Running of the Squirrels 5k
I ran a 5k, you know, because those fit so well with half marathon and 50k training. I actually did it for $100 cash and a cute porcelain squirrel trophy, although driving to the race in the pouring rain I had second thoughts. Luckily it was 50 degrees so being soaked wasn't torturous, and I was able to win overall female for said cash and squirrel, with an 18:36 via splits of 5:57, 6:03, 5:57 (5:26 final 0.12). I then ran the course again at marathon effort (6:28 average) and an 8.2 mile cool down, which along with a 3.4 mile warm up gave me a 17.7 mile long run.
My race on Strava is here.
|I loved this prop!|
Things that will get me to race a 5k:
- Prize money
- The ability to make the race part of a long run workout
- Porcelain squirrel trophies
Running of the Squirrels on March 13 had all of the above, so I was in! What I wasn't in for was the very rainy race morning, but I'd pre-registered so what was I to do but still run it? Plus my running group canceled their run that morning due to heavy rain...
I was excited for this race (because, a race!!), but I wasn't sure how much pep my legs would have with the miles they had on them; 2 days before the race my rolling 7 day mileage was 102 and the day before it was 97 (I was also coming off 3 days of work travel). I only ran 4 miles plus strides the day before the race, so that had to help some but this obviously wasn't a goal race (because, 5k!) and I did not anticipate that it would be competitive (because, small town Missouri). My plan was just to run by effort and go for the win, and I also hoped I didn't have to go too deep since I wanted to get in many more miles after the race.
It rained for over 24 hours straight before the race, and the hourly forecast showed 100% chance of rain each hour all race morning, so I knew there was no hope of staying dry but when Colin, Derek, and I ran the course for a warm up I also realized we were going to be running through a lot of standing water! It turns out that Marionville doesn't have the best drainage... But, the rain stayed moderate (not heavy) while we were running, and it was 50 degrees so it could have been much worse! We also saw a real white squirrel during our warm up.
After our warm up, some drills, and strides, we lined up in a pretty small field. I think the rain scared a lot of people away, because the last time I ran this race it was much bigger. After the gun, 6 men took off ahead of me, and I settled into pace and began working on closing the gap to the closest. I focused on giving a good effort for 3.1 miles, but leaving a little in the tank because I wanted to finish the rest of my running for the day without dying. As is typical when I'm running high mileage, I felt strong but not fast. I'd passed half of the men by the mile mark, and the next was fading so I focused on working up to him, which I did around halfway. I then worked on reeling the second place male in, and I gained a lot of ground but ran out of time and he finished about 15 seconds in front of me (he had been with my running buddy Colin at the mile in 5:30ish).
After I finished and looked at my splits, and I was really happy to see how well I paced. I have learned that I typically do best when I don't look at my watch during races, and this race was no different. Pre-race I thought I was in shape to run about 5:50 pace for a 5k, and I still think I am but I need no rain or water crossings to do it. 🙂 I am not quite in shape to break 18 right now, but I am also doing primarily strength-based training (tempos, hills, progressions - not straight speed), so I'm happy that I can run sub-6:00 in sub-par conditions. My PR was 18:25 for a very long time, which also gives me perspective here.
I cheered a few friends in after I finished, then changed my shoes and Colin and I were off for another loop of the course at marathon effort. I was aiming to run 6:25, and we averaged 6:28 via 6:26, 6:40, 6:20...I felt good but just lost focus and talked too much during mile 2. We then went to check on the awards, which of course were supposed to start "any moment" but took 20 minutes to begin and then started with 10 and under, so we stood around waiting for longer than I'd have liked for our overall awards that were presented last. I was also freezing since I was in soaking wet clothes!
Colin was first male overall & Derek first masters male!
|Not my best photography, but good race stuff|
|You can kind of tell how soaked I was here|
|Professional race photo, hah|
After getting a $100 bills and porcelain squirrels, Colin and I were off for 7.5-8 more miles that ended up being 8.2 and giving me 17.7 for the day (I was planning 17 so this was real close). Those miles started draggy and slow (8:43 first), but after warming back up we were back to 7:30ish. It rained the entire cool down too, so I got in a lot of very wet miles! I wore 3 different shirts and 3 pairs of shoes during the course of the event, and my car's hatchback was filled with wet apparel by the end of it all. I'm happy to report I had no chafing or blisters, which was perhaps the biggest victory of the day!
I'm thankful to be back to racing, even 5ks (which we all know are not my forte)! I ran this race in 2015 so now I have two porcelain squirrels, and Albani says I need to get a papa squirrel next year!
|They're so cute!|
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