Race Recap: Cottontail 5K

First race of 2019 – the Cottontail 5K! Here is how my prep week and race went. It was a mixed bag for sure.

First run of the week felt awesome. In fact, I had not felt this in a long while, but it was one of those mornings where I felt like I could run forever! So a month ago I signed up for a half marathon at the end of May (my longest distance in over a year), but an odd thing has happened since I got back from Jamaica…I’ve gotten faster. Not by a ton but a small and consistent shift to faster times, while at the same time feeling stronger overall. What I’ve mostly done is just backed off in general – not a whole lot, but I’m not killing myself to pile on the miles, and I’ve taken an extra running day off, so now I only run 5 days a week. It seems the older I get, less really is more. Well, this morning I was playing around with what to do with this half marathon – I could push it and try to get the miles in, but it’s been so frustrating working back into shape, and I am finally feeling good, blah blah blah. Anyway, I look to my left and see our document clerk — who is also a runner…and I transferred my registration to her! She’s so excited, and I’m thrilled that someone will get to run a really fun course. And I am relieved to not try to rush myself back into longer distance shape. Yay.

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Last track workout before my first race of 2019, and we did almost all short stuff. The video is a good representation of how little I know about sprinting; you can hear all the instructions I need just to line up correctly! Ha.

 

 

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Finally — race day! Good news: I won my age group and was 5th woman overall. Bad news: No PR. (My time was 25:08.)

So I have now run three 5Ks in eight months, and I have learned some good information. The 5K is a strangely difficult distance! As a former marathoner and half-marathoner, I assumed this would be easy. I mean, it’s three miles. My midweek runs are all longer than that! But running three miles and racing three miles is a whole different beast. I have tried a couple different strategies, and I’m hoping to try out a third on my next 5K at the end of the month. What didn’t work was what I did this race, which was go out blazing fast and in attack mode. I ran a 7:35 first mile, and to be honest, it felt pretty OK. My second mile slowed down to 8:05…and then I completely blew up in my third mile and ran an 8:46 final leg. So it’s clear that I am fighting the lactic acid early on and unable to get through it. The 5K I ran in December I kept at a strong but manageable(ish) pace. While I still had a much faster first mile, miles 2 and 3 were comparable, and I finished six seconds faster than this race. For my final race this spring, I will try to negative split, and I will then have a good sample size of what 5K strategy works for me. Who knew I would even need a strategy? Very fun trying to figure out this puzzle though.

Lastly, I get it. It is super awesome to usually win my age group and place in the top 10 for women at the 5K distance…but I want to PR. I know it’s slightly crazy to think I can PR at 51, but I am slightly crazy!

Total Miles: 18
Long Run: 6

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