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:
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 :)
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:
- Did you race this weekend? If so, how did it go?
- Where do you usually line up when you race?
- What is your race strategy? Go out hard and hope to hang on? Start slow and speed up throughout? Run even splits?
- For the non-runners - what was the best Halloween costume you saw this weekend?