This past weekend I participated in a local 5km race, the Coaldale Family Fun Run. It is the fifth year of this event being run, and my second year in a row participating. Originally, I was planning on running most of my Saturday workout before e event, and then ending with the 5km. I had a 14 mile long run to do, with the last 6 at my goal pace for my marathon, or faster. As it got closer to the day of the event, I knew I didn’t want to be trying to race a 5km after already doing 11 miles. So, I decided to reorder my workout, still get the 14 miles in, but do it in reverse. I would do a warmup and cool down at marathon race pace in Coaldale, push as much as I could during the race, and then finish the workout when back in Lethbridge.
My last timed 5km race had been in November, and I wanted to see if I could beat that personal best. I ran the Mustache Dache in a 21:07 back in Milwaukee, which broke my 5km personal best that I had held since I was 18. Now, I don’t train for racing in 5km races,but I know that I have been doing more speed work than ever this winter and spring as I train for the Vancouver Marathon. So it would have to count for something?
The race was slated to start at 10am. I arrived at around 9:20, which gave me more than enough time to pick up my race bib, do a 1.75 mile warmup, and meet up with four of my Waterton to Glacier buddies-Julia, Emma, Danny and Ryan. I even snapped this photo of Julia, Emma and Ryan doing their warmup down the rural road we would be heading down during the last mile of the race. This shows the terrain and road conditions we would face for about 85% of the course.
I got lined up with a few minutes to spare. My race plan-push hard the first mile and hold on. I really had no other strategy. The temperature was ideal, so I knew I would be comfortable. I was a bit worried about the muddy mix of gravel and sand and dirt we would be running on, as I remembered from last year that my feet feeling like sandbags. The race began and a bunch of us plowed over the kids who were lined up in front. Ok, I know it is a Family Fun Run, but I mean, I was out to make a statement….so I didn’t feel bad dodging through children.
I found myself in a comfortable position right away, and I knew I was the lead female. I wasn’t going to look over my shoulder at all during the race, and just wait until the turnaround point near mile two. At that point I’d be able to see how close any other women were and tackle the last mile. My first mile was a fast 6:13. I was feeling good though, and it wasn’t too muddy. I needed to weave a bit on the rural Range Road to find the least mucky spots, but it helped with my shoes not getting full of junk. Mile two was slower (I knew it would be because I wasn’t trying to necessarily get even splits) with a 6:36. This was past the turnaround and up a slight hill. It was also straight into the wind. I started feeling sluggish here, and I saw the second female probably 30-45 seconds behind me. If I bonked on the last mile she would catch me. The last mile was a solid straightaway to Coaldale Christian School. It was wet on this portion and I made a mistake of stepping in a pile of mud and gravel, so for a few seconds I had rocks and mud flying from under my shoes. I was able to hold my position and finish as the first female! I finished my last mile in 6:57, and finished the race in a 20:42! I beat my previous personal best by 25 seconds!
I did a cool down and milled around until awards, which were held in the gym. The race organizers did a great job at having lots of post race refreshments—-more than I would expect for a 5km! They do a great job at recognizing the kids who participated, as each kid gets a finisher ribbon, and they do 5 year age group awards for under 19. So lots of kids get recognized this way. They even gave a prize to the youngest runner—I think it was a Toys R Us gift card. I know I would have been stoked about that if I was a kid! They got to the adult awards and each of us in our Waterton to Glacier group medalled! Ryan got 3rd overall and 2nd in his age group, Danny got 1st in his age group, and Julia & Emma earned 3rd and 1st in theirs, respectively. Along with my gold medal for 1st in the 30-39 female category, I was also awarded a $50 gift certificate to Runners Soul!
I was really excited to be able to run this race at the pace that I did. I even was able to do the rest of my workout later that day all within my training pace required, so I did total 14 miles! While 5km races aren’t my focus, they are still fun to do every once in a while! I know the next one I do I will be aiming for a 20:30 or faster. I know my training has helped lots, as this was not only a personal best, but I beat my time from last years’ event by over two minutes. Last year, I ran a 22:59. Seeing that improvement is what is most important to me. Up next is a 10km in Medicine Hat (Saturday) and then the big one….Vancouver Marathon is now just two weeks away….