Before spending the day with family, I ran a local yokel 4th of July 5-K in my hometown.
Neon makes you run faster. Also, woohoo for mid-foot striking!
I’ve done this race every year since becoming a “real runner.” In fact, it was my first ready-set-go, run-to-the-finish-line event. (And I actually removed the timing chip from my bib because I didn’t want nosey people looking up my results online.) Since then, I’ve also slugged through the 10 miler around the lake, but I downsized to the 5-K last year. Quality miles over quantity of miles, right? So I pushed, dialed into my tempo pace, and posted a 23:36 finishing time. I worked, I hurt, and I left everything out there.
This year, I ran the exact same time—down to the second. That’s right: I posted another 23:36. However, I felt totally different both during and after the race.
My Dad and I arrived about 20 minutes beforehand to pick up our bibs and t-shirts, and I even saw my JV basketball coach. He’s a big-time runner (he podiums frequently and wins races), so he gets the triathlon thing; I always enjoy catching up with him.
Anyway, after collecting our materials, I hit the track for a mile warm-up. Initially, I planned to do 1.5 miles and some dynamic stretches, but I ran (get it—ha!) out of time.
Overall, I wanted to put forth a decent effort, but I knew truly racing wouldn’t be a viable option. Because of racing back-to-back weekends—and tapering and recovering and all that jazz—I hadn’t done speedwork in … about a month. And because I’ve been doing Olympic-distance tris, I feel more confident running 10-Ks. If you execute a 5-K right, then it’s brutal. If you run a 10-K properly, then it’s still painful, but more manageable. And I’m all about managing. So the game plan was to just run and go by feel.
There’s nothing too groundbreaking to report in terms of the race itself.
As in years past, the course basically starts on a hill, which is why I wanted a decent warm-up. A little after the climb, I saw my 1st and 2nd grade teacher, and a high school classmate cheered for me. When I started talking to him—“Happy fourth of July! How are you?”—I realized how manageable my pace felt. After that, I zoned out a bit, took in my surroundings, and enjoyed running through the area. And I also kept an eye on the kid who was running next to me; it sounded like he was going into cardiac arrest. The last half-mile snuck up on me, so I picked up the pace, finished strong, and immediately started cooling down—even though I finally felt warmed up.
At first, I was frustrated I ran the exact same time, but then I realized how different I felt. Last year, that pace equated to a hard effort; now, it feels semi-comfortable and sustainable. Sounds like progress to me!
How did you spend the fourth of July?