I avoid 5k races like the plague. I honestly believe that the two hardest standard race distances are marathons and 5k’s. At least with a marathon people ooh and awe over your ability to make it to a finish line 42.2 km away from the start. Tell someone you ran a wicked fast 5k and, unless it is another runner, you aren’t going to get much of a reaction. 5k runners do not get the respect they deserve.
I am not a wicked fast runner. Furthermore, it generally takes me a good 5k to even remember that I actually like running. I prefer to ease into a run, knowing that there is lots of time to increase my pace. Throw in the fact that I have done so little speed work (ok, none really) as I train for a fall marathon, I had no idea of what to expect when I raced a 5k at yesterday’s Canadian Race at Mooney’s Bay. The boys and my husband were doing the 5, I didn’t really feel like doing the 10k and the half was going to take place at noon – way too hot for me! So I figured I would push myself a bit, but not 100%, in order to see what speed I could manage.
I have really slowed down my running these last two months. I am simply interested in endurance right now so most of my runs are in the 6 to 6:30 min/km range. I have been consistently doing 4 to 6 hundred metre strides each week and I have on occasion tried to run between 5:30 and 5:50 for a few kms at a time. None of this however filled me with confidence and I just desperately hoped I could finish under 27 minutes. Way back in 2012 I had run a 26:12 5k race, but it seemed unlikely I could match that.
Sometimes you should have a little faith in yourself. I may not have been running quickly this summer but I have been running a lot! The mileage paid off. Without going out a 100% – but definitely working very hard – I finished the race with a new PB of 25:19. Bonus – I did not even remotely feel like I was going to puke 🙂 Second bonus – my legs felt fine both after the race and today. In fact they felt good enough to run 14 km this morning, certainly nowhere near that speed but with a nice negative split. So there is a new little goal now floating in the back of my mind. Once the marathon is done, I think I should see if I can do a sub 25 minute 5k. I am pretty sure with some specific speed work I can achieve that goal, a goal I had never even bothered to think about until yesterday.
Of course I never caught up to my husband or my 12-year-old, they both managed to finish in the 23 minute range, (dad a little ahead of son, not sure how much longer that will happen!) and all three of us won our age categories. Yes, it was a very small race. Luke, my 10-year-old, came so close to being in the medals, finishing 4th in the 13 and under category. One day we will manage to have all four of us pick up a lanyard.
And as a final accomplishment to be happy with – today’s run put me at a weekly total of 61k. I have only run over 60 three times before this, my highest weekly mileage topping out at 68k, nearly two years ago. Some of my runs, including my long run, I struggled with a bit this week. A bit of doubt crept in and I wondered if I really had it in me to run this much. I started to question if maybe I was just doing more than my body is capable of. But yesterday’s 5k and today’s 14k have managed to push back those negative voices once again. Tomorrow might be interesting since I have realized it is the only day this week I can fit in a 24k run. I am not sure what that will be like immediately following today’s mid-distance run and yesterday’s race. I plan to keep it very slow, particularly since we will still be under a heat advisory. I am, however, feeling very positive once again.