Today I saw a dead bear as I was driving to the Bear Paw 5K in Eagle River, ran the 5K, ran 19 more miles after that, drank hot water because I was too thirsty to care, and enjoyed every minute of it.
What an absolutely beautiful day it was. If summer was always like this, maybe I wouldn’t complain about the weather so much. A perfect day to run a 5K. (This picture does not do justice.)
I got a late start this morning after a fiasco with my new cell phone that I will have to share about later. The race didn’t start until 10:30 a.m., which was nice because I was able to get a few things done at home before I had to make the 30 minute drive to Eagle River.
When I arrived, I was luckily able to find a parking spot easily and then jogged to the start to pick up my bib (which was a breeze). I wanted to give myself adequate time to warm-up because the shorter the race, the more time I spend warming up. I had about 30 minutes this morning to warm-up, which was sufficient. I could have used 15 more minutes, but 30 was okay.
Then it was time to line up at the start. (This is actually a picture from the finish, but you get the point.)
I really wanted to PR, but I wasn’t positive I would be able to since I am running 85 miles this week. I front-loaded my mileage early in the week, so I could do some easier miles the two days prior to the 5K. For the last three weeks I have been going to the track to run 400s in preparation for this 5K because I wanted to have the leg turn-over necessary to run a 5K.
I started at the front of the pack because I knew I didn’t have time to lose by starting back further. The first 0.25 mile was uphill—not particularly thrilled about this, but luckily it wasn’t too steep or too long. During the first half mile I was thinking, “oh man, I’m not feeling particularly speedy this morning; I don’t know if I can muster up the energy I need.” But I quickly settled into a 6:00 minute mile pace and my thoughts changed to, “I think I can maintain this for a while.”
I came through at 6:22 in the first mile. I knew my PR pace was 6:20 minutes/mile, which I ran at this race last year. I knew I had to pick it up a bit and keep pushing the pace. By this time we were running on a paved path along the highway, which was noisy with traffic, but I just pretended it was swarms of crowds cheering. (Not really sure what I was thinking here.) There were gradual downgrades, which was very welcomed, and I really tried to use these to surge ahead. Mile 2 I came through in 6:12. Perfect. I just have one more mile left to go. But oh, man, it was getting tough at this point. I looked down at my watch and saw I was averaging a 6:25 minute mile pace. I thought about foregoing my hopes of a PR because it was really starting to hurt. However, I knew I would be mad at myself if I did do that. I’ve read the mind gives up before the body, so I focused on my breathing and kept pushing. The last 0.5 miles were tough—and if you heard me breathing, you probably thought I was having an asthma attack. (I was not.) But all that effort paid off with a 21 second PR!! (That’s huge in a 5K!)
Distance: 3.05 miles (The exact same distance as last year.)
Average pace: 6:20 minutes/mile
Distance: 5K/3.1 miles
Average pace: 6:14 minutes/mile
I think the Garmin was probably off because we ran through a couple wooded sections where I might not have been picking up a good signal. My 1st place medal for my age group. I’m with the old-fogies now. (No offense to anyone in this age group.)
My left arm, right above my elbow, also felt cramped up and got really sore. It is strange because neither area has bothered me before. And I don’t know why my arm was aching. Maybe I was clenching my fist?? Anyway, it was a great race, and while it was tough, I’m glad I pushed myself so I was able to PR.
After the race, a fellow reader came up and said she reads my blog. I always get really excited when someone says they read my blog. She said her husband even tells the high school runners he coaches to read my blog for nutrition. How awesome!