Saturday, November 8, 2008

Training Log; 5K Race

Now that I’ve been working out with Will (or at least using his programs) consistently for a couple months, I decided that I wanted to do a 5K race to get a time. Then I’ll do another one (or a dozen!) next year and see whether I've improved. Plus, one of my goals for the Music City Marathon next year is to run in 3:40:00 or under (my previous fastest on this course is 4:16:xx, and it's not the fastest, flattest course, so an improvement of 36 minutes will definitely be a challenge!), and this book that I read, Run Less, Run Faster, says that if you can run a 5K in a certain time, you can qualify for the Boston Marathon (my qualifying time is 3:40, hence the goal).

According to the book, the 5K time that I need is 22:30; that is, if I can run a 5K in 22:30, I should be able to run a marathon in 3:40:00. I don’t know how that all translates and am still trying to figure out the philosophy behind it. I went into the race determined to do my best, to focus on doing everything correctly, and running fast. I wanted to finish somewhere under 21:59, because I know I can run 2 continuous miles under 14:00 and run 3 mile sprints at a 7:05–:08 average (the latter is 21:24 + 0.1 miles; at a 7:08 pace, that should be 22:08. I usually run faster during a race than during training, so it seemed like an attainable goal.

My total time for the Hoover Run for Hope in Brentwood was 22:30, an average pace of 7:14 and exactly what I need for the projected marathon time, so that’s very encouraging. The course was hillier than I expected, too, so I am happy with my time. Plus, I did my best, ran hard, and tried not to slow down at all. Really, I just pushed myself the whole time, trying to do everything right (although I’m quite sure I was way more focused on making my legs move how they were supposed to than I was on any other part of my body, so it’s quite possible that I was leaning the whole time.
  • Mile 1: 6:47. We started at Kenrose Elementary School and there was a gigantic downhill right away; sweet!). At the mile marker, I was told I was the third female, but I knew there were at least 3 women ahead of me. Still, I could see one ahead of me and kept her in my sights; I wasn’t gaining on her, but I wasn’t letting her gain on me, either.
  • Mile 2: 7:33. I guess I slowed down slightly. I think I settled into a rhythm here and just kept plugging along.
  • Mile 3: 7:34. Definitely consistent if nothing else. But this time, I’d seen the 3 women ahead of me who I knew were there. I couldn’t catch any of them, but neither was any of them really gaining much on me. I did turn around near 2.5 miles and saw one girl too close for comfort. I wasn’t going to let her catch me!
  • Mile 3.1: 22:30 total time.
The lady who took the chip off my shoe told me I was the second female. I said “Fourth,” because I’d seen the others. I don’t think I’d ever placed that high in a 5K. Granted, this wasn’t the largest ever (438 finishers), but I was still pretty happy. I was 5th overall female and 2nd in my age group, 52nd overall.

I hung around for the awards ceremony, where I got a water bottle. I’ve definitely gotten better awards at other races. There weren’t even medals, but at least we got T-shirts. Then I went and ran another 7 or so miles with a friend on the trails behind the Brentwood Y (which is why I don’t know how long it was). It was a good run, and it was definitely nice to have someone to run with!

I think I ended up doing around 12 miles total. It took me most of the afternoon to realize this, perhaps because I was thinking about the fact that I wasn't under 22 minutes: I set a new race PR by a full minute (at least by my records; it's possible that I haven't recorded all the 5Ks that I've done). Now I just have to continue getting faster--I know I can!

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