Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Luck of the Irish 5k Race Recap

Saturday's Luck of the Irish 5k marked the end of another Winter Run Series and it was by far the hardest course yet. There were several hills and a hairpin turn - all within just 3.1 miles.

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.

My results:

Time: 21:57
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!

- ST

15 comments:

  1. I'm sorry it was such a rough race for you, Sun! It sounds like a really challenging course. Don't knock yourself down because you walked, like you said, what's done is done and we all make training and racing mistakes we wish we could take back. I'm glad you still found the positives though! I think the pace of that first mile could definitely be your race pace sometime this year! :) I try to go out conservative and negative split, but sometimes I'm a bit too conservative...finding that balance is for sure a challenge!

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    1. A balance is definitely challenging! I've also done the too slow of a start thing while racing. Hopefully the next one will be a nice happy medium :)

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  2. Sounds like a tougher race to get through, but wow you did pretty awesome! I think we all have bad run days, but if my bad run days were as good as yours I'd be thrilled:) 3rd place is awesome and your split times are still pretty incredible:)
    Great job!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Kristy! It's the tougher races that make us stronger :)

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  3. Sorry to hear how tough the race was. I hope your next race you will find your self at the mile 1 pace. This past weekend my goal was to negative split in my 8K, but I ended up going out to fast for the first mile and I struggled to PR. It was neither pretty, nor an idea...but a huge lesson learned.

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    1. Sounds like it was a weekend of tough races all around. Looking forward to hopping over to your blog to read your recap!

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  4. Congrats on your race!!
    I didn't race, but did a 20 mile long run.
    I always start a little slower to negative split.
    Most looking forward to: my husband gets back in town from a work trip!

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    1. Congrats on your 20-miler! Looking forward to reading how it went - and to get the incredible looking gnocchi recipe I saw on your Instagram yesterday :)

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  5. You and your mom are so darn cute and I love that you went to meet her when you were done!
    Great job out there under some tough conditions and it sounds like some good lessons were learned that you can take on to the next one! I did race last weekend, but I was trying to not race because it was part of a longer run. :)

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    1. Thanks Salt :) Judging by your race recap, it sounds like you were very successful with your race and training run this weekend. Great job :)

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  6. Sorry that it was a rough race, but you still did awesome in all of our eyes. Those speeds don't come easily for most people, so you are a ROCKSTAR in my eyes! Congrats!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Sue! :)

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  7. I ran the 10k variant of the Luck of the Irish race last Saturday and I agree. It was a tougher / more challenging course this year. That isn't a bad thing though. Knowing the area a little bit I shouldn't have been surprised by the hills in the residential portion of that course but I was. Not knowing the course makes it hard to come up with a good run strategy. If I had run the 5k I probably would have seen you fly past me way before I hit the turn around. I probably would have thought you were flying through the run.

    This is the 4th year I have done the Luck of the Irish and many people have walked that steep grade including myself. Our harshest critics are usually ourselves but that is what drives us forward to be better. Next year you will conquer the hill. I love that hill, it challenges me and makes me better!

    I continue my training for the Green Bay marathon and this week I have a 16 mile long run planned on Sunday. Looking forward to it!

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    1. I think you're absolutely right, Bob - we are our harshest critics! It was one tough race but we survived :)

      Best of luck with your Green Bay marathon training - should be a nice weekend for a 16-miler!

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