If anything will bring me back to the blog, it’s a good race recap. And since the 2017 Sweetheart Run Double ushered in spring race season, there will be plenty of recaps coming up. Yesterday’s 5k is the first of 5 races (Ft Gibson, Aquarium, BAA 5k, Garmin) happening over the next six weeks!
I ran this course last year as a coach to a client so I was very familiar with the up and down layout of this short race. I’d also run the north part of it earlier in the week on a 10-miler with Michelle. Psychologically I felt prepared. Physically (save some lingering respiratory issues), thanks to StudiOne Fit Camp and track days, and consistently running with faster partners, I felt prepared.
I rested completely the two days leading up to the run – no circuits or miles, extra naps and earlier bedtimes. I wrestled all week with wanting to finish my Fit Camp program and giving this race a shot. It’s not my target race so early in the week I was motivated to keep up with my normal workouts. But by Wednesday night I was feeling pretty beat down and let the spirit of the race win me over.
Friday night was a low-key night at home with leftover homemade chicken noodle soup and an attempt to pack up for a trip the night before instead of the morning of. It worked, mostly. This race has a later start so I was able to get up in the morning and finish tidying up, load my car, grab coffee, drop some things off at the studio, realize I only packed my running and circuit shoes, go back home, and make it to find parking. With 15 minutes to spare, I sat in the car for a while debating my race outfit. It was drizzling with more rain in the forecast (hat on). Low 40s and cloudy (mid-length tights, long sleeve shirt). Considered a rain jacket but thought I would be too hot.
While I was searching around for my race pals, big and cold drops started to pour down so I caught some shelter under a shop overhang. This is definitely up there among least desirable start conditions I’ve had. I hang out until they announced 2 minutes to start. I managed to find Catharine and Jessie, talk quickly about goals and then the gun went off suddenly.
We take a minute to push back behind the line and then get a true countdown. Then we’re off. I have my phone in my favorite side pockets with music and Strava tracking the miles. Watch on my wrist to help me not go out too fast. And a general goal to keep it as close to 7 mins a mile as I can.
The first mile is mostly flat, and I feel pretty strong. I can feel tiredness deep in my legs but part of that is the 5k race and part is all the activity early in the week. When that first mile goes by and my pace is read, I don’t feel as tired as I should for a sub-7 mile. I try to mentally prep for the inclines that I know are coming. They’re not too steep or long but still noticeable. Thankfully I start to hit the faster runners coming back upstream and their energy fuels me enough to get to the turnaround.
All downhill from here into the flat finish. I love running against the crowds (Sweetheart Run, Tulsa Run, St Patricks) and it carries me to the end of the runners. The flat finish still stretches out in front of me and I start to notice tired forearms and pains in my upper back. I want so badly to walk or pause but I try to just keep moving. I haven’t seen Michelle at all, and I know Catharine is right behind me. I alternate thinking about members and how they inspire me at Fit Camp until finally I’m across the line.
I go hands to knees in an effort not to puke and get a friendly pat a squeal from Michelle as she comes across right behind me, followed not too far by Catharine. We all realize and briefly celebrate our PRs. I am so, so relieved to finally have another after chasing last year’s Go Short PR for over a year! My Strava even says I broke 22 minutes but I’ll keep working on an official sub-22. We take a few pictures in the rain, a little immune to the cold now. And then I have to dart back to the car to hit the road for vacation. Next up: Ft. Gibson Spring Fling for a Cause.