I have never been particularly curious to try a 5k, for a number of reasons. When I first started running again after a 7 year hiatus, I was so slow that I figured if I wanted to impress anyone with my runner-ness, I would have to run a lot of (slow) miles instead of only a few. I also like to set goals that seem slightly impossible to achieve because they motivate me to push myself, and a half marathon fit the bill better than a 5k. Now I’ve been running pretty consistently for the past three years, with my longest race being a 50k, I finally decided to brave a 5k race just for fun.
The impetus for this 5k was that a fellow Oiselle team member, Karissa, happened to be visiting Albuquerque and we thought it would be fun to meet up and sport our snazzy singlets at a race. I hoped that running a new race distance would help me leave my disappointment about my poor performance in Phoenix behind. I wasn’t too stressed about how fast I would run, as it would be a 5k PR no matter what! My ankle had for the most part recovered (but still needs strengthening), but I was not looking to go all out and possibly re-injure myself. I confess, the thought did cross my mind that if I jogged it, then besting my 5k PR would be pretty easy.
The race was on Superbowl Sunday, and it was a totally flat course. I “prepared” for it by running 8 miles the day before and having a nutritional powerhouse of a dinner that consisted of buffalo chicken wings and java imperial stout.
In the morning, I met up with Karissa (who was very easy to spot in her Oiselle singlet!) and we chatted away as we waited for the race to start. Karissa noted that she shared my special affliction of exercise-induced asthma, and as a Pittsburgh native, she was pretty curious about what it would be like to run at 5000+ feet for the first time.
Here we are, ready to race!
I’m wearing my favorite Oiselle running top, the Stripey Longsleeve Scoop Neck, my team singlet, and the running shorts that first sold me on Oiselle, the Roga short. Karissa is rocking the long Roga short, her team singlet, and a sunshine-y bright Rundelicious pullover. We are both wearing compression socks, which as everyone knows, make you look like a very Serious Runner. They also help cover more of your legs when it’s 40 degrees out.
The race was held at a local school, and the start involved hilariously doing most of a lap around a track, encouraging silly antics such as starting the race at a 7:30 pace.
Karissa and I parted ways after racing around the track like spirited Thoroughbreds together, and I decided to push my pace and see what happened. I was nervous to run too fast, as I had not been doing much speedwork and was pretty sure if I went out at my mile repeat pace then my race would conclude after approximately 1 mile. I ran the first mile at a comfortable 8:43, and since that felt great, I ran the next mile slightly faster, at 8:37. The high point of mile two was passing a lot of people including several small children and a Serious Looking Runner Guy who I had been following for the first mile. I was still strangely nervous to go all out for the last mile, as I had my floppy Phoenix finish still in my mind, but I ran it in 8:31 and got to pass more people. Serious Looking Runner Guy was close behind me the entire time, which made me determined not to let him pass me. Why? No idea. It was a pretty small race (250 runners in the 5k), so it felt odd to be passing so many other runners. Once I saw the finish line, I sped up to a 6:46 pace for the final .1 (well, .13 according to my Garmin).
The end result? A 26:54, which put me 7th out of 39 in my age group and 68th overall. I feel pretty pleased with it, but I’m also looking forward to running more 5k races this year to see if I can, you know, run them faster.
After I finished, I watched a couple of my super speedy running pals from my Tuesday morning run club finish the 10k race, and then decided to go back out to run Karissa in. I imagined that she was having some choice words with her lungs about oxygen utilization, which turned out to be true. I found her looking determined and slightly breathless about a quarter mile from the finish, and ran her in. She had a pretty good kick for someone who was marginally avoiding an asthma attack! I was also impressed by how well she handled not really breathing while also running for 30+ minutes. You can read her race report here.
Here we are at the finish. Yes, there are striking height differences between us. 🙂
The most amazing thing happened while we were standing around after the race. The Serious Looking Runner Guy that I had passed during mile 2 came up to me and told me that he wanted to thank me for pacing him during the race, and that thanks to me, he had run his fastest 5k in years. I think I responded by looking confused, smiling, and saying, “Great race!” Me? Serious Looking Runner Guy’s rabbit? What?
Takeaway points: running a new distance is fun, my Oiselle teammates are amazing–I can’t wait to meet more of them, and sometimes I surprise myself.