This morning I ran 5k #13 in beautiful Knoxville, TN. I tried my best not to get completely worked up over the forecast this week and was only slightly worried yesterday when I looked to see there was a 70% chance of rain showers. When I got my race plan on Thursday from my coach my only reply back was, "Thanks... now all I need is for the rain to hold off until I cross the finish line." Turns out I got lucky there!
This race had day before race packet pick up but rather than drive to Knoxville we opted to just get our stuff this morning when we got to the site. I usually like to have everything laid out the night before the race and snap a picture but since I didn't have my bib I skipped that part of my pre-race routine. I did lay my clothes out last night so I wouldn't be scrambling this morning.
Every race morning pretty much starts the same. I am up at least 2-2.5 hours before the race start to eat and get dressed. My coach usually suggests a 1/2 mile run/walk outside before breakfast but since it was raining at my house I skipped that this morning. And because my stomach wasn't feeling exactly right this morning I pretty much skipped breakfast too. I would not usually skip breakfast for a long run or a speed workout but felt ok doing so this morning. I did have a couple of bites of a Clif Mojo bar and some water but other than that I just was afraid to eat much w/my stomach already being weird.
We got to the race about an hour early, picked up our packets and met up with friends. I was instructed to do a 2 mile warm up plus some drills before the race start so that is why my running friends/training pals and I did. Then we hopped in line for the port-o-potties and headed to the start. We had a few minutes so we also did a few striders and leg swings. I use to think it was ridiculous when I would see folks doing these things but now I am doing them and know they do really get my body good and loose before a run.
It also feels so weird to line up in the front 10% when I am most definitely not a front runner BUT somehow it works. Once the 1 2 gun went off and we started the race any nerves I had going on where gone. I settled in and felt great. My goal for the race was a PR (ran last year in 26:33) but to also hit 25:xx. My "race plan" looked something like this:
Mile 1 - 8:40
Mile 2 - 8:25-30
Mile 3 - all out
The race course can be described as this:
After a flat to gently rolling set of hills you pass by an Indian mound
in the median just before the 1 mile point. Within another quarter mile
you come to a beautiful fountain area in the center of the median/road.
At this point the course leaves Cherokee Boulevard and navigates a loop
around Talahi Gardens, returning to the fountain, at which point a right
turn will start the runners on their way back. The finish area is flat
to a slight downhill.
(info taken from race website www.ktc.org)
I will say that after running this race last year I don't recall the "hills" or even the inclines despite having ran this route many times. I think it was helpful for me this morning that we did our warmup on the first mile of the course. It was a good reminder of what to expect in the race. We of course took it slow for the warm up so I knew what I needed to do once the gun went off. I knew what paces I needed to try to hit but also told myself to just run fast and hit the end finish time goal.
These were my actual splits:
Mile 1 - 8:11
Mile 2 - 8:28
Mile 3 - 8:29
25:49 (Garmin time- started and stopped on the mat)
So, I didn't hit my plan to a T but I did hit the goal time and got a decent PR (44 seconds) considering.
Weather last year was sunny and 70 compared to this year's 50 and rainy (no rain fall during the race but there was prior to so we can say it was wet?). I realize 44 seconds isn't a huge PR but my racing has mostly consisted of longer distance races over the last several months so I am pretty happy to have a PR at all.
Last year with a time of 26:33 I took 2nd place in the Athena Division (150lbs +).
This year??? Oh yeah. 25:56 (gun time) got me FIRST PLACE!! and that would be my 3rd first place finish in a race since I started being coached in October 2012. I'm excited about the progress I've made and can't wait to see how summer training and races go.
And of course no race day would be complete with the celebratory meal with friends!
Did you race this weekend? If so, let me know how you did! Virtual high fives to all!!