On December 31 2016 I ran the local Resolution Run 5k. This was my 7th time running the race and though it’s usually freezing cold, I always love starting off New Years Eve with a nice community-based 5k. My finishing times for this race have ranged from over 40 minutes (in 2013 when it was really icy) to 30:48 last year, and everything in between. There are a lot of variables that can effect your time in this race – the weather, the amount of ice on the streets, and also the huge crowd that turns out for it. Last year when I came so close to 30 minutes I thought that maybe I could eek out a sub-30 minute 5k sometime in 2016.
I sort of lost sight of that goal since I didn’t do a ton of 5ks this year, and focused more on training for the Route 66 marathon. However, I did PR in the 10k (twice), Half Marathon (twice), and Marathon this year, so somewhere in the back of my head I knew I was becoming faster and stronger as a runner. In mid December I ran a 5k with a couple running buddies and finished in 32:38 and felt really good and strong despite some nasty hills on the course. After finishing I told them both that I was thinking of going for a sub-30 minute 5k, and after one agreed to pace me, it became a new goal to finish out the year.
The day of the race I was feeling pretty nervous. Not only had I committed to a crazy fast pace but I had pulled in my running friends too – I didn’t want to disappoint myself or them! But I also knew that the weather could play a factor so I tried not to put too much pressure on myself – hope for the best but prepare for the worst. When I left home around 5:30, my husband said “see ya soon sub-30 min 5k runner” and my response was a sigh and “okay we will see.” I felt mentally prepared to be uncomfortable for 3 miles, since I know that racing a 5k hard really involves practically sprinting the entire way. I was psyching myself up, and trying not to psyche myself out!
The weather ended up being pretty good – it was in the mid-30s (which is kind of warm for this race). There was also no ice on the roads.
There was a ton of people running, so I lined up towards the front with my friend/pacer and another running buddy who agreed at the last minute to help pace me. I knew that they would watch the time for me so I wouldn’t have to – I just had to push push push.
When the race director yelled go I took off.
Mile 1 – 9:15 – The first mile of this race has a pretty horrendous hill that’s about half a mile long. I have run it before and knew to expect it to feel sucky, and it did. But I kept pushing. I knew that once I got up the hill it was smooth sailing for a bit. Once we got to the top I use the flat as a mental recovery but tried to stay at an uncomfortable pace.
Mile 2 – 9:04 – There is a short downhill and then a pretty tough gradual uphill sort of flat portion. I knew this would be the toughest part for me mentally, and it was. My friends were talking to distract me, though I literally could not speak in coherant sentences. My dad and brother had come out to watch the race and I saw them part of the way through this mile and yelled to them “I feel like shit!” haha. There is a second hill towards the end of this mile that is short but steep. I honestly felt like I was going to puke at one point while running up it and am so grateful I had two friends there who were running right in front of me so I didn’t want to stop. My one friend kept chanting about how we needed to get up the hill and the other was counting our steps, and it was so helpful to have something to focus on besides how much I was hurting.
Mile 3 – 9:05 – Once we made it to the top of that hill I knew the rest of the race was smooth sailing. It is flat and then followed by a GLORIOUS downhill. The downhill is long, steep, and you know you are almost to the end. I used the first bit of the downhill as a recovery and tried to let me legs just go with gravity. I knew I was going to be really close to sub-30, I just couldn’t give up now. Towards the end my friend got in front of me and said “okay Becca, chase me.” We turned right onto the main road and I saw the finish line.
Mile 3.1 – 1:02 (8:08 pace) – I could see the clock and I knew it had a 2 in front of it, and as I got closer I saw it was 27 something. I was amazed and so happy, I knew I would come in well under 30. I gave it everything I had and crossed the finish line feeling so strong (but more than ready to stop running so fast!!!)!
Official time: 28:30 – 9:12 min/mile average pace. Also good enough for 9 out of 23 in my age group!!! This is a very competitive race – there are a lot of really fast local runners – so getting in the top 10 of my age group is an accomplishment I am super proud of.
After I finished I was in shock that I had managed to pull it off with so much time to spare. I am so thankful for the wonderful ladies who paced me and pushed me. It ends up being about a 2 minute 5k PR but what I am most proud of is that I finished with a 2o-something minute time on the clock. I don’t think I ever thought it would be possible, and yet here I am.
This race was the perfect way to cap off 2016 – and it was amazing to complete a PR in the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon in one year.