In just about every aspect of my life, including running, my modus operandi is to plan, plan, and plan some more. So, it was a bit unusual for me to wake up at 7:30 a.m. yesterday and decide at the last-minute to run the LMJS 4th Sunday 5K. The Gypsy Runner was set on running it with his running buddy BD, but I remained uncommitted for a few reasons. One, I wasn’t sure running a 5K race the week before the Lake Chabot Trail Challenge was a great idea, and that a 6-7 mile trail run might be better training-wise. Two, I knew I had it in me to set a new 5K PR, but I was afraid that I’d go out too hard and then mess up my training rhythm. Three, I just got a new pair of trail shoes that I really wanted to test out on rocks and dirt.
On the other hand… I wanted to go watch the Gypsy Runner run, and if I ran too, then our scheduling for Sunday would be better. On Saturday night, the Gypsy Runner came up with a brilliant compromise: we could run the 5K on Sunday and do a trail run on Monday, since it’s a holiday. I didn’t decide right away, but woke up Sunday knowing that I wanted to race.
So, it turns out that there are many advantages to not planning everything. Since I had no expectations going into the race, I was super relaxed. At one moment, I tensed up and told the Gypsy Runner that I was determined to PR but I was afraid of running too hard. He replied, “Just go out and see how you feel, then decide what you want to do.” The man is very wise (in addition to being very fast and very handsome).
We got there around 8:30, registered, put on our bibs, warmed-up, etc. FYI, it’s $5 if you pre-register or $7 on the day of the race for non-members. Members get a $2 discount. These races are great because they’re so small and easy logistically, but you still get a chip time and a decent sized field to run against.
I’m not going to go into gruesome details about the course (flat and fast), the weather (cloudy, little/no wind), or how I was feeling mile-by-mile. Taking the Gypsy Runner’s advise, I went out fast but not too fast. I found a speedy 10-year-old to pace me for a while, who I ended up passing at the end of mile 1. Thanks kid! There were a couple of distractions right around the halfway point, including a grouchy old bicyclist who made rude remarks about a fellow racer’s huffing and puffing as he rode by. Then, a 10K racer came up to start a friendly conversation about my Vibram Five Finger shoes. As much as I usually like to talk to people about minimalist shoes, that wasn’t really the time or place! Anyway, despite these distractions and a feeling of fatigue that set in at around 1.5 miles, I actually ran negative splits. Woohoo! I kept it up and ran hard for the finish.
Mile 1: 8:34
Mile 2: 8:29
Mile 3: 8:23
My previous PR, set in February, was 27:42, and even that was amazing to me, since I’ve always considered myself a 10:00/mile runner. I’ve known for a while now that I could definitely beat 27:42, but I wasn’t sure by how much. And since I’ve been focusing a lot more on trails and hills lately instead of speed work, I had no clue how fast I could run a 5K. I was aiming for 27:00, so it was pretty darn exciting to beat that with 26:25. We didn’t stick around for the awards ceremony, but I found out later that I came in first in my age group! And there were more than 3 people in it this time! (Nine to be exact.) So that’s a laurel I’ll be sitting on for a while.
Enough about me; here’s how the others did. The Gypsy Runner not only came in first overall, but set a blazing new PR at 19:05! He’s been trying to break his previous 5K PR of 19:29 for over a year, so it was pretty sweet to finally do it. BD also did awesome, finishing 3rd overall and first in his age group at 19:50.
Official data: 26:25, 3.1 miles, 8:27/mile.