Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Big 5k Race Weekend Recap

It's no secret that I love racing the 5k distance, but this weekend was the first time I've attempted two events in one weekend with just a tad more than 12 hours recovery between races.

To sum it up, it was an experience! I wasn't quite sure how to approach the races. Should I go hard during the first one and take it easy during the second? Run slower during the first race and save it all for the second? Or, race them both?

Of course, who am I kidding?? I decided to race them both and hope for the best. Here's how it all went down:
 

Race 1: Haunted Hustle 5k
I tend to run well at evening races so I had high hopes for this one. My legs were feeling pretty good and the weather conditions were near perfect - just a bit of wind but nothing too major.



Since most people around me were wearing costumes or pushing gigantic strollers (read: did not look very competitive), I decided to line up near the front by a woman who looked like she was there to race. My plan was to stick with her as long as possible.

This turned out to be a bad decision. This woman went out at a fast-for-me pace and since I don't use a watch when I race, it didn't really hit me how fast we were going til I felt like death around mile 1. Yikes! I had to hit the brakes at that point and slowed considerably.

Several women passed me during the next mile, which was pretty demoralizing. I HATE getting passed, but all I could do was keep plodding along. Toward the end of the race, I somehow ended up all alone. Like no one at all in front of me that I could see. It was lonely and made it difficult to hold my pace during the final mile. I couldn't wait for the race to be over and thankfully there was just another quarter mile or so after I made one final turn.

So relieved the race was over!!

Here are my results:
 

Time: 23:13
Pace: 7:29
AG Place: 2/52
Gender Place: 5/297
Overall Place: 11/458

 

Ugh, I was really unhappy when I saw my time and pace. Going out fast for this one proved to be a mistake. My big takeaway: I need to stick with my usual race strategy of lining up a bit further back - further back than I actually need to go - because my best races happen when I go out slower and speed up throughout the race. 

Mom and I after the race with our 'medals'

But, no regrets - every race is a lesson learned :) As for the woman I tried to follow - she ended up averaging around 6:30 pace! My legs can't handle that pace yet for a 5k but someday . . . ;)
 

Race #2: The Pumpkin Run 5k Out of the two races this weekend, this is the one that I really wanted to do well at since it is the first in a six-race series. Points are awarded at every race to runners who place high enough, and at the end of the series, additional series prizes are awarded to overall series winners.

 

After the disastrous race the night before, I wasn't too excited about having to race another 5k just a few hours later. However, I know I can race a lot better than a 23-minute 5k and this was my chance to redeem myself. Plus, a new 5k PR has been calling my name, which means giving nothing less than my best effort. 


This time, I was much smarter and lined up near a few runners who I know run closer to 25 minutes for the 5k distance. I know this sounds like I lined up too far back, but it's actually perfect for me - as the race started, I felt comfortable and confident. 

Now, the only thing with starting further back is you do hit bottlenecks at times. One of these happened within the first half mile and one girl went down hard. She was right next to me one moment and the next had tripped and was sprawled on the pavement. So terrible. It made me nervous, which provided an extra adrenaline boost that made me run a bit faster.

I've raced this course two times before, which is such an advantage because I knew what to expect. A slight incline into a turnaround, then another 1.5 miles back to the finish line. I felt like I was flying through the 2 mile mark . . . and then it started feeling harder. I resorted to using my old count to 100 trick for the next mile. And then using the runners in front of me to pull me along. Although it's tough summoning a kick at the end of a race, I managed to sprint the last bit into the finish line - my favorite way to end a race :)


Here are my results:


Time: 21:46
Pace: 7:01
AG Place: 3/64
Overall Place: 81/657

 

No PR this weekend, but I was pretty close at the second race - just six seconds off my current PR! After the race, a guy came over to me to tell me he paced off me the entire race then sprinted past me at the end. Ha! I will watch for him at future races - and be ready to kick hard when the time comes :)

Although I probably won't race two 5ks in the same weekend again anytime soon, it was a fun and challenging experience. I'm happy with the way things turned out and am already looking forward to my next 5k race in a few weeks!

