Yesterday I ran my very, very, very first 5K race. It was called STORM THE CASTLE. Best name for a race. Ever.
I love how I started with half marathons and marathons before trying out 10K and 5K races. I wonder if this is normal, or if it is as backwards as it feels.
The course ran through the Castle Air Museum. Therefore, this race marked the first time that the number of parked aircraft I passed outnumbered the number of parked automobiles.
Since I've never raced a 5K before, I wasn't sure what to expect for pacing. I have run tempo runs that have been longer than 3 miles before, so I should not have been perplexed. But I never can seem to get a handle on my opening pace. I always plan for a reasonable opening pace, but I just simply need to face the truth.
The truth is that I just don't know what a reasonable opening pace is for me. I'm still figuring all of this out. I'm sure that I will still be figuring all of this out in another five years. I ended up running a 8'44" pace for the first five minutes. What? The plan was a 9'45" to open and then progressively speed up. That clearly didn't happen. I distinctly remember feeling like I was running pretty slow because of all the faster runners. But I wasn't running slow for me. 8'44" is like my 400 interval speed on a good day. But it didn't feel hard during the race. Perspective, I suppose.
About two miles in I lined up with the woman who would later edge me out by 1.8 seconds to claim first place in our age group. Fairly soon we passed a teenage boy. This teenage boy didn't seem to like that because whenever we pulled ahead he would surge ahead and then fade a little. This would repeat.
We pushed and pushed until the end. I crossed the finish line at right after she did and spent the next two minutes trying to prevent myself from vomiting! Yes! I feel like a real runner now.
I stuck around for awards and discovered that I earned 2nd in my age group and 5th overall for the women! A humble 27:25 for my debut in the 5K. That equates to an 8'49" pace. I'll take it. This is totally a personal record for me. I can't think of another time when I've run about 3 miles at that pace.
Now I'm hungry for an even faster 5K time.