Guess what!? I finally ran a road race. (It’s the first time in over 2 years) I put it on my Summer Fitness Bucket List, but had a hard time finding a race that was close to home and fit my schedule. By the way, I’m giving myself until the official end of summer, September 22nd, to tackle as many things on the Bucket List as possible. It’s a mad scramble!
It just so happened that when I was searching for a race, I found one that supports a fantastic cause. EQUIP One Ministries is an organization that has a mission to help orphaned and disadvantaged children across the globe. The proceeds from the 5k I ran went towards the construction of a primary school in Kibuku, Uganda. The education of disadvantaged children has always been a cause close to my heart, so I was happy I found this race supporting it.
Want to know what else was great about this race? It was at a park very close to my house and started at 9am! That means I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn on a weekend and Tim brought the kids and they played on the playground while I ran, and then cheered me on as I finished. It was perfect!
I went into this race not having any idea how fast I would be able to run. I don’t race regularly (or really at all! ha!) so I didn’t have a clue how to pace myself. I have been trying to do tempo runs, interval runs, and speed work to work on running at a faster pace during my workouts, but even during those runs I never knew how fast I should push myself to go. I really should find a running club as I know my training would be more effective that way.
I ran with a friend, so we went out together. I used my Nike+ running app because I like to know my pace at the mile markers. About a half mile in I checked the pace and saw we were running around 7:09 pace. I was super worried about going out too fast and then dying, so I tried to slow it down a bit.
The first mile was on a paved path around the park, but then we headed into the woods on a trail. Ugh! This part of the race was more difficult because it was up and down hills through the woods. My friend slowed at this point and I tried to keep my pace, so we separated. I knew this mile was going to be slower naturally, but I tried to keep a good pace.
I was so happy to get out of the woods! After the second mile, I was still feeling good. My pace slowed a bit on the trails though, so I tried to pick it up for the third mile. This last mile was partially in the grass, up and down hills, which I hated, but also back on the paved path for part of it.
The worst part was that I was mostly on my own during the last mile. There was a guy that I passed and he said, “Good job, girl!” which was a nice boost just to hear something, but other than that there weren’t any people in sight. This was a small race of less than a hundred people, so there wasn’t running in crowds at all.
It was nice when I could finally tell I was coming to the final stretch. I picked it up significantly and was able to sprint it in even though I wasn’t racing anyone. (Tim snapped the picture at the top of the page of me finishing the race.)
My official time was 23:43, which is a 7:55 pace. I was happy with that considering the hills and trails throughout the race. Here’s what I don’t know. I don’t know how hard a 5k is supposed to feel. I was tired at the end, but never during the race did I feel like “Oh, I can’t do this.” Is that good? Or does that mean I wasn’t running fast enough? Most road races I’ve run I have points during the race that I am cursing myself for running the race because it feels so hard. That didn’t happen. I felt strong throughout the race and was afraid to pick up my pace any more for fear of dying and not being able to finish strong. Any experienced distance racers out there want to comment on how a good race is supposed to feel?
I ended up 1st in my age group, the 2nd female finisher, and the 5th overall (male and female) finisher. The female winner was in the under 15 age group and finished about two minutes ahead of me. A speedy youngin’!
I’ve caught the racing bug a little bit and am planning on running at least one more race this fall. I’ll keep you updated if I beat this time!