This morning I ran the Raleigh’s Finest 5K for the second year in a row. Last year my finishing time was 20:41 and I came in 5th female overall. This year, I had big hopes. I set several goals for myself. The I’m certain I can do this goal of running under 20 minutes, the this would be awesome goal of running under 19:45, and the OMG, I am super fast goal of running 19:20 or faster. And based on the finishing times from last year, I also set the goal of finishing in the top 3 overall for females.
As with any race, I spent the days before mentally preparing and of course, drinking my beet juice. It honestly doesn’t matter if the race is a 5K or a marathon, I take them equally as serious. Last night I watched my motivational playlist on YouTube and focused on a few of my favorite inspirational quotes…
Wins and losses come a dime a dozen. But effort? Nobody can judge effort. Because effort is between you and you. ~Ray Lewis
In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die, who’s going to win that inch. ~Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday
When I got to the race, I met up with some of my friends and was getting pretty excited. The turnout seemed less than last year so that was a plus. And it was cloudy instead of the hot, 85 degrees it was last June. Although the 100% humidity wasn’t too uplifting. While I’m standing there talking to a friend right before my warmup mile, I see the girl who won last year. Ok no biggie. A race is a race and anything can happen. Plus, I had been drinking all that beet juice so that had to help, right? Then after my warmup and strides, I see one of the fastest local marathoners by the start line. I think she runs around a 2:45 for the full. She’s fast. Ok, now I’m starting to get a little nervous and see my top 3 goal slowly start to slip away. Then as I was in line to use the bathroom, I saw another one of the super fast local runners. Alright, that’s it. I’ll save top 3 for another day.
At the start line, I made sure to be in the front. I told myself not to look at my watch for the first mile and to run my race. To my surprise, when the race started, I was running in 3rd, not that far behind super fast local #1 and #2. That lasted all of 1/2 a mile. First I got passed by the girl who won last year and then another girl who I didn’t know. Then another girl ran up beside me but her was breathing really heavy so I didn’t think she would keep up. Maybe I should have given her the beet juice tip.
The race was painful, as are most 5Ks in my opinion. I much prefer the pain of a marathon over a 3.1 mile race. There was a lot of self-talk going on inside my head and I tried to take it one mile at a time. Going up a hill, I asked myself, what’s the worst that could happen if your legs keep burning like this? Since I didn’t think I would die, I tried my best to just embrace it. I don’t know what my mile splits were because the autolap was turned off on my Garmin. However, I do know I did the first mile in 6:10. During the second mile, I managed to pass two guys along the way but was outsprinted by a man about .2 miles from the finish line. My finishing time: 19:41, a 6:21 pace and a PR by 1 minute.
For the second year in a row, I finished 5th female overall but it was one of those races where I was very happy with how I ran. Many times after a race, I’m not too excited about my time because I think I should have done something differently. But this time, I am happy. Last year I remember thinking it would be a dream to run under 20 minutes one day. Today, I did it. And today, when I saw my top 3 goal slip away, I was totally okay with it. I was okay with it because I knew I was going to run my fastest 5K, I knew I was going to run under 20 minutes, and I knew I was going to achieve at least one of my goals. That made for a great Saturday morning.
If anything, today’s race has motivated me to try harder. Yes, I do work hard at my running, but I know I could do more. From cutting back on the chocolate and wine to adding more strength training and core work. It’s going to take a little more effort on my part if I want that top 3 finish. And on a side note, the first female almost caught up with the first male. She was fast!
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
PS- I’ve been away from blogging for the past week because we were in San Francisco. Talk about some hill running! I plan to pick it back up next week.