Last year, I did not do well in the Miles for Meals 5K, but this year I prepared myself. Heat and humidity rolling in? Check. Course change? Check (I’ve never run the official course). Start out too fast? Check.
The Miles for Meals benefited the Meals on Wheels program at Senior Citizens Inc in Savannah. There were one hundred participants and a handful of veggie-clad hosts.
Pre-race: I’ve got it figured out. 2 pieces of toast with butter and garlic salt. 1 cup of coffee. Pre-race run until my legs feel warm and heavy. 3 lengths of strides.
TH (The Husband) and RBM (Running Buddy M) also ran the 5K. (I WILL CONVERT THEM ALL!)
For my mid-training 5K test, I started out too slow (and felt like crap), so for this “practice” 5K I decided to go out too fast. I figured the pendulum would swing and my final 5K 9 days later would be paced perfectly! Cause, that’s how it works, right?
Miles for Meals 5K 2016 Race Recap
There were no time-chips, so I mosey-ed up to first rows of the starting line. I crossed 2-3 seconds after the buzzer and began my goal of going out too fast.
The air was thick with humidity and had less oxygen than usual. I kept the lead pack close without being in it. My brain casually formed the question, “Is today the day you run yourself into an asthmatic attack?” Brain, stop. We’re not dying. I found the 1 mile marker at 7 min, 47 seconds. Goal achieved. Way too fast.
I caught up with RBM on the second mile and encouraged him to run with me. He also shared my belief that the air was low on oxygen. We ran together for a while, I clocked my 2nd mile at 8:07 and charged ahead, solo.
How Racing is Like a Space Battle
You know that part in the movie where they’re pushing the engines and the screen pans to an arbitrary pressure gauge and the needle is pushing the red zone? The crew member makes noises of doubt and the captain yells out, “We can hold it. Just one more minute!” You know that specific and original scene?
Yeah, that’s a 5K.
And if the captain yells out, “OMG, the needle is in the red zone?! What are you doing?! Cool off the engines!” You’re going to lose the race.
When my body screamed, “Just walk!” I surprised it with, “No, this is perfect. We’re doing great.”
I had physically trained my body to perform at this level. I had put in the work. And now, I needed my brain to let me cruise at this altitude despite the discomfort, despite that arbitrary pressure gauge.
In these race moments, I became thankful for those tempo runs. Physiologically they increase your lactate threshold so you can run faster before fatigue, but mentally they help you lean into difficult times.
I also told myself 1 more 5K then I’d never have to run such a grueling distance again.
I also argued with the woman who wouldn’t let us into the park at the first entryway.
I also hoped that the people in front of me were correct in taking the short turn on the rotary. Nope, just poor signage. The long way around I went.
The last 1.1 miles paced at 8:02/mile with a hard push at the end. I didn’t have a sprint left, because I gave it my all through the entirety of the course.
An average pace of 7:58/mile. I got my 25:00 goal and broke <8 min/mile.
I didn’t have any problems during the race, but as soon as I crossed the finish line and stopped moving, my pelvic floor tried to come out from underneath me. I balanced the energy for a tiny cheer for RBM as he scooted over the finish and the great energy required to hold my bladder (with a face to match). I made some incomprehensible noises in his direction, yelped about a bathroom, and scurried away. As I sat down in the stall, my phone’s announcement echoed off the metal stalls and concrete walls, “Workout Paused”.
Thanks, Nike+ Mile Lady.
So, more pelvic floor exercises for me.
I got back in time to look for TH. I’m not typically the race spectator. I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to wait at one point but was afraid he had already passed it. I was wrought with indecision. But then I saw him coming up the final stretch.
I am so proud of him and thankful for all his support.
My age group wasn’t competitive this race, but I was overjoyed with my time so I didn’t mind taking 1st in my division. 25th overall and 7th female. My first 1st place medal!
I have one last 5K on Memorial Day and that will wrap up my 5K focus. I will be traveling to a new race with an unknown course. I don’t even know if it’s a big or small race. So, I’m glad this “practice” 5K worked out well so there is no pressure in what could be sub-optimal conditions.
My goal for the last race will be to even up my splits. I had a positive 20 second split between the first and second miles. I will continue to give my body and brain positive feedback as it races, letting it know that being distressed is good.
Thank you for all the support during my 5K training. I know I’ve been a pain in the butt!
If racing is like a space battle, what was the movie title of your last race?
Mine? Speed Racer: The Ewok Story