Monday, April 1, 2024

Easter Classic 5K

On Saturday morning I ran the PVTC Easter Classic 5K with my friends Allison and Cheryl. My main goal was to celebrate Allison's birthday at brunch and she just happened to be running this race, so Cheryl and I joined her. My original plan had been to run my last long run before Boston on Saturday, but it was easy enough to move that long run to Sunday, and just run it slower if my legs were tired from the race.

I got to the race in what I thought was plenty of time to get my bib and warm up. But I ended up not having enough time to warm up. This was mostly due to the fact that the timing chip (a new system for this race organizer) was attached to the bib in a plastic bag and that bag kept falling off while I was warming up. 

I had to keep re-pinning the plastic bag to the bib and the bib to my shirt to make it stay. Before I knew it, it was time to start the race and I had only warmed up for 1.3 miles, at a slow pace. No time for strides or faster running like I had planned at the end of the warm up. 

I really didn't care too much about this race so I wasn't bothered by it. The weather was absolutely perfect: 41 degrees, sunny, and no wind. The last time I ran this race in 2019 with Cheryl it was 70 degrees with nearly 100% humidity. Easter was April 20th that year, so that partially explains the warmer temps. 

The race course was the W&OD trail in Arlington, around mile marker 4. The first half is uphill and then you turn around to run downhill.

Mile 1:
The race started and because it was cool and I hadn't run faster than a 9:00 pace during my warm up I had a hard time getting going. This was made worse by the fact that the first mile was uphill and the trail had some bumps in it to weave around. I was struggling quite a bit, but my legs just would not go as fast as I wanted them to. 

It was a small race and there was one woman ahead of me. She looked to be about 10 seconds ahead-- and I thought I might be able to pass her in the second half, but I wasn't going to try yet. I ended up running a 6:40 mile.

Mile 2:
This mile had a somewhat steep hill, then a turnaround and then back down. But even with a downhill second half, I was still not moving at the pace I thought I could be moving at. Part of the problem was the sun glare. The way the sun was hitting my face and low in the sky, I could not see the trail in front of me. And because there were bumpy areas, I wanted to have a clear view. So I ran parts of this mile with my hand at my head, acting like a visor. Note to self: bring a visor next time! 

The best thing about this mile was that Cheryl stopped to take a video of me running and to cheer. I had not been expecting that! She was using this as a training run, so she didn't mind stopping. This mile clocked in at 6:38. 

Mile 3:
My tempo runs lately have been around 6:35, so I wasn't even hitting that during this 5K. Which meant I knew I had a lot left in me for this mile. So I pretty much started sprinting as soon as that mile started. I blew by the woman who was ahead of me at around 2.5 and also passed some of the men. I had so much energy due to my legs not cooperating in the first half of the race.

I ran a 6:08 mile according to Garmin and 6:03 according to Strava! A new record for the fastest mile in a 5K! And I continued to sprint the last 0.13 at a 5:50 pace and was the first female finisher, 3rd overall finisher. 

After the Race
I then waited for Cheryl and Allison to come in and I cheered for them. We all won chocolate bunnies! And then we celebrated Allison's birthday at brunch.

Their new timing system didn't seem to work as well as they hoped, and that's okay. This was a super low-key race and I love that PVTC does this series. My official time was 20:14, making this my 4th fastest ever 5K. I'm most proud of my final mile in 6:08 or 6:03 and the fact that I was able to really gun it after a sluggish start. 

The day after the race (Sunday) was Easter and I was able to run 17.4 miles with plenty of energy. My legs were tired from the race, so I kept the pace easy, but it was a beautiful morning with very few cars on the roads. 

We are now two weeks out from the Boston Marathon and I feel really well prepared. I've run two 20-milers, a 17.4-miler and a 16 miler. My weekly mileage has ranged from 50-64. 

Final Thoughts

  • Primary goal of spending time with friends achieved! 
  • Felt great to be the female winner
  • I was happy with my push during the final mile
  • 5Ks that start uphill when it's cold need more of a warm up
  • Greg stayed home because this was a girls' thing!
  • I want to eat that chocolate bunny, but he's so cute.

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