Thursday, July 4, 2013

First 5k on the 4th of July

Happy 4th of July! 

This morning I ran the Merrimack Sparkler 5K in Merrimack, NH.  It was my first 5K.  Kind of funny...6 half marathons, 1 marathon, a 10k and now finally a 5K to add to my list.  I'm not sure why I never ran one before.  I guess I figured if I was going to pay to run a race it should be a long one?  But lately I've started to become pretty curious about what the 5K was all about, so a few weeks ago I decided to sign up for one and give it a try.  

Obviously, I knew nothing about the 5K or what to expect.  My plan was just to try to run fast, and I knew a lot of others would be trying to do the same.  I could go all out for 3.1 miles, right?!  At least I hoped so. 

The weather forecast for today was HOT.  When the race started at 8am it was already close to 80 degrees and over 80% humidity.  Gross.  I don't do well in the heat and humidity.  I tried not to stress about it though and did my best to hydrate my ass off by drinking as much Nuun as I could last night and this morning.  I really wanted to give it all I had.  

Race day attempt at red, white, and blue.

While lined up for the start I was already starting to sweat.  The sun was out, and the weather dudes were actually right.  It was HOT.  I tried not to think about it and just focused on the race.  The gun went off and I started to jog slowly with the big crowd.  It was tough to get around people and I couldn't even really tell where the start line was.  When I got to where I thought it was I started my Garmin.  (The race was timed, but there wasn't a timing mat at the start of the race, only at the finish.  So everyone's time was based on the gun whether you were at the front or the back of the pack ((not sure if that's normal for a smaller race..?)).  The time on my Garmin was almost 30 sec less than what the results said.)

Once I started my watch I was determined to get around people as best I could.  I was there to see what I could do, not get stuck behind people running for the hell of it.  I weaved around a bunch of people, and eventually the crowd started to thin a bit.  We took a turn on to the main road and then another turn on to a back road that was closed for the race.  To my very pleasant surprise, the entire road was basically shaded.  Thank you running Gods!! 

Mile 1: 7:45

I felt ok after the first mile.  Yes, I was hot and already drenched from head to toe in sweat, but my legs felt great and I wasn't breathing too heavily.  I was having fun and enjoying the race.  

Mile 2: 7:36

At the half way point we turned around and ran down the opposite side of the road to the finish.  This is the second race I've ran like that and I really enjoy it.  I love seeing the leaders fly by me and motivate me to keep pushing.  I had friends running the race today as well who I saw on my way back.  It's a fun push to keep going strong.  At least until something goes not quite as planned.

Mile 3 was not exactly the perfect last mile.  I was hot.  Very hot.  Then, my stomach decided to do a little dance that left me scared I was going to need to bolt for the woods...or poop my pants.  Crap.  Literally.  I kept pushing on hoping that it would pass and I would be ok.  Eventually it did pass.  My legs still felt great, but I was tired.  The heat was winning and I was desperately trying to fight the urge to slow way down...or walk.  

C'mon, less than a mile to go.  I could do this.  

Mile 3: 8:00

Not exactly what I was hoping for.  I had hoped to keep a steady pace throughout the race, or at least be under 8/mile each mile.  I knew I was capable of that.  But today, the heat got to me.  

Last 0.1: 0:38

My undeclared (realistic) goal was under 24 minutes.  I stopped my Garmin at the finish and it read 23:58 for an average of 7:44/mile.  I know I have to be happy with this.  Was I hoping for more?  Yes.  Do I think I could have gone a little faster?  Yes, I think so.  BUT less than 6 months ago would I have thought I'd see an average of 7:44/mile?? HELL NO.  Do I want to run another 5K ASAP to try to earn a PR??  HELL YES.  (This one doesn't really count in my mind...since there's nothing to compare it to).             

And with that, it's time to BBQ, relax, and enjoy this holiday.  

yum yum yum

great post race recovery

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