Tuesday, April 30, 2013

5k Friday Fun

This year was my first year signing up for the Crystal City 5k Fridays...and I was painfully reintroduced to short and fast.  I did 3 of the 4 races (race 2, 3, 4 of the series) due to Cherry Blossom 10-miler being the weekend after the race #1 of the series.

Race #2 April 12, 2013

This was the first race of the series I was registered for.  I had a good group of friends also running including Adam, my brother, Meghan and Chris, and others from DC Tri and DCCRC.  I had no idea really what pace I would try to run, so I planned on running hard and beating my previous 5k time from Tri Mania - which was in fact pretty disappointing.  I got caught up saying hi to Adam and some other fasties with my brother just minutes before the start.  So...naturally I stayed at the front.  This led to not so good things - which may have been exacerbated by the Bonk Breaker bar I ate on the way to the race.  I hit the ground running and of course went out too fast as did almost everyone.  Mile one came quickly but mile 2 seemed to take forever to get to.  Between miles 1.5 and 2 I started having some severe stomach pains (this is what happens apparently when I eat peanut butter, almond butter and such before working out).  Mile 2 finally passed and all I could think to myself was just don't walk you've only got about a mile left.  I was being passed left and right and I knew my pace was falling off considerably.  I was thankful to see Chris and Meghan during an out and back as I was on my way to the finish - it made me smile a bit.  I couldn't have been more happy to be done with this painful race.  I wasn't happy with my result and I was definitely not feeling well.  Not cool Almond butter and honey bonk breaker!  This was a good race to get reacquainted with the 5k and we had an awesome bro/sis and friend's dinner post race in Crystal City.


Race #3 April, 19th, 2013

The sky and the the forecast for this evening weren't great.  Severe storms were expected along with strong wind gusts.  I caught a ride to the race start with Adam.  Since you use the same bib every race it's relatively
easy to just show up and race without having to go through any checkin process.  I purposely put myself
back a bit in the starting field to try and control my pace for the first mile.  My tactic worked  a bit...I still went out too fast, but slower than the week before.  This allowed me to not slow down as much at mile 2 and thanks to better and more conscious food choices I was home free with stomach discomfort.  We started running mile 1 into a bit of a headwind - but this made for a great feeling mile 2 with a tail wind for almost the entire mile and as well as most of mile 3.  As I neared mile 3 the sky was growing darker and the wind was picking up...just as I passed the beginning of the outback they began re-routing runners directly to the finish.  I was happy that I did not get re routed but oi was it frustrating dodging through considerably slower runners for the final kick to the finish.  I felt good finishing this race, I was passing people even up until the end and I felt as though I had pushed myself.  After I finished I found Adam right away and after a brief thought of hanging around to say hi to friends we decided to escape the storm and head straight to the car as we had a big weekend ahead of us (putting on DC Tri Duathlon #2 and racing our first tri of the season on Sunday).  As we headed out of the area a torrential downpour started, I'm glad I didn't run any slower!


Race #4 April 26, 2013

This race was a pretty last minute decision for me. I knew I'd wanted to run it after the big improvement between my 1st and 2nd CC5k but I waited until Thursday night to actually register.  As my friends were on vacation, my brother was out of town, and Adam didn't want to race I was off to this final CC5k on my lonesome.  I was fairly confident I would see some friends there but didn't know who planned on racing.  As it was the last race of the series and super nice out - this race was packed!  I seeded myself a little bit farther back once again in an attempt to slow myself down at the start.  Well all I have to say is epic fail - mile 1 was the fastest timed mile I've run in any recent year (perhaps since college soccer fitness days).  With the significantly larger field of runners at this race I was unaware of my pace and not looking at my Garmin at all during the race.  I was pushing myself but felt it wasn't going as well as the previous week.  I continued to push on - grabbing a water cup at the aid station - and for the first time felt like I may drown, during a running race!  As I tilted the cup up to take a sip someone ran right into my elbow - I inhaled water up the nose, mouth and oi - all I could think was don't slow down, just cough it up! As I neared the last 1/2 mile or so I could tell I was slowing but tried to push as hard as I could.  I was definitely feeling it as I made the final U-turn and was nervous that I may not have improved from the previous weeks time.  I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch.  I took a few moments to settle down and then checked out my time -- it was a good day!  I grabbed a cookie, ran into a couple friends who crushed the course and jumped back on the metro a sweaty, stinky mess - and somewhat sad there would be no more CC5k Friday's.


After the first one I thought I hated the 5k - I thought to myself give me a 10 miler any day, this 5k business just hurts too much.  By the final race I was loving it and was reminded of how much I enjoy shorter, harder, efforts and seeing just how hard I can push.  I also learned that when I pace or at least attempt to pace myself I perform better - though I still didn't get the hang of it and I managed to positive split every race of the series.  Next year I may sign up for the series - even if I sit the first one out for Cherry Blossom it will still be the same cost or I could just run it easy.  I may find some more 5ks and 10ks for the year but I am definitely looking forward to the Oly and Sprint Tri's I have on the schedule this year as well.  The improvements in just the course of 3 weeks seems to be promising and motivating though I feel a bit addicted to running a 5k every Friday now.

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