I ran my first 5K in September 2006. Since then my times have not changed much. I've made significant improvements in the half marathon and full marathon since then, but my 5K was pretty much static:
Sept 2006: 24:07
Nov 2006: 23:32
June 2007: 23:30
Nov 2007: 24:19
April 2008: 23:58
Nov 2008: 23:22 (PR)
April 2009: 23:30
Nov 2009: 23:40
This was very frustrating for me because I had been working so hard over the years to be a faster runner and yet the 5K wasn't really coming down.
I'm very much of a morning runner, so evening races tend to throw me for a loop. But I made sure to hydrate well during the day and eat foods that wouldn't upset my stomach. Greg and I arrived to the race and picked up our bibs. We warmed up for 1.5 miles. I was worried that my Garmin couldn't get a satellite signal during the warmup. Finally, about 5 minutes before the race start, Greg held my Garmin up in the air and it got a signal.
The weather was about 56 degrees, sunny and very windy. The wind was the biggest challenge of this course. The course was mainly flat, with a few inclines. My goal was to go sub-23:00, and I was fairly certain I could be in the 22:40s if I tried.
The race started and I went out fast. My Garmin initially had me going at a pace of 6:30, but I wasn't sure that I trusted it, based on how look it took to get a signal. I decided to just run by feel and not really trust the Garmin. (These splits are according to Garmin)
Mile 1: 6:50
When I realized that I had run a 6:50 for the first mile, I thought to myself "what have I done?" But I continued onwards. It was really tough running directly into wind gusts and I didn't have anyone to draft off of. I just kept telling myself I could turn around soon! The hairpin turns in this race (3 of them) were not fun, but I think I handled them as best as I could.
Mile 2: 7:05
I knew at this point that I had a strong PR "in the bag" and I just had to maintain my focus. I started to trust my Garmin a little more, although the mile markers indicated slightly longer miles than my Garmin. I passed a ton of people in the last mile. I pushed as hard as I could. I kept telling myself: There's a new 5K PR just up ahead. All you have to do is run there to get it. The faster you run to get it the better it will be!
Mile 3: 7:04
When I was approaching the finish line, I gave a final kick and saw a 22:xx on the clock and was so excited!
Official time: 22:21
This is a PR by 1:01, which is huge for a 5K!
Average race pace was 7:12. This is a discrepancy from my Garmin, partially due to weaving, and partially because with all the tall buildings, maybe my Garmin wasn't completely accurate. I don't know how I placed because Pacers doesn't list results by age group and gender. There were definitely some strong runners out there, but I held my own!