Last week I hit a slump in my 5K training. I felt sluggish, burned out, unmotivated. Due to injury and races, I hadn’t run long distances in weeks. I missed the 10K distance and was glad to get a 10K PR from 5K training.

I always have good feelings about the CrimeStoppers Azalea 10K. It’s a small race, but still has chip-timing and good organization. The route is familiar but not ingrained in my head. It’s just a nice balance. Last year, I got a personal record and placed third in my age group. I like this race.

The morning started with toast with butter and garlic salt (for the sodium… and to ward off vampires), coffee, and a honey stinger waffle. I think that’s my go-to for my next 5K because it worked well.

10K PR from 5K Training

RBM and Me

I arrived early and did a warm up jog with strides. RBM (Running Buddy with a name that starts with M) ran his first 5K race there. He did a great job!

10K PR from 5K Training Start

Starting Line

About 70 people ran the 10K distance. I started just a couple of rows behind the elite men. I didn’t bring my stopwatch, but I turned on pace notifications on my phone to give me a general idea.

Crimestoppers Azalea 2016 Race Recap

I took it easy on mile 1. By the time I hit mile 2, I felt rough. I thought maybe it was the lack of longer distances in my training. I told myself that the first 2-3 miles of any run are hard, and that I just needed to slow down a smidge and calm myself.

My body felt good structurally. I was just fighting fatigue. I hung on to a couple of women going a similar pace. Blisters on my feet formed fast and I was in pain withe very step. So much for moleskin. I reminded myself that I could do hard things.

3 miles to go, half over. Even if my phone’s reported paces were a little off, I was still doing a fantastic job and well within a personal record. But my brain, like all brains do, was reading the discomfort in my body and strongly encouraging me to slow down and maybe, y’know, stop running for a bit. 6.2 miles is a long time to fight your body’s natural tendencies of laziness and stationary-ness.

Good mental training for the panic that sets in during a 5K.

10K PR from 5K Training Forsyth Fountain

Forsyth Fountain

10K PR from 5K Training

Earlier this year, I got within a few seconds of my 10K PR when I raced at the end of marathon training. While I haven’t been fond of 5K training, I can’t deny that it’s gotten me faster.

I struggled with fatigue and painful blisters this race, but I crushed my old record.

My official time was 51:41, a personal record by 2 min, 21 seconds. I got 2nd place in my age group of 5 women, and 6th female overall.

10K PR from 5K Training Medal

2nd place in division

I averaged 8:19 min/mile, which is faster than my 5K times. Maybe the way to get a 5K PR is to have someone trick me into thinking it’s a 10K. 🙂

Afterward, I looked at my mile splits and now know why I had trouble after mile 2…

10K PR from 5K Training Mile splits

Mile splits

7:47 for the 2nd mile? What was I doing out there?

When I got home, I soaked my feet in ice water and found a band-aid to cover the 3 square inches of blister on my left foot. The right foot also required care.

I decided not to run the next day.

10K PR from 5K Training ice bath and smoothie

Ice foot bath and green protein smoothie

Training is definitely the hard part of racing, but there’s nothing like fighting a good fight BEFORE the runners are called to their marks. There’s nothing like pushing when discomfort pushes back. And there’s nothing like the pride in knowing you did your best day in and day out. I needed this race.

Crimestoppers Azalea 2016 Race Recap Shoes and Medal

Just 3 more weeks of 5K training — 3 more weeks of learning discomfort, mental fortitude, and ultimately, new speeds.

5K PR? I’m coming for you.