Last Sunday I attempted to scratch two things off of my goal list with one race. I ran the Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo 5k which is a race that has been on my bucket list and since it was my first “regular” 5k of the year it would be my first chance to accomplish my goal of running a 5k in 27 minutes or less!
On race morning I was surprised to find myself a little nervous. Usually small races like these don’t get to me. But this was big. I REALLY REALLY wanted to cross the finish line in under 27 minutes. I also was very much aware that since I waited until September to accomplish one of my 2012 running goals, I was selling myself short with time to achieve it if I wasn’t able to do it in this race.
Luckily the weather for race day was very running friendly! It was in the mid 50s and clear skies. I did make the mistake of over dressing a little. The change in seasons always baffles me as a runner. The knowledgeable side of me knows that I am supposed to dress like it is 20 degrees warmer out than the actual temp because my body will heat up while running but the quick response side of me says “put on more clothes, its COLD!”
I opted to pick up my packet on race day since the race was local for me and not so huge that I had to worry about the packet pick up taking too long.
Before the race I did my normal routine of eat a granola bar, go to the bathroom one last time and stretch. When I went to line up at the start line I was puzzled because everyone was standing so far away from the start. The only thing I could assume was that the event attracted a lot of newbie racers since it was a low key race but I’m not really sure. I lined up decently close to the start line with some other runners who looked as confused as I was. Then the announcer urged the rest of the runners to move forward. The announcer also reminded me of the one thing that worried me about this race, it was not a closed course. I had forgotten this tidbit of information and that made me a little more nervous. Again, I really wanted to hit my goal and I didn’t want impatient drivers ruining my chances of it.
I didn’t have much time to ponder the non-closed course issue long because shortly after the announcer finished, the national anthem was sang and then the gun went off! I tried to pay close attention to my Garmin as I have a tendency of starting out too quick at the beginning of the race. I also didn’t want to over extend myself as my runners knee has been giving me trouble and I didn’t want to injure myself before the Nike Women’s Half that I have been training so hard for.
During mile one I felt great! I was running near the 8-8:30 mark but I made myself hold back a little so I didn’t run out of steam at the end. During mile two I was thinking that I had a really good shot of hitting my goal. And during mile three I knew it was going to happen!!
The great thing about this 5k course is that other than a small hill it is very flat which means the conditions are ideal to PR! And thankfully the non-closed course issue turned out to be a non-issue, so that was a relief. The only thing I didn’t like about the course is that a small stretch of it was ran on a sidewalk instead of the road. Not many runners followed the stay to the right unless passing rule, so I got stuck behind some people who under other conditions I could have gotten around and thus slowed me down a little. At the end of the sidewalk was the turn back into the zoo and shortly after that was the finish line. Just before the turn was a runner who had already completed the course and he shouted something like, “This is where you give it your final kick runners!!!” I’m a good listener when it comes to things like that. I felt like I had been holding back a little so I had plenty of energy left to burn and kick it up a notch I did! I probably passed about a dozen runners between that point and the finish line!
When I crossed the finish line, I knew that I had achieved the 27 minutes or less goal and was ecstatic! Later I found out that my official time was 26:33!!! This was a HUGE PR for me!!! My previous 5k PR (I’m not counting the #TwitterRoadRace because that did not have true race conditions) was 32:42. I placed 17th in my age group out of 232, 75th out of all 1267 women and 288th out of 1913 finishers! I have to say, that felt pretty darn good!
This race was a very organized event and one that I would highly recommend if you are looking to PR. They had a lot of yummy refreshments for the runners including water, Gatorade, apples, bananas and homemade rice krispie treats! Hey, post-race food is an important critique of any race! I love that the race benefited the Zoo because I am a huge fan of the Detroit Zoo and so is my kid. However with that being said, it wasn’t a race that made me say, “Wow, I need to do that one again!” Maybe if the race actually went through the zoo, I would have felt it was a must do race.
So what’s next for me? The Nike Women’s Half Marathon, of course! Woot!
What is next on your race calendar or your fitness plan?