My questions for you:
  1. Did you race this weekend? If so, how did it go?
  2. Where do you usually line up when you race? 
  3. What is your race strategy? Go out hard and hope to hang on? Start slow and speed up throughout? Run even splits? 
  4. For the non-runners - what was the best Halloween costume you saw this weekend? 
Since I didn't get to party this weekend, I'll have to live vicariously through the rest of you ;)

- ST

20 comments:

  1. sounds like you had fun and really that's what this is all about, right? i'm super competitive and really hate when people pass me too! the only time i've ever done back to back races was a 5k on saturday and then the dirty with daddy muddy with mom 2m on a sunday. considering that the 2m was with my son and a trail/obstacle type thing i really didn't "race" it. kudos to you for doing back to backs! now for your questions:

    1. I did not race this weekend because i'm still injured but i have the Bergkönig Mountain run at lapham peak this coming saturday so i'm sure that will be interesting.


    2. I usually start up near the front so that i don't have to contend with trying to frogger around the slower people. when i began racing i used to start right up in the front row and realized that doing so made me pace with the super fast people so now i start a few people back so that i don't feel like i have to be in the highest gear right out of the gate.


    3. i don't generally have a race strategy. i have a goal time in mind and then try to run negative splits but i almost always go out fast and then end up maintaining that speed for the duration and trying to kick it a notch higher at the end to pass as many people as i can just before the finish.

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    1. It is tough to run around people - definitely the biggest downside to lining up further back. I love that you try to pass as many people as possible just before the finish - that's usually my favorite part of a race :)

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  2. I saw that girl go down, too. That did not look pleasant. It was nice running into you before the race! I will probably see you at the next one.

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    1. What terrible luck - I wonder if she managed to finish the race. See you in a few weeks at The Elf Run :)

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  3. I raced in a 5k this past weekend too. It was a hillier and windier than I was expecting and very small field. My shoe came untied at about 1.3 miles in and I decided not to re-tie it. It was annoying more than anything. I really didnt have much the third mile at all and really wanted to push it more. I ended up only 3 seconds faster than my last 5k when I was in much worse shape. I definitely want to get into another race soon to do a lot better.

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    1. I'm glad to hear you are racing again, Dave! I'm sure you will be super speedy again, soon :)

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  4. Congrats on your races and your takeaways! I always try to learn something from particularly hard workouts & races too. I usually line up mid-pack, and recently have focused on getting closer to a negative-split, particularly with the marathon distance. Splits aren't quite negative yet, but first have is not too much faster than the second half. Ran the Lakefront Discovery Run this Saturday. No costume for me, but there were a lot of hilarious get-ups out there!

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    1. Jen, we should run together sometime! I think we are probably about the same pace for training :)

      Congrats on your race!

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  5. I don't race, but I ran my first 10 mile run on Saturday. Very excited to reach that milestone. You're always a great motivation - thank you! Maybe one day I'll find the inspiration to sign up for a race.

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    1. Leigh, that is absolutely fantastic! You should definitely consider signing up for a race. Perhaps a Badgerland Striders race? There are several to pick from throughout the year and they are all very reasonably priced :)

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  6. I literally said "holy crap" out loud when I saw the time of your second race! LOL what a difference pacing yourself can make, right? I love that you're in a race serious for points. I'm not fast enough to be competitive with that, but I would still love to be part of something that looks at improvement over time. Neat idea! I'm sure you'll do great!

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    1. I think series races are great no matter what pace you run. It would be great if there were more of them - they're a nice way to stay motivated and like you said, a way to gauge improvement over time :)

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  7. You are a rockstar SUN! :) Love reading your recaps!

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    1. Thanks Cori :) With all my races in the upcoming weeks, there will be plenty more!

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    1. Me too! It is one of my all-time favorite Oiselle pieces :)

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  9. That was a great start to the series! It is a tough series, there are a lot of hardcore runners. I usually start out near the middle in a race. I have only been running a couple of years. My earlier races this year I tried to go by heart rate, but my heart rate tends to be super low in my first mile and I run way too fast at the start. So my last race I tried to run my first mile slightly slower than target pace and speed up from there. That worked much better. It is definitely better to pass people at the end of a race than be passed!

    Just curious, what kind of mileage do you plan to run during the next few months? Do you have any longer races scheduled?

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    1. Sounds like you had a great race, Cathy! I agree, the series is tough - which is what I really like about it. Always a challenge.

      I plan to build back to 40 mpw before the end of the year and stay around there til I start training for a spring race. This winter I plan on sticking with 5ks and will probably target a spring 10k. What are your race plans?

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    2. I am doing the ELF 5K and that will probably end my racing until Spring. I am pretty inconsistent with my training, so my plan is to run more frequently. Then start ramping up the mileage and see how that feels... maybe a marathon in 2014. EEK! :-)

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    3. Best of luck at the Elf Run and regarding a 2014 marathon, you can do it!! :)

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