Hey hey! After being sidelined from the blog by travel, holidays, schoolwork, and a nasty head cold, I’m thrilled to be back with my final race recap of 2016. This race is part of a series of seasonal 5ks in Cambridge that are all on the same flat, fast course. I set my previous PR here back in April when I ran the Spring Classic–I was pleased with the time I set then but it was one of my most poorly executed races to date (see old post subtitled ‘How not to run a 5k’–facepalm!) A crew of the track folks were signed up for this race, so I swallowed my annoyance about paying $35 to run 3 miles and signed up.
After taking it easy Saturday night and an early wakeup/oatmeal breakfast, I layered up to head over for the 9:30am race start. The morning was very brisk–in the mid 30s with a strong headwind–so I ran a couple of warm-up miles to the start. I think my one mistake was actually getting there a little bit too early–the packet pickup was a breeze and I had almost a full half hour to kill in the cold waiting for the race to start. One of the runners I follow on Instagram had referenced a 5k race mantra of “if a 5k doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right” and I kept this firmly in my mind as we ducked into the starting corral. I still had some lingering congestion from being sick all week, but I really wanted to break 21 minutes and had a feeling it was doable if I pushed myself.
The start was a little bit hectic (probably should have pushed ahead a little bit in the start corral) so I scooted around a bunch of folks before settling into a comfortable place in the pack. The first mile was really, really cold–standing around in the cold before the race plus the wind meant my feet and fingers were basically numb. My breathing definitely wasn’t top-notch–again, lingering cold symptoms plus the temps lead to some icky congestion. I focused on breathing in and out through my mouth and was happy to see a 6:46 first mile. As my body warmed up I pushed the pace a little bit more and hit the 2 mile split at 6:39 and the third mile at 6:26. Rounding the corner into the finish I gave it my all and ran the last .1 at a 6:14. Overall, I just broke 21 minutes and managed a new PR of 20:59–which is a 6:45 average place and put me in as the 22nd female finisher out of 1225 racers! I am really proud, although I do think I could have pushed a little bit more if I was at 100% health-wise.
While I only cut 46 seconds off of my total time, this was a very “smart” race and I think the side-by-side pace comparisons really show that. On the right is the Spring Classic and the Winter Classic is on the left. I clearly went from positive splitting the race to strong negative splits, which allowed me to cut 16 seconds per mile off of my average pace.
All, in all, it was an awesome experience and I definitely think working down to a sub-20 is the books for me! J and I spent the rest of the day with family and finally getting the decorations up on our Christmukkah tree 😉 I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!
Linking up with Tuesdays on the run!