s. This meant I finally got to race in my Oiselle singlet and shorts again! Not being weighed down by a bunch of layers made me feel like a faster time might still be possible.
My plan was to race a smart first mile and not push too hard to conserve energy for a monster hill in mile 3. But, that's not what happened. Instead, I ran a 6:36 mile to start the race. Since there was a large hill during this mile, I didn't think I was going that fast. Although I was working hard, I really thought I could maintain the pace for the rest of the race. I told myself it was time to pay the price!
Photo by Bill Flaws - Running in the USA
Well, pay the price I did. Things started feeling tough as I ran up a hill during mile 2. When we took a right turn and started up a small, but steady incline to the turnaround point, I was struggling. The main thing that kept me going at that point was knowing I had a bit of a downhill stretch after the turnaround. But my pace still slowed dramatically - 7:18 for mile two.
During mile three, my pace slowed even more. I could see the final hill looming in the distance and didn't know how I was going to get up and over it. As I stumbled up the hill, I told myself it was less than a mile to go - do not walk! I made it about halfway up the hill ... and then I walked. After about 10 seconds of walking, I made myself start running again only to have to take another short walk break after getting to the top of the hill. Ugh!!! I was so disappointed in myself for taking not just one, but two walk breaks during a 5k. So terrible. I knew these little breaks were costing me all sorts of time but my legs wouldn't keep going.
I could have walked the rest of the race but somehow got going again and ran the downhill. At that point there was maybe a quarter mile left in the race but it felt like a marathon. I was riding the struggle bus and couldn't manage any type of kick. It was basically a crawl to the finish line with me hoping no one would try to pass in the last stretch because I didn't have the strength to run any faster. Mile 3 = 7:30.
Pace: 7:04 min/mile
Gender Place: 8/290
Age Group Place: 3/50
I was toast after the race - barely enough energy to run back on the course and run Mom in to the finish line. But it's tradition, so I managed!
With our medals, after the race!
As I wrote about the race in my Believe training journal, I decided the race was both good and bad. Good in that I can't believe I ran that fast for the first mile, even with the big hill - and it didn't feel too hard. Perhaps I will be able to run a similar pace later this year on a flatter course for an entire race! Of course, the bad is that I walked. I can't believe I did that, however what's done is done.
I learned a valuable pacing lesson with this one. But it's like Coach Matt said, that's why it's good to have practice races before a goal race. So you can get these types of mistakes out of the way!
And just in time, since up next is the Door County 5k - a goal race - so I will have to be on my A game with smart pacing!
My questions for you:
- Did you race last weekend? If so, how was your race?
- What is your typical race strategy - start fast and try to hang on or start conservatively and aim for a negative split and/or fast finish?
- What are you most looking forward to this week?
I'm excited to nail every. single. workout. No slacking this week!