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Sweet 17: Panther Run 5K

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I finally ran a 5K time starting in 17!


Everyone won & PRed!

This local race was a last-minute addition to my schedule.  Back in July, I noted all of the races I was interested in on my training calendar and told my coach to choose which ones she thought were the best fit for my biggest season goal, the Indy Monumental Marathon (this truly shows how much I trust her!).  I wrote the Panther Run 5K/10K/15K on there as a fun local event that's not competitive but has a little prize money, but she passed it up initially since I likely wouldn't have anyone to run with.  After the warm, humid weather at the Indy Women's Half the week before put me at 0 for 3 for decent weather races this season, she threw out the possibility of me racing the 5K at Panther if the weather was decent and if I recovered well from the Indy.  Both happened, so Panther happened!

It was 59 degrees race morning, and it's amazing how cool 59 feels when you've been running everything in 70+!  When deciding whether or not to race the 5K earlier in the week, I'd talked to my friend Mike who was running it, and he said he thought he could run the first 2 miles with me at my goal pace, 5:40.  I knew I'd need someone with me to really push it, so I was happy to connect with him.  A friend I ran with at Pitt State, Daniel, was also running the 5K, and my training partners Abby and Rebecca were running the 15K and 10K, respectively - plus I saw hundreds of other familiar faces and enjoyed the hometown race feel!

I thought of this race more as a workout - as if my coach had put 3.1 miles at 5:40 pace on my training schedule.  In the past I've gotten really scared of paces that fast (after it, that is pretty much my sprint!), but I just decided I'd run it until I couldn't run it anymore, and hopefully I'd be close to the finish line at that point.  I also knew that even if I blew up at halfway or 2 miles I could most likely still win the race, so it was an easy gamble to take.


I was caught on film during my warm up


Kids sprinting out faster than 5:40 pace

From the gun, several kids and teens got out fast, but by about a half mile in Daniel had a lead on the field and Mike and I were together in 2-3 overall.  We hit the mile in 5:39 (per Garmin - Strava had me a little faster), and I felt the best I ever have after running a mile that fast.  I have been racing without looking at my watch recently, but I don't have a good grasp on 5K feel (beyond: hard), and as I mentioned I attacked this more like I approach a workout, so I looked at my splits during this race.  Mike was letting me set the pace, and by halfway I'd gapped him and was running alone.  I could see Daniel ahead of me, but he was too far up to help.  I told myself to stay on the gas, and hit my second mile in 5:41 (again per Garmin, with Strava at 5:40).


Towards the beginning of mile 3 - focus

I have a really hard time negative splitting 5Ks, and although I felt strong and like I was moving well during mile 3, when I looked down my pace was 5:47.  I told myself to get it back down to 5:40, but I also knew that as long as I stayed around there I was going to PR and break 18.  We turned onto the last long stretch of the course on Benton Street to come face-to-face with the 5K walk, which was going out in the opposite direction we were coming in.  I suspected I was going to be really close on breaking 18 since the course had measured long on my Garmin in the past, so I kept hugging the tangent and just hoping that the walkers would move over for me.  It was shocking how unaware most people were!  I later asked Daniel if he went through them or around, and he said he and the lead cyclist went around, so I was the first rude person going through (Mike said he went through after me though!).  But no regrets!  It probably slowed me down a bit, but I think the hardest part of that final mile was not having anyone to run with; I always run better with someone pushing me.

The finishing clock started with the 15K race, then they started the 10K when it was at 10:00 and the 5K when it was at 20:00, so when I saw it ticking 37:4X I knew I was going to make it!  My finishing kick was non-existent, but I suppose 5:40 really is about as fast as these marathon legs will turn over.  I stopped my Garmin at 17:54 shortly after the line.  I was the second overall person behind Daniel, who ran 16:59ish.  He said he was either just under or just over 17:00, but I'm giving him 16:59...the reason we don't know for sure is because there was an error with the results, with some times being +13-15 seconds off watch times.  Of course this would happen to me when I finally break 18 (mine is officially listed at 18:06 - insert crying face here)!  But, I have my Garmin and Strava data, and I am trying not to be upset about it.  The main thing is that I don't know what my official PR should be, since I stopped my Garmin just after I finished.  17:52?  Strava gave me 17:42.  I will probably use this as an excuse to run another 5K soon to try to make this conundrum irrelevant with a faster time.


Garmin data


Strava data (my HR monitor didn't work correctly during the

race, which is why it says "this was easier than your usual

effort"...it sure was not!)


From Strava


This should be a negative split course, but

the elevation isn't as dramatic as it looks (I

didn't really notice it at all)

After the race, I was supposed to take about 10 minutes then start a 30 minute progression run.  I took 16 minutes, but that was because both Daniel and Mike were willing to run it with me (which I was quite thankful for!) and were getting a drink, etc.  I started at 8:00 pace and dropped 15 seconds off the pace each half mile in order to finish at 6:00 (actually I finished at 5:53).  I was pleasantly surprised with how strong I felt doing it!  I could NOT have managed anything close to this after the Brookhaven 5K - I barely made my 6 mile cool down at 8:15+ pace that day.  I then ran 5 more miles easy for 16 on the day (Daniel did those with me too, and we still walked into the awards ceremony on the tail end of the 5K awards).

Rebecca won overall female in the 10K and Abby won overall female in the 15K, so it was a podium sweep for my running group (yes, we did plan to go for that)!  We enjoyed the very lengthy awards ceremony/give-away extravaganza (I won a $120 Pilates gift certificate and a $25 gift card to Eat Fit Go!), then had an amazing brunch. 


Celebrate good times



It's funny that I did so much research to find the "perfect" 5K to run this season and landed on the fastest course in Oklahoma at Brookhaven.  That course was pancake flat, had few turns, and had deep competition.  I even had a lighter training week going into that race, but I did not have a good race there, even taking the weather into the consideration.  I trained straight through this race (88 mile week), was a week off of racing Indy Women's Half, didn't commit and sign up until Thursday evening (the last preregistration opportunity), ran most of the race alone, and the course is mediocre (more turns and elevation than ideal, but not bad).  I suppose that I run best when I am least concerned about it!

I'm thankful to be part of such an amazing local running community, and I'm thankful that my coach thought this race was a good idea - perhaps the most shocking part is that I did not even ask to add it!  I was disappointed with my performance at the Brookhaven 5K, but I was content with leaving that as my best 5K of the season.  One of the many things that God taught me through my last injury was to be content regardless of my running performance.

Philippians 4:13 ("I can do all things through him who gives me strength") is often used by athletes to credit God for performances, which is fantastic but not the whole story.  In context, Philippians 10:13 reads:  "I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.  Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength."  The theme?  Being content in any situation.  God gives us strength to be content because of Him.




My face here is proof the 5K is painful from the third step

(unless you are under the age of 16)


How bad the 5K hurts during the third mile, hahahahahaha!

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It still amazes me how much easier it is to run when the temps and humidity drop.

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9 hours ago, Dave said:

It still amazes me how much easier it is to run when the temps and humidity drop.

If racing at 59 degrees feels this good, I sure can't wait until it's 40!

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8 hours ago, eliz83 said:

Amazing! I love it when an impromptu race has such a great outcome. 


Fingers crossed that your 5K or 10K at the KC marathon also has a great outcome!  🙂

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