To say I finished strong for the 2015 race calendar would be an understatement. MT and I ran the Skagit Valley Jingle Bell 5k in early December and wowee-wee-wah. We both PR’d AGAIN.
My time of 31:26 was almost 3 minutes faster than my previous PR. I was on fire. In addition to a nice mostly flat course, the weather was cool, and I started in the front of the pack and kept up with some speedy runners. Having PR’d in the previous two races, I was feeling motivated to push myself hard in this race and was really aiming for a PR. Whodathunkit.
You might ask yourself, as I have been, what is going on?! Well, I’ll address this in a future post so stay tuned, but let me say that I realize I’m unlikely to touch this race PR any time soon. The course was just a bit shy of an actual 5k (3.05mi by my GPS watch) but I’m not going to let that last .05 get in the way of my celebrating this achievement. Even if the course had been correctly measured, my time would have had approximately an additional 20 seconds, which would still be a huge PR.
Now, it’s time to set new running goals for 2016! I’m pondering a few things and will let you all know as soon as I’ve decided!
Have you sent 2016 running goals yet? What are they?
Whidbey Island 5k (Sunday)
The last time I participated in this race day was 2013 when I ran my first half marathon. Six days after a very bad ankle sprain, I braved torrential rains and blustery winds to hobble through my first 13.1 miles. It was an accomplishment that came with mixed emotions, but I am still proud of my ability to persevere through that race.
I felt this year was to be a triumphant return to Whidbey even though I was running the 5k and not the half. Saturday after Fun with the Fuzz I was just feeling good. I felt something in my bones and my muscles and my mind that all told me I was stronger and more prepared for Whidbey than any other race I’ve completed. I can’t explain except to say I just knew I was on the precipice of something.
We made a ladies weekend of the two back-to-back races and headed to Whidbey for some pre-race hijinx – which mostly consisted of snacks in the hotel, thai food for dinner, a beer at a local bar “Off The Hook”, hot tubbing, and some comical commentary as we flipped through channels and snuggled in bed.
The race was amazing. I was so in the zone I don’t know what took over my mind and my legs. The first little bit I navigated the crowd and by mile 1 I had found a pacer to try and catch/keep up with. Our legs fell into rhythm and stayed close enough to be in her shadow the whole time. At 2.3 miles she turned over her shoulder and said to me with frustration, “There are no mile markers on this course”. I showed her my watch and she groaned, “Ugh. Another mile…”. I said, “You are kicking my ass. Thank you!” She smiled and replied, “You are kicking mine!!”
We spent that last mile almost side by side. We didn’t talk, we just ran – each knowing we couldn’t let the other person down by slowing or walking. As we turned the corner to the home stretch she looked over to me and with a determined smile said, “Turn it on!”. I knew just what she meant. We both gave it everything we had and sprinted, pushing our legs to move faster and our lungs to pump harder.
We crossed the finish line and chatted for a few minutes. I learned she was visiting from Denver and was racing with several friends that day (in various other distance races). We thanked each other and talked races, running, and generally basked in the glow of what was most certainly a PR for us both. I will not soon forget her kindness and our race together.
I checked my watch and was blown away. Prior to this race, my race PR was 37:54 from 2013. I have beat that a handful of times in training runs, but never by much. I was aiming for low 37:?? and even dared to day dream about seeing 36:??.It has been a while since I ran a race all-out and I am aware my training over the last several months has been more consistent that ever. I know I’ve talked about my pace in a few posts recently and how I’ve been seeing an uptick in my pace and generally feeling more stable in my runs. I just haven’t seen anything like this.
I finished Whidbey 5k averaging 11:20/mile (WHaaaaAAtt??) in 35:12. Thirty five minutes and twelve seconds. This is almost 3 minutes faster than my previous PR (exactly 2:42 if you’re counting. I know I am.).
Even typing that, I cannot believe it. I am still riding my race and PR high. While I am not counting on every race being faster than the previous – heck, it will be a while before 35min 5k is a regular thing for me – but most importantly, I am more motivated than ever to keep up my consistency and to continue working on my running practice.