Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bergen Road Race 2015

I've been talking bitching about having an old 5k PR for a while now. I felt like I was crying wolf with each 5k I ran in the last 2 years, "I feel great, it's gonna happen today" only to have it definitely NOT happen. On August 10th, 2013 I ran a 19:09 to set my 5k PR. Since that day, the closest I was able to come was 19:35(3 times). Finally, 2 days short of a 2 year PR the wolf finally came out to play.

Everything I do is very much so for distance, for chasing my other goals. Sure, my fitness has seen huge gains in the last 2 years but I also knew it would take some work to actually nab my PR in the midst of everything else I am working towards(not to mention I don't race 5k's nearly as often as I used to).

The last few weeks have been good marathon training weeks, but coach had mixed in some great track workouts to help keep my turnover going strong. Heading into the race on Saturday I had 60-ish miles on my legs from the previous days- something that used to be a peak for me, and certainly wasn't a taper number. My goals for Erie are far more important to me than this though, which meant grinding through a good week and then finding one more gear to bang out the race.

I worked hard last week, but also made a point to recover and fuel well. I was stretching more, taking easy runs even easier than I have been, and made sure to hydrate as best I could. The day before the race I felt okay on my run- not fantastic but not bad enough I was discouraged. I then got to spend the evening with my family and Heather which certainly had my spirits high(and my belly full of Thai food). Heather and I ended the night with a good beer (Highlander Campfire Stout, tastes like S'mores; go try it, you're welcome) and some of the best ice cream- I felt fueled and ready heading to sleep.

Race morning was standard; Starbucks run, get ready, hit the road. Heather and I got there about 45 minutes before the race, met up with some of the other Bergen Elite runners and then got a good warm-up in. We did about 20 minutes and then changed into race stuff before I threw in some more running and strides while making way to the start line.

Walking to the start, mentally getting ready.
Normally I start pretty damn close to the front (first or second row) but this is one race I sit back a tiny bit in fear of getting trampled. I wasn't too far back though, started my watch right at the gun (no start mat) because I wanted to be on with the clock. Off we went, and so the chase began. I actually was really calm at the start, I think I just knew that I needed to be.

It's VERY easy to go out too fast at Bergen. With this kind of field, its hard not to get caught up in it all. True to form, I went out blazing faster than I should have. I hit the first mile in 5:47, but I'm happy to say I didn't let it shake me. I didn't freak out, I didn't instantly slam the brakes I simply just relaxed my form and focused on moving forward. I picked people in front of me to keep me moving, and slowly worked my way through the field- I wasn't the only one to go out fast and my goal was to pass rather than be passed. I also heard a coach yelling at a girl near me, I knew the name and also know that her and I are very similar in speeds (at ALL distances). I used that healthy competition to drive me forward and not let her catch me.
Me and my friend Joe around half way point!
I wasn't a slave to my watch and focused on running hard but not red lining too soon. The last thing I wanted to do was blow up and not PR. Faster times on another day, this race for me was about a breakthrough PR which meant playing it fast but also smart. Did I want to see if I could do sub-6 pace the whole time, YES. But risking blowing up and not getting a PR was not something I was willing to do this time around.
Second half of the race somewhere
Once I got to mile two I didn't drop another gear I just held on to the one that I was in- and it was a comfortably hard place to be. I started picking off other runners, and passed a few more women to move up in the ranks. I used small goals in the last mile- get to the top of the little hill then make the right turn. Embrace this straight away and go hard until the final right turn into the park. When I got to the park I kept my eyes on the finish and nothing else. The finish was on grass this year since the park road was torn up, luckily I didn't bite it (I'm a clutz who has this concern constantly).

18:52 official time which was enough for a long overdue 17 second PR.

I placed 15th overall for women, which I was very happy with. Each and every year the caliber of athletes this race gets amazes me. This year, the top 52 times were under 17 minutes and the top 99 times were sub-19. That is not something you see at other 5ks anywhere near here.

As my fifth time running this race, I continue to tell people that this is where it's at. If you want a fast field, hometown feel, and fun time- Bergen is the place to go for it. I was excited to finally get Heather to join me for it this year too!

Now back to your regular scheduled marathon training and peak grind, one month from today is Erie Marathon! Let's hope the confidence boost and momentum from this race and the rest of training carry with me on race day :)


  1. Congratulations on your new and very overdue PR! I knew you had it coming, you have such a strong base from running the marathons, but I agree it is hard to PR at shorter distances when in marathon training. Having good competition and someone you kind of know nearby to drive you to run fast helps too- good reason why this is a PR-worthy race.

    That's a crazy fast field. 5K races here usually have a few ladies under 20 minutes but not very many. As in, maybe the top 3 but the age groupers are all around 21-22 (myself included). Then again, our road races aren't usually very large either. The big, exciting ones always drive me to run faster.

  2. Wow, what a an amazing time and congrats on the PR. That was a fast race though, you would have been in the top 3 at a race around here with a time around here.

  3. Congratulations! I can't believe you'll be in my hometown at the same race as me in a month! How cool!!

    1. That is awesome!!! How is training going for you?

  4. Laura...that's kick ass speed. You deserve and you earned every second you took off the 5K PR you went in with. So happy for you!

  5. Congrats! Super pumped for you and amazing time! xo


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