I DID IT! I PRed in the 5K! 20:56 (6:45 pace) down from 21:55 last April.
I admit I was a little skeptical of my ability to PR on Saturday. I knew I was in better shape now than I was last time I ran a 5K and could theoretically PR, but I’d also run 12 miles two days before the race, 9 miles the day before the race, and 2 miles the morning of the race. My legs were a bit sore, and I’d had a cold since Monday. My friend & I were almost late to the race (well, sort of – we took a taxi and made it in plenty of time, but we would have missed the race start if we’d taken public transit like we’d originally planned), so the element of stress was in the mix as well.
I did this same race with four friends last year. It’s a pretty awesome race. First of all, the course: two totally flat loops of the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Two ~1.5 mile loops go by pretty fast with giant destroyers, blue skies, and water to look at. Last year it was unbearably windy and cold, but Saturday’s weather was actually nice, which definitely made it more enjoyable than last year. Another note is that last year, my friends and I ran to the Navy Yard from Penn’s campus to warm up (about 5 miles). Now that race lives on in infamy. “Remember that time we ran 5 miles to a 5K?” Yeah, not the best idea. This year, like I said, we taxi-ed there and then took public transit back.
Another awesome fact: it’s a partner race, so places are awarded based on the combined time of you and your partner. One partner runs the course clockwise and the other goes counterclockwise, so you get to cheer each other on and high five along the way. It’s a fun atmosphere!
I felt good the whole time. Yep, the whole time. No near deaths here. I ran at a 6:45 pace for 20 minutes 56 seconds and felt fine. It was unexpected.
Last ~1/2 mile, I believe
I mostly focused on catching or staying with the people in front of me. I read their shirts, watched their ponytails swish back and forth, tried to guess what their relationship was to the person they were high-fiving… good distractions. I knew I would PR if I kept up, I just didn’t know by how much. I definitely wasn’t expecting to meet my one of my goals for 2014 (sub-21 minute 5K) in February. Apparently I need to aim a bit higher!
To add to the fun, my partner and I got first place in our division! Admittedly there were only 10 teams in the mixed gender division (whereas there were 90 in the lovers category) but still😉 We each won a pair of free New Balance shoes! That’s probably actually the most expensive prize I’ve ever won haha.
Guess I need a new goal now. Sub-20:30 by the end of the year? Honestly even repeating a sub-20 5K could be a challenge on a different course since this one was so flat!