Pineland Striders Independence 5K Race Recap (20:55)

I set a new (2 second) 5K PR today! My Garmin detected a slightly long course (3.16 miles), so I may have been even a little bit speedier than the clock gave me credit for.

I took last weekend off from 5K racing because it was hot and my body wanted a break. I’d raced something like 5 consecutive weekends, so it was time to cut back and sleep in.

This week’s training went pretty well. I focused on logging relaxed, easy miles. Over the past few months, I’ve slowly upped my weekly mileage from 25-28 to 30-32. I know many local 5K racers run 50-70 mile weeks. While I’m not quite there yet, I’m taking baby steps in the right direction.

Since I didn’t race last weekend, I ran a pretty solid Saturday 5K progression workout (ending at a 7:15 pace) instead. The rest of the week, I ran anywhere between 8 and 9:30-minute miles.

I look forward to the Pineland Striders Independence 5K every year. This race is extremely friendly and well organized. It ends on a track which lends to a smooth finish. Most importantly, the race raises money and awareness for Sjogren’s Syndrome, a grueling autoimmune disease. My mother has Sjogren’s, and she deals with a lot of associated pain and discomfort, though she hardly ever complains. Venus Williams also suffers from Sjogren’s Syndrome. Judging by her success on the tennis court, I doubt she ever complains either. I really wanted to race well today, in honor of people who deal with chronic illness. It’s so much easier to push yourself through 20 minutes of discomfort when you put things into perspective.

My mother and me a few Christmases ago - I knit us matching scarves!
My mother and me a few Christmases ago – I knit us matching scarves!

That said, I woke up feeling pretty blah today. I didn’t even feel like doing my usual warm up before the race, so I chatted with Hollie and Chris at the starting line instead. Chit-chat is a really nice distraction before a race. You don’t have time to psych yourself out because you’re too busy gossiping about other people’s running shoes.

Even though I won the Independence 5K last year, I knew I wasn’t going to win this year’s race even before it started, since a really fast local runner showed up. I was glad she took the pressure off. I’m also happy to see this event is starting to attract truly excellent athletes.

Winning the 2014 Independence 5K
Winning the 2014 Independence 5K

Just a few seconds after the race started, a guy in front of me tripped and fell. I felt really, really bad for him. Fortunately, he did not get trampled by any other runners.

Chris shot out ahead of me. He’s been steadily closing the gap between us in the 5K distance. Spoiler: This time, I only ended up beating him by one second.

Another local female runner passed me about .5 miles into the race. I have raced her a few times this year. Sometimes I beat her; most times she beats me. Today was her day, so I settled into third place and hoped to maintain top 3 trophy contention. Hollie passed me shortly thereafter. (She was running the 10K.)

My first mile (6:24) flew by. I wasn’t really thinking about much, aside from surveying the lingering damage from Tuesday’s storm. There were a few down trees but the course was mostly clear and there were a lot of marshals leading the way.

I didn’t feel myself slow down at the one mile mark as much as I usually do. Today’s weather was slightly chilly, rainy, and only somewhat humid. After racing my last few 5Ks in 90 degree heat + 90% humidity, I felt a lot stronger, more resilient, and relatively cool. I hit my second mile in 6:45.

Around mile two, I caught up with Chris and passed him. I hit my third mile in 6:50. I thought Chris was a lot farther behind me by the time I reached the final 100 meter sprint. However, as I approached the finish line, I could hear him battling it out with another guy just a few feet behind me.

I grabbed a bottle of water and jogged 1 1/2 miles around the track to cool down. Cooling down on a track is so much better than cooling down on asphalt. Best News Ever: There was a CANDY BUFFET at the finish line! I grabbed a bunch of Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, and Laffy Taffies. Life is good.

Chris and I cheered for Hollie at the 10K finish.

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The 10K runners had it much tougher than the 5K runners. While the 5K course traversed entirely flat, paved roads and track, the 10K runners had to struggle through a seemingly endless field in order to reach the finish line. Hollie ended up winning the women’s 10K race! She won last year, too. #defendingchamp

I received a sweet trophy for finishing third woman overall in the 5K race.

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 1.56.03 PM

I’m really happy I got to shave even just a couple seconds off my 5K PR. Thinking about my mom during that last mile really helped me kick it to the clock.

Team 5(10)K!
Team 5(10)K!

Questions for the Internets:

What is your favorite cause/charity to run for?

Did you race this weekend? How did it go?

Given the choice between a 5K and a 10K race, which would you choose?

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9 Comments

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  1. Congratulations on placing and on your new PR! Pretty impressive considering you’ve been working hard and racing a lot and it’s also summer and hot out. I think having a good cause to run for, and it being personal, can really motivate you in a race though. Sounds like you’re doing a great job of increasing your mileage- and if what you’re doing is working for you, you’re getting faster, and you’re staying injury free, I agree with the small increases. You guys have some pretty neat looking races up there with trophies and fun stuff too, a candy buffet would be a neat perk since that’s not something I ordinarily buy. I love laffy taffy and the flavored tootsie rolls!

    Hmm… I would probably pick the 10K, just because they are kinda rare here- but that depends on the course- a lot of the 10K races we have are hilly or tougher than the 5K that’s at the same time/race. Also if I had a string of races, I might choose the 5K just to avoid tiring myself out for a few days.

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    • Thank you! I agree – small increases are the best. I’m not out to break any records, so I would rather take baby steps with my running and enjoy the process. I think this is the first race I have run with candy at the finish. It has since dawned on me: why done’t ALL races offer candy at the finish?

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  2. I’m so excited we could see each other for a few minutes as always. I’m also so excited you PR’ed, that is awesome. It sounds like you had a great race and I know you are going to PR again soon. The part before the field is the worse because you run on a main street (that they don’t close!). Then you finish on the field.

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    • It was so great seeing you and getting to race together (for a second). It’s awesome you won the 10K two years in a row! Hopefully we continue to get nice, cool racing weather for the rest of the summer.

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  3. Congrats on a new PR!! I love your top by the way! Hopefully we can run a race together soon!

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  4. Yeahhhh new PR!! CONGRATS, speedy!!! Hmm, between 5K and 10K? That’s tough. I think they are both really hard!!! Maybe the 10K, because I have more room for a PR there. I’m having trouble cracking my 5K PR!

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