We get to the downtown area where the race begins. The temperature is cool, a bit on the warm side, and humid, though the breeze helped keep it at bay. I warmed up a little with my brother, who ran the 5k, and watched him start. I then went to the restroom, which ate up most of my waiting time.
(My arm says "For the Shire")
My goal here was originally to set a PR, which would mean breaking 53:33. A 6-miler earlier this week clocked in at 53, and once that happened I figured I was completely capable of actually breaking my PR.
- Mile 1 ~ 8.10: Obviously I didn't want to start off too quickly, as I have a tendency to do. Thankfully, the intuitive approach to running I've been implementing really paid off because I can pretty much tell by how I'm breathing and what my legs feel like to determine how hard or easy I'm running. I felt really comfortable, so I kept the pace.
- Mile 2 ~ 7:37: This was marked incorrectly because a, there was an uphill right after the first mile marker, and b, I didn't speed up that much. And c...
- Mile 3 ~ 9:19: I refuse to believe I slowed down this much. Refuse. I heard two guys (who were earlier discussing Colin Farrell's career) mention that the split wasn't correct. They probably were wearing Garmins for authenticity, too, but I didn't look. Also, my 3 mile split was 25.07.
I heard some girls who were volunteers playing a song from The Bieb. It really helped.
- Mile 4 ~ 7:54: Definitely a more believable split. The good news is that I've been running a lot of epic hills lately, and since in years past I didn't run throughout the winter, leaving me scrambling to prepare for racing, the hills would just crap me out. However, I felt really strong after the uphills, and this mile proved it. It was after mile 4 that I knew a sub-50 time was attainable, though I remained hesitant to speed up much.
I also saw the mayor of a Mishawaka, who is also a runner, and thought it was so cool to be running his pace that I decided I would catch up to him. He was at a different 10k I ran last year, but I paced that race so terribly that my pace dropped off after the third mile.
- Mile 5-6.2 ~ 16.49: I didn't see the mile 5 marker, nor mile 6 (though I sort of knew where it was based off the map), so my remaining two miles plus the extra .2 were all combined. However, I'm guessing both the miles were sub 8s because it would have taken longer to run .2 than just 49 seconds. After the uphill during the 4th mile and a bit into mile 5, it was pretty much flat or slightly downhill the rest of the way into the stadium. My pace definitely quickened because I was passed only by 2 guys.
Entering the campus of Notre Dame, I didn't speed up soon enough because I guess I was nervous. Before actually entering the stadium, though, I began to sprint, not really hitting a faster pace until I went downhill into the tunnel leading onto the holy field. It was simply a sprint to the finish line, where I passed a dude. I didn't feel bad about it because he wasn't in my age group.
So, my chip time clocked in at 49.52! Unfortunately, my clock time was 50.00, which obviously wouldn't have been the case had I sped up earlier. Oh well, I'm not too upset over that. For the first time ever at this race, I placed 10th in my age group, and 46th overall in the female category. Pretty freaking cool to have cracked the top 50!
While I haven't done much in the way of speed work, save for a few hill intervals, I ran way too many hills overall. This definitely helped out at this race, as I had confidence going into the race simply because, although at a slower pace, I would be prepared. I don't sprint uphills, but I drop the pace slightly to maintain an even effort, then naturally speed up downhill to keep from fighting gravity. Running hills this way keeps you from being fatigued because of them.
Another factor was that I've been running more mileage. I've adapted my legs to the stress, and the miles+hills combined definitely made a difference.
The few speed stuff I did was going out with my brother. He runs faster than I, therefore I pace myself off him. The mile time trials I've been doing about once a month also served as a form of speed work, as usually I would run a fast paced 3 miler, with the last mile being all out.
Even though I hadn't been hitting 8 minute miles consistently, I think "saving myself" in training enabled me to actually run fresh on race day. I wasn't running junk mileage, but I wasn't really going fast every time I ran.
All in all, I'm really proud of actually being prepared to run this race, and there wasn't a single part where I felt like I wouldn't be able to keep the pace up. Could I have sped up even more? Possibly. I didn't feel super trashed at the end, but rather fatigued, so who knows. There are more races to come, though, and we'll see what happens then.
Also, my brother ran a really great race for his second 5k ever, 22:53. Last year his time was in the 27s, so that's a pretty solid difference. He's a speedy dude, and we'll be running another race together in two weeks.