Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Johnny's 5-Mile Race

This was my second time running this race, and the course that actually held my PR (well, I guess it still does since I broke that time this weekend... aw, well there's your spoiler.) I did this race 2 years ago and ran it in 32:58, which stayed my PR for the last 24 months.

A few things about the race
1. It's a local favorite, they typically get over 1500 runners and it's always on the same day as the parade.

2. It's kind of considered the "spring breakout" race around here- typically get a fast showing, and you can kind of see who spent the winter training. Had I not decided to do the Freezeroo series, or been coerced into Lake effect this probably would have been my first race of the year (I'm glad it wasn't though).

3. It's an out and back course, fast and flat for most part.

4. The start is notoriously a royal pain. Bottleneck start, and lots of people who don't normally race and start where they shouldn't. I'll explain more with a picture. This really is the only thing about this race that I don't like.
Bottleneck race start. The crowds cover both sides of the street but they always only have one timing mat so it creates a cluster at the start, every.single.year. (yes I have only done it twice but I have been told this is reoccurring problem)

Okay, moving on.

The Race
I dilly dallied getting ready at home, this tends to happen when the race is close by. But John and I still got there with plenty of time to spare and time for me to warm up. I knew that I needed to get at least a mile and a half in to give my shin time to loosen up.

I got to the start, saw a bunch of people I knew as expected. Chatted with Carrie & Joe for a few minutes while we waited. Finally it was time, and as per the usual I took my first steps walking across the start line and then immediately darted to the side to get around people. Like that man walking in the gray pants. I look angry but I was really just focused on getting around the crowd.

I spent the first half mile bobbing and weaving before I got into a groove. Mile 1 was roughly 6:18 according to my Garmin, but I was beeping before each mile marker so I know that my splits are off (maybe I should learn tangents?)

Mile 2 I just kind of kicked in autopilot and kept my speed in check because I needed to wait until the turnaround to pick it up. Mile 2 was roughly 6:33. I had been going back and forth with a few people during this time and just tried to hold that place, I knew I could see what place I was in once the leaders started coming back at us. 

Once leaders started coming back, I was counting women but then lost count when I was cheering and high fiving some of my speedy friends. Hit the 180 degree turnaround and gave myself the green light. I saw there were quite a few girls within striking distance of me and made it my goal not to let any of them pass me. The way back was fun as I knew it would be, seeing all of my friends and other local runners. I really don't mind out and back races for this reason- the people are awesome, another reason why I really liked Lake effect half a few weeks ago.

Mile 3 & 4 were both roughly 6:25-6:30. Once mile 5 hit the girl who I was behind for the majority of the race started fading a little and I decided to go for it. Mile 5 was my fastest, and ended up passing the girl to seal the deal for 7th female.

This was on the home stretch, not the most flattering picture but, hey it happens.

My chip time was 32:15, which makes it a 43 second PR. I talked to some people at the finish line then John and I walked back a ways to cheer on other runners coming in. I was bad and didn't do a cool down (my calves proceeded to be really mad at me for this later). I threw some warmer clothes on, cheered and then went inside to wait for awards. I knew I was 7th female (John counted) but I wasn't sure about age group awards right away. Very pleased with  top 10 females and AG win, especially for this race.
Obviously I am happy with this PR and the race itself. My shin held up once I was warmed up and didn't give me any problems during the race. I do think I am going to have to continue running in compression sleeves, maybe once it's warmer out I won't have to wear them all the time. I'm grateful I haven't had to stop training all together with this shin issue, and grateful I can still race because racing is my happy place. 

I've learned I really like the 5 mile distance, anyone else?

Do you repeat past races to try and better your time?


  1. I was wondering how your shin was - glad it held up OK for you!!!
    Great job catching that girl - you are speedy even when you have to cut back on some training!

  2. You are so impressive...and always admirable. I wish I had your talent! Glad your shin held out for you!

    1. Aw thank you so much! Did you end up buying a new Garmin yet?

  3. damn that start! i would hate that too. but you are one speedy devil! side note - i have been trying to find comfy spandex shorts to wear while racing - any suggestions or your favorites?

    1. Thanks Alex! Racing I have 3 go-to's for shorts. Saucony Cha-cha shorts, Saucony Ignite shorts (a little longer), and Moving comfort 3" endurance shorts (I'm not sure if they make these anymore? Mine are a few years old)

  4. I'm really happy for you and I'm glad it went so well. I have enjoyed the 8k/5 mile distance and I cannot wait to do another one...lucky for it's in a couple of weeks.

    Um that guy in the casual pants walking behind you...I seriously can't stop laughing.

  5. Congrats on the new PR and on the AG award, you are super speedy and this race looks very, very cold! I am glad your shin held up and the compression helped. Sucks that there was only one timing mat and the bottleneck start though. Maybe they will see your review and improve it for next year.

    I also like the 5 mile/8K distance and I love repeating a few races to see how my times change. There are only a few I repeat but it is interesting to see the progression from year to year.

  6. Well done! Nice race report. That start does look like it sucks; I hate those narrow timing mats.

  7. Congrats, I like the 5 mile races...only done a few. used to run a 5 mile time trail every other Weds....but have not gotten back to that since training for LONG races.


  8. 5 mile races seem like the perfect distance to me! Long enough to get into your stride but not so long that you want to die (or is that just me? ;)).

  9. Congrats on the AG Win. Super fun.....and a PR to Boot. Nice work. I do repeat races......but the funny thing is I have kind of learned I seem to do my best the first time around. weird huh?

  10. Congrats on your PR! I have yet to race the 5 mile distance but I'd like to.

    Also, RE: the timing mat. Is that RD for real? That's insane. Get a longer mat dude. Seriously.

  11. Sounds like a fun race....other than the bottleneck, but at least its at the start! Nice job with your PR, 43 seconds is HUGE!. Hopefully a lot more of those coming your way! I really enjoy 5 mile races too, although I do not get to race them very much! Every time I race I am trying to outdo my PR, but as I only do a select few races, I try to peak myself for them. Excited for Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in a few weeks :)

  12. I think 5 milers are my favorite distance to race. My favorite place to run is a 5 mile loop, and a lot of our 5 mile races are on this course. I love that!

    Congrats on the new PR and AG win! And I'm glad that your shin isn't getting worse.

  13. Congrats on your PR and on your shin cooperating! Yay!

  14. Nice work Laura, great PR! I've never run a 5-mile race, would like to try it some time though. That start is balls.

  15. Congrats on your PR! Happy to hear that your shin wasn't an issue during the race too. And as for that bottleneck..that is tight!

  16. Nicely done! I have to wear compression sleeves/socks for my calves - I'm not looking forward to hot weather running in them...

    I don't do a lot of repeat races anymore, but there used to be a few that I ran every year.

  17. I've actually never done a five mile race but I can see myself enjoying one because I like 10ks. Great job rocking the race and getting a PR, and I'm glad the sleeves helped you! :)

  18. Congrats on the PR! I am from upstate originally, so I have really been enjoying following your races/training around my old stomping grounds. It sounds like you are killing your Boston training ;)

    Personally 6-9 mile runs/races are the sweet spot for me so a 5 miler is right up my alley. Best of luck for your upcoming training!


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