My sister joined Mom and I for this one for a true girls race outing!
It turned out it was an ideal day for racing. Mid-50s, low humidity, low wind. It couldn't get better than that. I planned on continuing my streak of getting faster at each 5k race this fall. But as I stood behind the start line, waiting for the signal to go, I looked around me and realized the race field did not look very competitive. Although experience has taught me that the fastest runners don't always look fast, I still decided to change up the plan a bit and go for a win instead of solely focusing on time. It would be fun to work on my racing tactics a bit.
My plan was to run a conservative first mile. I started pretty fast but quickly settled in to a 'comfortable' pace behind two females. I told myself I had the entire race to catch people and at that moment I needed to focus on not burning out my legs within the first mile of the race.
I ended up catching one of the two women in front of me within the first half mile, which included a hill. After moving into 2nd place, I made it my mission to reel in the one remaining female in front of me. We were running slower than I normally run during a 5k but I decided to save energy by tucking in about 10 feet behind her. But around the mile 1 marker I decided I was done following and swung around and began picking up the pace.
During mile 2, I encountered more hills - two downhills and another long uphill. But I actually didn't mind the hills too much. Since Coach Matt has me work on hills on a regular basis I'm used to going up and down and actually took advantage of one of the hills to pass the 3rd place male. Haha!
The only thing is by mile 3 I wasn't sure I was going the right way. The course wasn't marked very well and I followed the half marathoners past the finish line area. I couldn't see the two men in front of me or the lead bike and ended up slowing down a bit during this portion of the race. I wasn't feeling too confident that I was on track and wanted to be prepared to quickly turnaround if necessary.
But it turns out I was going the right way! There was one more hill to tackle before a downhill into the finish line area. At this point I knew I was pretty far ahead of the 2nd place woman which was a relief but also kind of killed my competitive spirit. Without a reason to kick to the finish I picked up the pace a bit but wasn't all out. After a high five from the finish line announcer and a small fist pump I crossed the line!
This was actually a really slow time for me for a 5k but overall a good race. I know how I lost time during this one: Staying behind the ladies in front of me during the first mile and also slowing down during the third mile since I didn't know where I was going. So I don't feel the time is a reflection of my current fitness. But I think it is a reflection of using smarter racing tactics :)
Although winning the race was exciting, the best part of the day was seeing all the happy and excited faces around me. There are always first-timers at races but since this was part of The Biggest Loser race series there were more than usual at this event (there was also a half marathon race). It was wonderful to see so many people proud of their accomplishment!
The next race on my calendar is The Pumpkin Run 5k in mid-October but I will likely add a 5k race the last weekend in September. I'm on a roll with racing right now and want to see where this fall season takes me. A new PR? Another win? The sky's the limit at this point :)
My questions for you:
- Have you ever won a race? If so, what was your experience?
- Have you ever run the wrong way during a race?
- What is your fall running or racing goal?