Believe it or not, up until yesterday, I had never actually run a 5K race. I've done two half marathons and several 10K races, but somehow I've just never signed up for a 5. So Emilie's Run was my first 5K- and I highly recommend it.
While I was training for my back from stress fracture 10K, a friend (and running buddy) and I decided that once we had our Ottawa race weekend races under our belts (she ran the half), we should try a 5K. We figured that the timing of about a month after race weekend was pretty good since it gave us (mostly her) time to recover, and the hopefully do a little speed work in the couple weeks leading up to the race. We figured we'd be shooting for a sub 25 minute 5K.
Unfortunately for me, life kind of got in the way and the couple of weeks leading up to this race ended up being full of car buying, apartment hunting, family gatherings, and funeral type activities. And unfortunately for my friend, the same couple of weeks involved sore shins and a potential cold. So neither of us had very high expectations going into this race, but we figured it would at least be kind of fun to race with several hundred other women.
And it was! Women everywhere! With their kids, with their friends...it was a fairly light and happy atmosphere. We were chatting in the line for the bathroom, chatting on the way to the start, and chatting at the start. But once the "go" went, it was all business. Ok, not ALL business...but mostly business...especially for the front runners.
My race started as it usually does: too fast. My watch put my first kilometer in and around the 4:40 mark (that's a 7:30 mile for those of you who don't speak metric :). Both my friend and I had a laugh and an "oh crap" moment when we saw that 1K timing mat. I think she said something like "that was a pretty quick kilometer there Kristen..." (I was setting the pace for us at that point) and I responded with "that's how I roll...I start off quick and pay for it later". That drew a few chuckles from the women around us.
And pay for it I did...'cause our second kilometer was right on pace- 5:00 minutes. Then the hurt started to pour on. First the elites flew buy on the other side of the loop...and I wasted a bit of energy cheering for them, but I couldn't help it... At the 3K marker (3rd K was way off pace at 5:11) we started the slight incline and I'm not going to lie to you, when I saw a couple of people walking, I kind of wanted to join them. But then we passed someone and I felt a little better.
We hit the 4K mark at 19:58. When I looked at my watch, I couldn't decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, I was going into it thinking that there was no way I could hit the sub-25 and here I was right on pace for that. On the other hand, I was pretty tired and wondered if I could pull out another 5 minute kilometer. Luckily, my friend was right next to me and was running strong- and there was no way I wasn't going to keep up.
I knew we were close, so I kept thinking "embrace the pain, embrace the pain" and instead of thinking "but it hurts so much, who cares if I go a little slower" I pushed the negative thoughts out and replaced them with "yup, it does hurt, but I can handle this for now...and I WANT to go faster".
Unfortunately, part of the last 500m turned from wide open road to a tiny track through the parking lot that only had room for one person. We ended up a little boxed in, and when it opened up to a wider section again, I could see the clock ticking...all I could think of was that I had to get to the finish line faster. The seconds kept ticking away, but as I accelerated to the finish, I knew I would beat the clock. And for the first time, I crossed the finish line smiling.
Official chip time: 24:56 BUT there was no timing mat at the start, so I'm going to go with my watch time of 24:53 (which might even be a second or two slow) because that puts my pace at a 4:59/K and that just feels like such an accomplishment! Regardless though, I was (and still am) really pleased with it. I really didn't think I would do it and throughout the race I convinced myself and proved to myself that I could.
So how did I like the 5K distance? I really enjoyed it. It hurts a lot, but it hurts for a lot less time. And I really loved that the post-race "ugh..i feel like death...seriously, i think i might die...or puke, or fall over" didn't last long at all. And nothing cramped or tightened up once I stopped running. It was kind of refreshing to finish a race smiling. Plus, there was a kids 1K fun run after the 5K was over. They were adorable, hilarious, and some of them so very serious. I think watching the kids may just have been my favourite part of the day.
And so, I had fun and was happy with the way things went- I call that a resounding success. (and thanks Jordan for being in full support mode!)