I went into Saturday’s Jaguar 5k with zero expectations, at least as far as a finish time was concerned. This race is an annual fundraiser for school athletics at the school that I worked at for the first five years of my teaching career, and what I was most looking forward to about this race was catching up with old coworkers. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would PR at this race, especially since my plan going into the race was to take it easy and save my legs for my 10k the next day.
Prior to the start of the race, Preston and I met up with a couple of friends inside of the school. It was great to catch up with several old coworkers. I also got to catch up for a bit with a former student who was in town for the weekend and decided to run the race. About ten minutes before the start of the race we headed out to the start line. While the race started and ended at the school, the rest of the race course covered neighborhood streets.
Throughout the neighborhood, several old coworkers were volunteering along the course, assisting the police with traffic control. They also provided great crowd support. During the first mile of the race I saw an old coworker who I greatly miss (we collaborated quite a bit during my five years at that school, and he was one of the people that it was most difficult to say goodbye to when I left), and when I saw him I knew that I needed to run up to him and give him a mid-race hug. He cheered me on and said, “That’s my girl!” Even though I was feeling strong during the first mile of the race, seeing him and getting a hug from him was extra encouraging as I pushed ahead to the most challenging part of the course.
This 5k course was anything but flat compared to other races I’ve run, but for the area that we live in its considered pretty flat. There are a couple of smallish hills, but the most steep hill is just before the halfway point of the race. Last year I was excited to not have had to walk up the hill, so I knew that this year I should have been able to run the entire hill, which I in fact did. One of the great things about running a race for the fourth year in a row is that you’re familiar with the course, which makes it easier to pace yourself and know when to hold back and when you can push yourself harder.
I debated even standing at the start line of the race whether or not to run intervals or to run the race straight. Because I felt strong during the first mile of the race, I decided to run it straight, only stopping to walk through the water station, which was just before the end of the second mile. Although I tried to talk myself into taking a second walk break around the 2.5 mile point on the course, I talked myself out of needing it.
The closer I got to the finish line, the more I knew that I was likely to PR. According to my Garmin, I crossed the finish line at 30:08 (9:36 pace), but according to the official race results I finished in 30:33 (9:50 pace). Looking at my Garmin data online, it doesn’t look like my watch ever paused, so I’m not sure why there is such a huge disparity in my finish times.
Even going by my official race results though, I still PRed by one minute and seven seconds, which is definitely worth celebrating! My previous 5k PR was set last year at this race, so it was fun to break my PR at a repeat race and on a course that I’m familiar with.
And like it years past, I got to celebrate with some post race pizza. Who doesn’t love having pizza at 9:00 a.m. after running a great race?
2015 was another great year for this race, and I can’t wait to run it for the fifth year in a row next year!
QOTD: What is your favorite post race treat?