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A surprising result (5k RR and other stuff)



The weather has been colder than normal this winter. Still not much snow, but wind chill advisories have kept me inside more often than usual. Tomorrow will be another really cold morning – I haven’t decided if I will face the cold or head to the gym. Training for the Austin marathon is going well, but I am behind where I would like to be. There isn’t much I can do about it – with the foot injury at the end of last year I just don’t have the time to get the long runs I’d like to get done. The good news is as long as things continue as they are I will be able to complete the marathon, but I will be undertrained. I have to avoid any mishaps – and the flu going around has me worried. Everything has me worried. I’m a worrier anyway, and since I’ve had two marathon “fails” in a row I’m even more nervous about this one. I won’t feel confident about getting to the start line until I’m standing on it. I may not feel confident about finishing until I actually have. PRs and sub 4:30 seem almost totally out of the question. (I won’t totally write off a PR, but I’m more concerned about just finishing right now. I feel like I want to write more about my fears leading up to this race but I’ve got other running news…

                On Saturday I had another cold long run, 15 miles. 14* and cloudy. 14 is actually 11* warmer than my 12 miler last week. 3, even with minimal wind chill is not something I want to run in, especially that far. Both of those runs went well. I did the 12 in my neighborhood because I didn’t have anyone to meet and being close to home meant getting warm after the run a lot faster. The 15 was at Forest Park in St. Louis about 1/3 with friends and the rest on my own. It mostly went well, but around mile 13 my knee started complaining. Just a little but it was in the area of the IT band so I started to get really nervous. It never got too bad, so I’m hopeful that it will be ok. But it doesn’t help my nerves about making it to the Austin start line. I had 16 on the plan, but 15 was already a 3 mile jump from the previous week, it was cold and I had a 5k the next day. The mileage increase over the previous week was also more than I like to do. After the run I got home, got warmed up and enjoyed a lazy day made possible by a long weekend.

                Yesterday I had the MLK Unity 5k run. It was another cold morning and my legs were tired. I almost didn’t want to go, but I’d payed for the race and the start line is barely a mile from my house. There aren’t a many 5ks less than ½ hour drive from my house (there’s tons in the STL area of course, just not super close to me) and the cause is a good one so I went anyway. With 15 miles on my legs the day before I wasn’t expecting much. I figured I’d run by feel and see what happened. The plan was first 2 miles comfortably hard, then the last mile as close to all out as I could make myself go. Last year was the inaugural race and a pretty small crowd. The race director told me when I picked up my packet they did have more people register this year and the crowd was a little bigger, but it was still a really small race. I didn’t see the previous year’s winner (overall a 12 year old girl). Like last year no one really seemed to want to start on the line. This year I didn’t either since I didn’t intend to run it all out. (Normally I have no place there anyway, but I think this race is about ½ walkers, and I was 4th or 5th woman last year so it was fair for me to be there). I started out and felt surprisingly light for the first ¼ mile or so. Then my legs reminded me of the 15 miles I’d done the day before. Nothing actually hurt so I ignored them. As usual lots of people took off and zoomed away. I just ran my hard but not too hard pace and hoped that I wasn’t going to hurt myself by having two hard days in a row. Mile 1 came in at 9:06. Not especially fast for me, but a lot faster than easy pace. I knew mile 2 would be the hardest as it is mostly uphill. But here is where I started passing people. I hadn’t taken note of how many women were in front of me and I wasn’t paying a ton of attention to how many I was passing, but gradually I was moving up. I may have passed 2-3 on the biggest hill, which is a hill I run at least 2x a week on my normal running routes. My watch beeped the end of the second mile (9:13), I took a deep breath and turned on the speed. Much of this mile is downhill except for a small hill mid mile. I passed more people. I still had no idea how many people were in front of me, or even if I was actually going that fast at all. About ¼ mile from the finish a volunteer was cheering the runners on and said “You’re almost there, keep going!” and then “You’re going faster than you ever have!”. I answered “Not quite!” as best as I could because I was breathing so hard.  Then my watch beeped the 3rd mile and I realized that she was right and I was wrong. Mile 3 was 8:08, a mile PR by 1 second. I still had the last 1/10ish to go. By the time I crossed the finish line my mile PR was 8:04. Surprise! I was shocked. Much of that mile was downhill, but it’s been a while since I’ve even come close to PRing. My first 2 miles weren’t that fast, but even with that I was 15 seconds off my 5k PR (finish time 27:23 by my watch, PR is 27:08.)  

Clearly one of two things must be true – Either I should run 15 miles the day before all my 5ks or I really, really need to run a 5k well rested. After the race I walked into the dance studio/charity offices where the 5k was being held where they had the medals, bananas and water. They were sending everyone to get their pictures taken in one of the dance studios. Then I walked back outside to see if they had computers set up where I could find out my official time. Much to my shock they were looking for me. I had placed 3rd female overall! On a race I didn’t really want to run. I hadn’t been going for a PR either, though I did end up running a lot faster than I expected. Recovery wise I feel good today, taking the rest day I normally would have taken yesterday. I won’t lose a day of running if I switch out a cross training day. I was hoping the race would get pictures posted fairly quickly but they haven’t yet and I wanted to get this written today while I’m off work. I may update with race pictures if I find them.

My 3rd place trophy. It's kind of huge, and there is also a picture of Dr. King on it, but I couldn't get it all in the picture. It looks like a thermal mug but it's not (bigger), it also reminds me of an urn for ashes but that would be too weird. Whatever, I'm not complaining, it's the only overall award I've ever gotten.


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Congratulations! What a great surprise to feel so good on used up legs. I bet you're in better shape than you think you are. Sounds like you're training smart!

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Well, surprise, surprise!  Seems you really are in better shape than you thought.  Congratulations on the award!

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Awesome, Amarie! when is Houston? Maybe some of your training from your last marathon and the crosstraining that you did kept you in better shape than you thought?

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1 hour ago, ocrunnergirl said:

Awesome, Amarie! when is Houston? Maybe some of your training from your last marathon and the crosstraining that you did kept you in better shape than you thought?

It's Austin (Houston was this past weekend I think) and the race is Feb 18. I'm hoping the fitness is carrying over - otherwise those late miles have the potential to be even tougher than late marathon miles usually are.

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