Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hurtling 5k: Clarendon Day 5k

The Clarendon 5k/10k has been going since 2009, and I've run one of either events since its second year, 2010
2010: Ran the 10k in 45:51, a then PR
2011: Ran the 5k in 20:23, a then PR
2012: Ran the 5k in 19:21 - a PR that has stuck with me since then
Kind of fun to go back and look at my history with this race. It is a really fun event (they have an after party with drinks) and it is part of the Clarendon Day Festival, so lots of people were out and about. And my 5k PR has been getting rusty - the other ones have fallen in the past year, and it was about time (pun intended) that this one got an upgrade!
Last Tuesday, I did a workout of 20x400m, all between 6:10-6:40 pace, and I was hoping that surviving that and still standing would bode well for the race. After all, 6:10 seemed doable in the relentless workout (you run 100m recovery in between each and never stop), hopefully the PR was looking good.
I actually got a good night's sleep - about 7 hours and woke up feeling really good. It was about 55 and the sun was coming out. I did my warm up on part of the course, which is always a good way to refresh and remember the major points of the course. This course has a net downhill, which previously has meant I've thrown myself down the hill as fast as possible, only to blow up later on. Last year, the blow up felt like the biggest wall ever in a short race, and I didn't want to repeat that. So, even though the first mile is the fastest (steepest downhill), I wasn't going to take it all out this time. I even bumped into a friend of mine, Brian, who does a lot of the same DC races as me. We met in 2009 and have some affinity for finding each other in 1,000+ person races, like today. It was nice to say hi and catch up briefly. I then lined up, behind the local racing team and behind Claire Hallisey our resident Olympian (GB Marathoner) - no chance of winning today!
And we were off, and I let people swarm around me. I was determined not to set a mile PR in a 5k race - it was goal to go through the first mile in just over 6 minutes, figuring that that was fast, but not blow up and face the consequences fast. I had never felt so in control in a 5k - I knew I could pick it up, but opted to just hold steady, and went through the first mile in 6:05. I saw that there were a ton of girls in front of me, but it wasn't the time yet to get wrapped up in passing. Things started to level out by mile 2 and I felt like I was in control and able to start moving and work on passing girls - hit mile 2 in 12:10 (still 6:05). I was really happy to see my friend Brian at the turnaround, and the little wave was just a nice boost.
I'm always amazed how in racing, everything else shuts off. There is no other time when I can be so focused - no thoughts other than about this moment, this race, were able to get into my head. No thoughts of the dissertation or grading or anything else came up - just go! I simultaneously feel tired and had slowed down slightly, but was still moving forward and felt like I had good momentum. I passed a couple of girls. Almost passed a Georgetown Racing Club girl, but once I crept beside her, she bolted.  I vaguely remembered where the race finished - I knew it turned off into a side street, but didn't see the 3 mile mark, something I remember happening last year. And again, did not see the mile marker, but then the finish line appeared - so close and I was just trying to hurtle myself there.
8th woman
46/1241 overall

This was a big PR, and a long-awaited one. I know that it has a net downhill, and by many, that means it doesn't technically count as a PR. But I've seen my 10k and 10 mile PRs fall this year - it was about time that the 5k happened too. There were only 6 women who finished between me and an Olympian - pretty cool. I'll need to get out there and test the wheels out again in the future. Hopefully, this means that sub 19 (dare I say it) could happen in the next year or so. It took a long time for earn these 11 seconds - I am very aware of that. But another 11 seconds would mean...18:59. Why not dream big?

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