A 5k on New Year’s Day

I love all race distances.  I really, truly do.  I am just as excited and jittery lining up for a local 5k as I am for a huge marathon that I have spent months training for.  The emotions are almost impossible for me to control in either case.  I am nervous.  I am happy.  I am grateful.  I am excited.  I am determined, yet I fear the unknown.  There is absolutely no way to wipe the goofy smile off of my face.

There are so many unknowns on race day – so many things that I know I cannot control.  And because of this I have made a pact with myself right before I cross that start line of every race, no matter the distance or the preparation leading up to it.  I will do my very best.

Today I ran a 5k.  This race distance is especially hard for me.  I’m still figuring out the best way to run it.  The pain sets in quickly and my lungs are burning, my stomach lurches as the postnasal drip slips down my throat (I really hate that).  But I push through it and just keep telling myself the faster you run, the faster you’re done.  Do not give up.  There is very little racing strategy involved for me, though I’m sure there should be.  I just go out there and give it my all, and see what happens.

Today’s race (the Potomac River Running New Year’s Day 5k in Reston) started at 10:00AM and was just minutes from my house, so Robert and all three of our kids came to cheer me on.  This is without a doubt the biggest reason I LOVE local 5ks – it is easy for my family to come watch me run, and I love love LOVE having them there.

me and my support crew/cheering squad before the race

There were two things going into this race that were less than ideal for me.  First, the 10AM start was a little tricky because I was feeling hungry before I even started running.  By the time I realized how hungry I was though, I was scared to eat in case it led to an upset stomach during the race.  I was just going to have to wait to eat until I crossed that finish line.  The other glitch for me was that I ran 10 miles on Friday and then 10 miles again on Saturday, leaving me with not the freshest of legs.

So I warmed up a little (not enough, but at least a little!) with my sister Megan and also with Jess from Zero to Fifty and used that time to feel things out and decide whether or not I was going to give it my all and RACE, or just run an easy pace and soak up the fun.  My body was feeling good, and I was getting excited – within just a few minutes of warming up I had decided that I was going to go for it and let the cards fall where they may.  While we warmed up, Jess and I talked about how hard we both think 5ks are, and how we both were pretty unsure of how things would pan out for us once the race started.  I think we both knew in our hearts that we had personal bests inside of us, but of course anything can happen on race day.

As luck would have it, I discovered that best I could do today would become my new personal best.   I ran my heart out and nearly lost my breakfast (or what was left of it anyway) at mile three, but I crossed the finish line with a time of 21:18, more than a minute faster than my prior PR of 22:34.  I was the 6th overall female and 1st place in my age group.  This was the first time I ran a race where all of my mile splits were under a 7:00 mile.

coming into the finish, photo courtesy of Cheryl Hendry Young

It was awesome to have my family right there cheering me into that finish line, and being able to find them right away and give them sweaty-mama hugs immediately after crossing was truly the icing on the cake.

The morning was full of celebrating new personal bests for me and for my friends – my sister Megan and my friends Chris and Lisa all finished with their fastest 5k times and also Jess crossed not long after me, coming in 2nd in our age group and snagging herself a new PR!!  It was really fun to celebrate with so many friends, and of course with family.

yay for age group wins!!

When 2011 started, my 5k PR was a 25:22.  I’m really excited to be starting 2012 with a PR that is over 4 minutes faster than that, and will not stop there.  Getting outside of my comfort zone and doing my very best to push through it is what it’s all about.

How did you kick off the new year?  Was running a part of it?  What do you think of 5ks?
Here’s to the year ahead being full of blessings and happy running!

11 thoughts on “A 5k on New Year’s Day

  1. OMG. I LOVE both pictures on here – the one of you running is an awesome action shot! And the family one is definitely a keeper!!
    Congrats on a fantastic race – that is a killer time!!! Guess all your speedwork with your sister is paying off =)

  2. So awesome Jess!! What an amazing start to the new year! Can't wait to catch up next weekend. I've been dead to the running world for 2 weeks thanks to this glorious cold and I'm more than ready for some Pilates/Run Club action! Reading this post made me so excited to get back into my running shoes!

  3. What an inspiring race! I've been running for years as well, and only recently started pushing myself more in races and am hoping to set a number of new pr's this year, too. Great job killing your previous time!

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