Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Weeknight 5k: Nova 5k

So, I had gotten back on the speedwagon with track workouts. I had 3 consecutive weeks of good track workouts, and then I fell off the speedwagon. Well, not so much as fell off, but decided that finishing my third chapter required more focus. Opted to run for sanity, not for speed. 5 years ago, I wouldn't have been comfortable making a decision like that - I tended to cling to running schedules with no sense of flexibility. While I still can't cast off change with the greatest of ease, I've come a long way. But I digress. The point is - speed workouts hadn't been happening. But I still have a half marathon coming up 9/18 that I'd like to do well in. So, I found a low-key 5k to do in Vienna this Tuesday, which I thought would be a great substitute for a track workout. All the better that it was on one of my favorite running trails in this area - the Washington & Old Dominion trail.

There was a merciful dip in the temperature, meaning that it was only 84 degrees at 6:30, instead of 94 - thank goodness! I usually do a 2.5 mile run, but decided why not just preview the whole course - so what I planned to do was a 5k warmup. This ended up being close to 4 miles because I got lost trying to find a bathroom...oops. Some things don't change! I ended up getting to the start with about 2 minutes to spare - needless to say, the adrenaline was pumping, and I had definitely booked it getting there.

It was a relatively small race -- only 58 people in the race. So even though we were all crammed along the 12 foot path for the start, things spread out pretty quickly. I was figured I'd run somewhere between 20:00 and 20:30, and so was pleased when I hit the first mile in 6:31. It felt fast, but once things spread out, and I had a couple of people to focus on picking off, it also felt like a doable pace. I had two women nearby that I was determined to pass, and did so just before the turnaround mark, which put me in second place. I came through the second mile in 13:02, running more evenly than I usually can. I was then set on chasing a couple of guys, who on the surface seemed to be within reach - probably about 50 meters ahead. Having just watched the men's Olympic marathon a few days before, it puts some perspective into how close together two people are when they run. It often looks on TV that someone can easily pass someone, that they're "right behind them," and that's not true. Once someone is at least 10 seconds in front of you, you need to put a lot of energy into making up that gap, and it didn't seem like I would do that.
However, I did manage to finish in 20:15 (6:31 pace) - the most even 5k I've ever run (and probably will). I was 2nd woman, earning a $20 gift card (which was the cost of the race) to a local Irish pub that hosted the after party. Give the fact that I hadn't done speedwork in a few weeks, and my pre-race spontaneous speedwork/race to get to the start line, I chalked it up to be a great race. $20 for a beautiful course on a Tuesday night - it was great. I'll actually be doing another weeknight 5k tomorrow night - hoping to get a little closer to breaking 20 again!

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