10 Seconds Too Many

>> Friday, August 15, 2014

The thing is . . . 5Ks are always (always!) the hardest for me. Speed isn't my forte, especially since I don't engage in much formal speed work. Rather, I do surges -- fartleks -- whenever the mood strikes. Some weeks that's often. Others, not so much. As you guys know, I've been training on lots of hills lately, so I had some high hopes for my finish time at last night's Women's Distance Festival 5K.

Namely, I wanted to (finally) break 22 minutes.

My best friend from home -- Erin -- started running in January. She's been doing all sorts of races lately, but since she lives in the endless, winding mountains of PA, they've all been far too steep or on tricky terrain (trails, etc.). So, she drove up to join me and see how she might do on a flat(ish), fast course. It was such a treat -- and we both turned 31 within a few days of one another, so I guess you'd call it our birthday celebration.

I think the reason 5Ks wreck my soul has something everything to do with the intensity of them. Since I'm relatively low-key with my training, having to immediately start at my gut-wrenching pace and maintain it as long as possible doesn't sit well with me or my psyche.

It's all just too much!
It's all too painful!
It's all too split-second!

I thought maybe I had 21:XX in my grasp last night when I hit the first mile at 6:50. All things holy! That amazed me. Though I don't race much anymore, I still train hard and run consistently (4-5 days each week) throughout the year. I've just reached this place with my running over the last several years where I don't need race medals and finish line photos to feel strong, steady, and confident in my abilities.

But hearing a fast mile time doesn't hurt every now and again.

I'll write more about the play-by-play on WalkJogRun for next week, but -- spoiler alert -- I didn't meet my goal. I finished in 22:09 or 7:08/mile. That's a PR by 9 seconds and only 10 seconds away from my goal, but certainly 10 seconds too many. So, of course, I really want to try again in the next couple weeks to see if I can tweak a few things to get my time.

We shall see.

Now, Ada doesn't come to a lot of our races. I run mostly half marathons, and that's just too long for her to sit still. Stephen did bring her to this one because it's all women + lots of other kids are there to play + celebrate the fine sport of women's running. OK. The kids have absolutely no idea what's going on beyond the race before them. They just know there's a sand box, lots of baked goods and candy, and that all the dads watching let them get away with a bit more when their moms are occupied with the race.

This year was special, though. Ada "laced up" to the start of her very first race. She was so excited! I was so proud! This was to be such an amazing moment for the two of us to share. A passing of the torch! Proof that I'm rubbing off on her. That she's getting some athletic prowess from my amazingly inspiring abilities. And all that jazz.

Or not. The poor thing ran for around 15 seconds and then waved hello to a cute puppy. Puppies are her downfall. She loves them to pieces. And after she gave an enthusiastic greeting, BAM. Ada fell teeth-first into the pavement. Crying ensued. I felt . . . terrible. But it was no one's fault. She escaped physically unharmed and a cookie cheered her up quickly.

At least we got a great photo.

(We all know how photos don't tell the whole story!)

For both of us, there's always next year! And I want to give Erin a hearty congratulations. She SMASHED her 5K time by like two full minutes.

How do you feel about 5Ks? Do you have a race event nemesis? 

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