This past Saturday, I ran my first repeat race, the Jaguar 5k. This race is an annual athletics fundraiser for Falls Church High School, the school I taught at for the first five years of my teaching career. I went into the race excited about not only running a repeat race but also knowing that I’d see several friends at the race. After a couple weeks of successfully increasing my 5k speed, I was very confident going into Saturday’s race. My confidence, in addition to the perfect running weather (it was sunny and in the low 50s), made for perfect race conditions.
The race started at 8:30am, but we arrived around 7:30 to pick up our bibs and to meet up with friends. Since fewer than 1,000 people ran the race, bib pickup was easy, and we had plenty of time to take our race shirts back to the car before heading to the start line.
Because I ran this race last year, I knew that the course was relatively flat (for this area), with one major hill at the halfway point of the course. Last year, the hill got the best of me and I had to walk the hill. I knew I wanted to conquer the hill this year, and I’m so glad that I accomplished that goal.
When the race started, my confidence got the best of me, and I started the race at too fast a speed. When I got to the one mile marker and realized that I was running a sub ten minute per mile pace, I knew that I needed to better pace myself or else I’d burn out and not meet my goal time. I made it to the hill halfway through the race, successfully ran up it, and continued running all the way to the water station at just before the end of the second mile. I walked through the water station, and as I started running again faced difficulty getting back into a good groove. I had to walk a second time to catch my breath, and had I not started the race as fast as I did I probably would have made it through the race without the second walk break.
The course finished with a lap around the school track, and as I neared the track I tried to push my speed, but my legs didn’t want to run as fast as my head wanted to. I wanted to sprint the last .2 miles of the race, particularly since it was on the track and the flattest part of the course, but my body wasn’t up for tackling the challenge.
Nonetheless, I crossed the finish line in 31:40 (10:12 min/mile pace), which is a 44 second PR from last year’s race, which prior to Saturday was also my fastest 5k race time. My B goal was to finish in under 31:51 (10:15 pace), and I’m beyond ecstatic that I met this goal and beat last year’s time.
After running the race, there was nothing like refueling with pizza and a banana. This was a high school race after all – what teenager doesn’t appreciate pizza at 9:00 in the morning?
I can’t wait to run this race again in 2015, so that I can attempt to improve my finish time even more!
QOTD: What is your favorite post race food?