Last year, this race was my target run for my 5k PR. This year, I ran it because it’s part of the Four Season’s Challenge I’m participating in with the Oklahoma Sport and Fitness race team. And it would be a fun way to get some tempo work in for my 26.2 training. I’ve been having a rough time on runs recently (thanks OK heat and humidity) and this was a welcome change to slogging through some miles on my own.
Based on this year’s race, you wouldn’t know that last year I really tried to work on my 5ks. While I definitely improved my times over the course of two years of dedicated speedwork and practice, I never really nailed down the pacing. And that is certainly apparent in this race!
I didn’t really know what to expect from this run as far as finish times go. Marathon training and 5k training don’t work the same systems and so I’m out of 5k shape. On the drive over to Fleet Feet, Chap was trying to tell me he was sure I could finally break that 22 minute mark. And while yes, I would like to eventually nail that goal, marathon training is not the season to do it. So I was just going to run hard and try to hit a seven something pace.
Race morning was completely different from last year’s sunny and hot start. This year, as we were waiting at the starting line, it started pouring on us! I don’t mind the rain at all for short races, and it actually felt really good because the air was so sticky without the rain. It seemed like it took forever for them to get us started and I even started to get cold just standing there. I was soaked before we got started.
Finally, we were off! The whole first mile it kept raining on us, and eventually it stopped but the streets were still wet. I had my watch on and my Strava app to help me pace but for some reason I never looked at my watch. And while Strava will tell me how fast I ran the previous mile, the rain water kept my headphones from staying in my ears. I decided to run by feel.
The race starts out pretty flat, heading west towards the BOK center. We hit a little hill on Denver taking us north towards Brady area and then turn back east to a flat streak to Guthrie Green. Another baby hill (by this time though, we’re at or past halfway and it feels huge) takes us up by Cain’s and then back down. We ran back along the same Denver route and back to the store. Those hills also felt gigantic in this last mile. I walked a little, but tried to only allow myself 5 deep breaths to regroup and then started running again.
I finished tough, being dragged along by the motivating words of fellow racers, “less than half a mile to go, come on. One foot in front of the other.” I always appreciate this encouragement even though sometimes I’m like, “walking is still one foot in front of the other.” Sometimes it’s good to get a dose of my own medicine, and have someone else telling me that I can hang longer than I think.
Finally the finish line was in sight and I crossed, trying my best to hold down some puke (if you’re new here, get used to puke talk on race posts.) I managed to keep it down but decided no more breakfasts on 5k days.
My finishing time was 23:42 , which managed to be a 4th in my age group placement (last race in that age group in Tulsa!). It’s a little slower than last year’s but I am so pleased that I’m that close after distance training the past 16 weeks.
After studying my splits, I know I have an out-of-the-gate-too-fast issue to work on. I ran by feel, and it didn’t feel like a 6:32 mile when everyone else around me is trotting along or passing me (of course they are, I start in the front of the pack). Maybe I need to start a little farther back. My paces dropped off significantly each mile, but that first mile was my fastest ever recorded on my apps so that’s a pretty encouraging stat :).
Overall, it’s a fun race and one of the more popular ones in Tulsa (in my opinion – seems like a lot more people at this one than some others I’ve done). Fleet Feet always puts on a great after party, and has awesome support through volunteers.
2 of 4 races down for the challenge and I love how the medals are coming together!
Later that afternoon, I got to run 5 more miles to finish off that day’s assigned 8. Michelle joined me, the humidity was gone and it was only in the 80s. It was awesome.
What’s your philosophy on racing 5ks? Run as hard as you can the whole time? Or start a little slower so you can really push it at the end?