This year, I went up north with Matt to his family’s cabin to celebrate the 4th of July. Every year, at least some of his family does the Crystal Lake Firecracker 5k. This year, it was Matt, his dad, and me!
I had not raced a 5k since October and since then it has been an uphill battle to get back in shape after the injuries that plagued me all winter. My PR is 24:49 from September 2012 and that October 2013 5k was 25:40, if the results that I just looked up are correct. Going into this past Friday, I knew that I was not in PR shape, it was not a PR course, and I just wanted to have fun while doing the best I could given the day.
I didn’t know the course, but I knew that there were hills in the beginning and a narrowish trail in the second half. I didn’t have a “goal” going into the race per se, but I had kind of an idea of what I thought I could do. I knew I wanted to get under 30 minutes and I thought something in the ballpark of 27:50 would be achievable.
I started the race with Matt and his dad. Matt took off ahead right away, and I kind of went off by myself, as well. However, after a couple minutes, I regrouped with Matt’s dad and stayed with him the whole rest of the race. It was nice having someone to talk to, as well as having someone to pace myself with. I’m not the strongest when it comes to the mental battle of pushing hard, so having someone to keep me going at a good pace was pretty much amazing.
Like I said, I really didn’t know the course. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the uphills were over by the end of the first mile. I was also very happy to see 8:46 on my watch at the first mile marker. After that, it was all flat or downhill. I love to fly down the downhills, but the main one was on a narrow trail, and unfortunately I got blocked in behind a couple girls running side-by-side. I wasn’t able to get around them until they stopped to go around some mud. If I had it my way, I would have flown down and gone right through the mud. When I think back, that is one of the things I regret about the race, but there is no point in worrying about the “what ifs,” so I’m doing my best to let it go. I can’t control when I get blocked in!
Matt’s dad had gotten a couple people ahead of me on the trails, but once I was able to get around those girls, I ran back up to him and we stayed together the rest of the race. I had no idea how close the finish line was once we got out of the trail, but it ended up being closer than I thought, so I didn’t really get to kick. That’s the second thing I regret about this race. I didn’t pick it up until I saw the clock, but by that point I only had about 50 meters left to go. I did almost out-kick a girl who had passed me earlier, though, which made me happy. She finished about half a step in front of me. 🙂
My finish time was 27:04. Despite the couple things I wish I had done better (trail and kick), I finished a solid 45+ seconds ahead of my expected time. I am very happy with that result. I think I could have run faster (five minutes later I was ready to do it again…), but again, I need to move on from that and dwell on the good things! I had a fun time and I still ran faster than I thought I could have.
Oh, and I’ve caught 5k Fever again.