This weekend I drove out to Walnut Creek to run the Walnut Festival 5k with a bunch of bloggers and twitter buddies. The multi-talented Aron and Kristin helped organize the race, and I was psyched to go support them and spend the morning running. I haven’t run a 5k in well over a year, and there’s something I really love about running fast. My favorite race distance is the half marathon, because it’s not a sufferfest. 13.1 is an achievable distance, but the pace is safely aerobic. When you race a 5k, you “try not to puke”, “run til your eyes bleed” and just “try not to die.”
There was a great crowd out for this race, with lots of families and TONS of kids. There’s nothing quite as motivating as trying not to get beaten by an 8 year old at the finish line. The course was really flat, and while the start was crowded, I didn’t have to do much weaving once we took off.
I felt great for the first mile, my knee was happy, my pace felt great, and I wasn’t being beaten by too many little kids. When my Garmin beeped at the 1 mile mark, I looked down in horror to be greeted by a 7:28 split. Since my current timed mile PR for run club is 7:48, I was pretty sure it was only a matter of time before the wheels came off the wagon. Luckily everything was pretty flat, and I just tried to keep my legs turning over.
I have a strong, ingrained history of going out too fast in races, but sometimes it results in a better time. I consoled myself with a vague memory of reading a study that found that if you go out too fast when your legs are fresh you gain more time than you could ever make up with running a conservative first mile. After some googling, I think I may have imagined that study, but it helped at the time! Heading towards mile 2 there was a turn around point, which was great. I always love to see the leaders coming back at us, and I got really excited to see the speedy Katie running by me as the lead woman, with Page and Jessica in close pursuit.
There was great support at this race, with cheerleaders at the turn around point, and a musical ensemble from one of the schools at another point in the race. I managed to keep both my 2nd and 3rd mile splits under 9 minutes. Luckily during my warm up run, I’d stumbled across the finish line, so I knew exactly where to start my finish line sprint from. I was really excited to see my Garmin reading 26:37 as I crossed the finish line. My 5k PR is 25:07, but my second fastest 5k prior to this race was 26:52, so I was pretty pleased with a 26:37.
I kept some seriously speedy company though because these ladies pretty much stole the podium.
Check out these other great recaps of the day:
I had a blast; I had forgotten what fun 5ks are. I see some track time in my future, and then I’ll be taking serious aim at a sub 25 5k.
What race distance is your favorite?