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Last week I got to visit with New Friend Jenn, who is in town from Colorado.  I know her family really well, and they’d remarked before that we seem similar, and through our Facebook friendship, they seemed to be right. So I was excited when she told me she was considering running the Tucker Road Race with her aunt, and asked me to come, too. I was very up in the air about it; normally I’d be going for a long run, but to be honest, I was TIRED after the Wisconsin Marathon 1/2 the week before, and all the travel and no-sleep that came with it. And I was interested to see how I could do in a 5k, as I’ve not run one since last July, when I finally broke 30 minutes–but just barely! My time then was 29:50-ish. I was curious as to how my added mileage, better form, and marathon training would affect my pace at the shorter distance.

So Saturday morning I got up, laced up, and went to the bank to get cash to register. I’ve never been so last-minute about a race before and it felt reallly spontaneous and fun. I got to Tucker High School and met up with Sarah (the aunt) as Jenn’s son had had a rough night and she’d opted out of the race. We went down to the track and I did the warmups Donyale had given me Thursday. Then we headed up to the start. This was a teeniny and not particularly well-organized race and the start line was a jumble, but they started us and off we went. I knew I was going too fast, but had that voice in my head, that voice that tells you you’ll be fine, cause you feel SO GOOD right then. And honestly, I wanted to push it that day. I was feeling strong and empowered with my recent form improvements. Mile 1 flew by as we made it off the major road (not closed to traffic). Mile 1 split: 8:16.

Right after the 1-mile mark we hit what the race website described as a “challenging hill” in the middle of the course. WRONG! It was a huge hill that, with the exception of a brief and steep downhill, continues on for the rest of the race. I worked my arms and pushed hard up the hill. Lots of walking happening on that hill, but NOT ME. Not today. Mile 2 split: 8:58.

By mile 2.5 I was pushing hard and started to get the 5k I’m-gonna-yak feeling. But hey, there was only a half-mile left. I can do that. So, onward and upward. Literally. Even the finish  was uphill–across an active road and through an active parking lot. Hmmmm… Mile 3 split: 8:47.

I slugged toward the finish; I had no kick left. And here’s where my disappointment is: I went out too hard and I’m fairly certain it cost me at least :20. Going out too fast is such an Achilles heel for me. BUT I KNOW BETTER. I will chalk it up to being a very inexperienced 5k runner (I’d rather run a 1/2 than a 5k any day), but I don’t want it to happen again. Anyway, I’m focusing on my massive PR. Final time: 27:18. That’s a full 2:30 off my 5k time since last July. And I feel confident with more work, and the coaching I’m currently getting, that sub-25 is within my grasp, and soon. So while I’m not happy with the way I raced, I am SO excited for what’s to come.

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