Monday, May 7, 2012

New PR! Operation School Bell 5k

Let’s start with the most fun part of the weekend- I ran a new 5K PR!

My last 5k was in August, and I ran a 28:07 (9:03 pace). It was hot and humid, and I spent the afternoon at a friend’s pool leading up to the evening race, but it was still a PR (maybe because it was my first time officially running that distance since my first 5k in July ‘09).

Saturday night I was trying to figure out what a good goal pace would be.  I had a bad too-fast tempo run last week that started at an 8:31 pace, went to 8:41 for the second mile, then slowed from there, so I was convinced that any pace faster than 8:31 would be hard (looking back, it was probably the heat and the hills that messed me up on that run).

I looked up equivalent race times in Run Less Run Faster, to see what 5k time would be equivalent to my goal of a 2 hour (or faster) half marathon.  A 2:00:31 half is equivalent to a 26:00 5k, which is an 8:22 pace, and that sounded hard.

I didn’t know what a good pace was for me. So I just went in with the loose goal of beating my previous 28:07, and hoping I could maintain around an 8:20-8:30 pace.  I set my watch up to beep at me at every half mile for more frequent feedback than my usual 1 mile autolap.

Clearly I started off WAY too fast.  When I saw the first half mile was at 3:50 I was surprised and knew I needed to slow down, but I felt surprisingly good for the first mile.  It was an out-and-back course, so there was an awkward turnaround on the bike path at 1.55 mi. marked by a blue arrow on the ground and two people telling us to turn around.  I guess I prefer loop courses- those kind of turns make me feel like I have to stop and then get started again.  There was water at mile 2, but I didn’t stop because it was a little chaotic and I figured I had hydrated enough before.

My legs were not feeling as fresh after 2 miles and I could tell I was slowing down.  [By the way: I’m shocked I ran the same pace for both halves of the 2nd and 3rd miles].  For the 3rd mile, it was feeling harder to maintain the (slower) pace I was running.

You could see and hear the finish area from about .25 mi away.  That’s when I started to pick up the pace. 
[Ignore the green line…Garmin made the 45’ of elevation change over 1.55 miles look way worse than it is]

I remember seeing the clock at 24:39 and knew I wasn’t going to break 25 since I still had .1 mi to go, but decided I was going to try to make it as close to 25 as I could.  I saved enough energy in the final stretch to pass a guy I had been running behind for the last couple minutes.

It wasn’t chip-timed, which meant I had to try to be coordinated enough to rip the bottom part of my bib off and hand it to someone as I ran across the finish line.  My time was 25:11.  I didn’t remember to stop my watch until after I had my bottle of water.

Overall I came in 50th/386 and shockingly, I won 1st place in my age group (small field of 25-29 year olds I guess).
  [Picture from a friend’s phone, don’t know why it’s B & W]


There were plenty of water bottles, orange slices, bananas, bagel chunks, and coffee at the end.  It was a nice low-key event and the proceeds go toward a good cause.  There was a Kid’s 1k Fun Run at 8, then the 5k run/walk started at 8:15.  Since the bike path used for the race is in full sun, I wouldn’t have minded if it started a little earlier.

The rest of April 30-May 6:

Mon: Above-referenced bad tempo run. 6.07 mi. Tempo parts were 8:31, 8:41, 9:13, 8:56, 9:00.


AM-: 6 mi Running Store Fun Run/avg pace 9:57
PM- Track closed…7.71 mi/avg pace 9:35

Thurs: 10 mile loop in 1:42.  Killer 1.5 mile long hill at the beginning.

Sat: Running group’s prediction run (no watches). 3.66 miles in 36:38. Half trails/half paved roads. Ran 1:02 slower than my predicted time.

Sun: 3.1 miles in 25:11

Miles for the week: 36.65


  1. Great race, are FAST!!!!!!!! Way to crush a new PR!!! Congrats!

  2. Congrats on your PR! I raced a 5k this past weekend and PR'd at 25:10. Looks like we are the same pace!

  3. You are so much faster than you realize! 5Ks are supposed to be really painful, there is no time to hold back :)

    1. Haha...I don't know when this happened! I agree about it being painful. I maintain that I prefer half marathons to 5ks :)

  4. I love how you destroyed your goal pace! I totally agree with Kara, you just keep getting faster and faster! I fight with my watch if I try to maintain a pace, so in my 5K Saturday I just tried to push it as hard as I could. An age group win is so exciting!

    1. Thanks! I guess the watch was mostly for reference- I think I was running hard enough that it didn't matter what the numbers said (i.e. even though I slowed down in the 3rd mile, it felt hard to run any faster). Congrats on your big PR too!!

  5. Congratulations on your new PR. It's always exciting to me when I see how the hard training we put ourselves through bears its fruits.
    Weather conditions definitely affect how a race goes, I'm glad you had a good one.

    1. Thank you! Yes it was nice weather, probably in the 60s by the time the race got started. Could have been much hotter!


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