On Sunday, I ran my sixth race of 2014 and my second 5k of the year, the BA5k in Washington Township, New Jersey. On paper, this race was one I should have had a major PR at. The course was super flat, and I’ve recently had some pretty speedy training runs. Granted, most of the them have been on the treadmill, but regardless, I was pretty well trained going into Sunday’s race. I’ve also walked this race three times previously, so I was also familiar with the course.
And then on Friday I started to have stomach and indigestion issues. Any number of things could be causing these issues – stress from work and house hunting, a super busy past couple of weeks, being out of town two weekends in a row – life certainly has been anything but boring lately. And then come Sunday morning, the temperature outside was much warmer than I had anticipated it would be in the days leading up to the race. I also didn’t eat my usual prerace peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.
Regardless of how I was feeling and how warm it was at the start of the race (it was already in the low 70s at the 9am start time), I decided to give the race my best. Because it was a small, local race at a park only ten minutes down the road from my father-in-law’s house, we only left half an hour before the race started, and had no issues picking up our bibs and t-shirts. I took my usual prerace Gu Energy Gel as we walked from the car to the registration tent. We lined up at the start line about five minutes before the race started, and I reminded myself that not every race is meant to be PRed and that I would see how I was feeling during the race and go from there.
During the first half of the race I actually felt pretty good. I tried my best to pace myself and not go out too fast, which was a big problem two weeks ago at the Jaguar 5k. I ran to the water station at about the halfway point without stopping to walk once, but around the mile two marker I really started to feel the heat and my stomach had really started to bother me.
During the last mile of the race I took two additional walk breaks – one for only a minute and a second one for two minutes. As I got closer and closer to the finish line I just wanted to be done with the race, and I pushed myself as quickly as I could towards the finish line.
My official finish time was 31:43 (10:13 pace), only three seconds slower than my current race PR. Given how flat this course was compared to the Jaguar 5k, which is where I PRed two weeks ago, I should have been able to PR again had my stomach not been bothering me and had it not been as warm as it was. But again, not every race is meant to be PRed and I keep reminding myself that there will be more chances to push myself to a new PR. I’m also trying to not be too hard on myself since I did meet my C Goal, which was to finish the race in under 31:51 (10:15 pace).
After I crossed the finish line I met up with Preston and my sister-in-law’s fiancee, and we waited for the rest of the family to cross the finish line. While waiting I enjoyed a post race banana and drank some water, refueling myself to run an additional mile since my half marathon training plan called for me to run four miles as my long run this past weekend. After the rest of the family crossed the finish line, Preston and I set out to jog the last mile (we used one minute run-walk intervals since my stomach was still bothering me). When we got back to the finish line area, we found out that Preston had placed third in his age group!
All in all, it was a great morning for a race, and I’m proud of Preston for placing third in his age group. While it wasn’t my day for a great race, it was for Preston, and I’m so proud of him for running the race as well as he did.
(Please pardon my lack of pictures from Sunday’s race. Given how I was feeling, taking pictures wasn’t exactly at the front of my mind that day.)
QOTD: How do you reflect on races that didn’t go as you had hoped or planned they would?