The Lessons & Takeaways from a 5k Race
Over the weekend, I used the Oy Vey JCC 5k as a little “test race” to see where my fitness was, see how my calf would hold up, run 9 miles and last, try and win a bit of prize money.
I had a really good last 10 days of training – something I haven’t had in a very long time. I ran my longest run of 2018 on the previous Sunday – a measly 7 miles – that I felt really good on. I had no calf issues (my calves have plagued me for the last 3 years) and so I felt that I would jump in the 5k and see what I could do.
*Side note: next time I think I should jump in a 5k to win prize money, don’t let me.
Going into this weekend, however, I wasn’t feeling all that great. My legs were a bit tired and I wasn’t really eating or sleeping well. I knew that for me to have my best effort, I’d have to take care of myself on race day. I drove the short 3 miles to the course in plenty of time for me to register, do my glute exercises and make sure my calf was awake and loose.
After a slow 3 mile warm up, I did my running drills and followed them up with some light striders. A few minutes before my race, I slipped on my TrainwithMarc racing singlet and a pair of thin gloves and headed to the start line.
A blistering 1st mile of 5:37 left me in about 5th place with a growing gap of 50 then 100 meters. I was not in the running for any prize money on this day. It just wasn’t going to happen. Gone was that goal, so I reset my focus on catching 4th place. After a dip in the pace over the next mile, I had glimpses of the 4th place runner. At 2.5 miles, I had finally caught him, but in the process of chasing him down, my left calf started getting tight. Instantly, I went from feeling strong to feeling gimpy. I immediately slowed down to a snail’s pace, got caught by someone behind me, and jogged the last half mile as to not do any more damage to my already fragile lower leg.
I settled for a 6th place finish in 18:36 – practically the same time as my 18:34 4th of July 5k race. This race obviously played out much differently – in that last race I struggled mightily in the heat, humidity and the fast pace. This weekend, while my pace slowed down over the last mile, it was clearly all in the last bit of the race.
I’m happy with the process – I got 9 miles in (14,000 steps!), found out that I’m in roughly the same shape, reaffirmed that I cannot and will not do any speed work prior to the Philly Half Marathon in November, and that at 34 years old, I can still compete with most of the local runners off of very little training.
How was your weekend of running? Did anyone out there race? What did you learn from your effort?
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