I’ll admit, its taken me longer than I would have liked to write this post due to how the race went last Sunday. Although running shorter distances is generally becoming easier than it was when I first started running back in March, my body is still trying to adjust to the longer distances that I’ve been pushing myself to, and having run an 8 miler the day before this race, my body hadn’t had ample rest time prior to race time.
Since we opted to pick up our bibs the morning of the race, our race day started off with an early morning wakeup and arrival at Fairfax Corner, the site of the Veteran’s Day 5K. After picking up our bibs from the Potomac River Running store, we spent a good hour or so before the race with other members of the DC area chapter of Team Red, White & Blue. Since the main beneficiary of the 5K was Team RWB, there was a huge turnout at this race of members from our chapter.
After our group photo, Preston and I retreated back to the car in order to warm back up before the start of the race. I hadn’t intended to wear gloves during the race, but my hands were ice cold from standing outside for as long as we did, and I didn’t want my hands being cold to prevent me from doing well at the race.
Ironically, its not being cold that slowed me down, but rather the rest of my body that did. My one and only goal for this race had been to listen to my body. Since I had set a new personal distance record (PDR) the day prior, I didn’t know if I would focus on running or walking this race. As Preston and I got out of the warm car and headed towards the start line, my body was feeling pretty good, so I thought I’d give the running thing a try.
I made it to the 1 mile mark in about 10 minutes, which is my current average pace for my shorter distance runs. I thought okay, I can do this if I maintain run-walk intervals for the rest of the race. Boy was I wrong! Just after passing through the water station at about the halfway point, my legs and hips started throbbing. My brain wanted me to run faster and for longer intervals than my body would allow me to. And before I knew it, I was forced to reduce my run-walk intervals down to one minute each.
As I got closer and closer to the finish line, all I kept telling myself was that I needed to finish. Somehow I did finish, and miraculously this 5K wasn’t my slowest race this year. I finished at 35:03 (an 11:18 min/mile pace), which is slightly faster than what my summertime 5K finish times were when the heat and humidity slowed me down. I’m not happy with this finish time because I know that I’m capable of a slightly faster pace, but given that I had run eight miles the day before I’m amazed that I finished as quickly as I did.
In hindsight, I probably should have walked the entire 3.1 miles. If I were giving myself a grade for this race goal, I would give myself a C-. Yes, I listened to my body during the race, but I shouldn’t have tried to be a hero and should have walked from the start.
This race was definitely a major lesson learned. But I’m glad that I still got out there last Sunday and completed it. Not only did I complete another 3.1 training miles, but I also raised funds for the Wounded Warrior Project through the use of the Charity Miles app.
QOTD: How do you react to races when they don’t go as you had hoped?