Hollis Fast 5k

Hi! Remember me??? Don’t worry, I’m still alive and kicking! I’ve done a few races and 5ks lately (Boston to name one of them!) and I haven’t been motivated at all to write any sort of review- or post. I’m sorry. Please forgive me!

But Thursday night,  I raced the Hollis Fast 5k and I thought to myself:”I should really do a blog post on this one because it was really cool.”

Before I tell you about the race, I have to give you a small story: I didn’t run my first 5k until 2014. I have always been a distance runner, and I used to consider 5ks to be “beneath me”. HA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. Oh Nicole. So silly. My first 5k was the Hinkley Allen Manchester 5k in July of 2014. My goal was to break 21 minutes. And I did, with a 20:50. After that first 5k I said 3 things:

-I feel like i’m going to puke (I didnt’)
-i hated that
-I want to break 20 minutes.

5k’s are my “scariest” race distance. So how do you get over that “I’m freaking terrified right now” feeling? YOU DO MORE OF THEM. I have never been able to truly find my rhythm in this distance. It’s so short that you really don’t have time to make anything up, and if you’re looking to push it, you’ve got to do it from the very start. It’s truly 3.10 miles of riding the Pain Train. Sometimes I crash and burn, and sometimes I feel good the whole race only to realize later that the only reason that I felt good is because I didn’t push it enough.

In 2015, I set a new PR at the same 4th of July race that I did in 2014. New PR: 20:07. On my bday this year, (May 1st) I ran a 5k in town (because why NOT run a race on your birthday??). It wasn’t a chip timed race and I ran a 20:17. However, when I uploaded my Garmin later and reviewed the splits, my watch said a ran a 20:05. If I hadn’t run 16 miles the day before, I KNOW I would have PR’d by more than only 2 seconds!

So I was heading into the Hollis Fast 5k with the knowledge that I was GOING TO PR. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. My mental game was STRONG.

 

The Pre Race Stuff Logistics:
The Hollis Fast 5k was one of the best races I’ve ever run in my life. There are so many good things to say about it that I’m afraid I’ll forget a few! It was extremely well organized and a closed course- I LOVE THE CLOSED COURSE.Runners had the option of picking up your bib at a local running store, or on site the day of. Since I like running stores, and since I like this particular running store (Fleet Feet), I opted to pick up my bib ahead of time. (bonus to Fleet Feet for including a 20% off coupon on the back of the runners’ bibs!) 

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OH. I haven’t mentioned the course and elevation profile yet, have I? Well take a look at the elevation profile….

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AMAZING. Now you can see why I was so excited, right??? The race drops 224 feet over the 3.1 miles and it is a point to point course. You are basically running on one road for the whole race-there is one turn. I loved that. Compared to some races (like the Good times race series) that are filled with a TON of twists -it was really refreshing to run this course!!!

A lot of runners commented on the IG post that I wrote about this elevation profile and how it looked like a race to blow your quads. It really wasnt though…The downhill is very slight, and I found it easy and not very steep. So instead of feeling like you could be falling down the hills because your pace feels out of control, it is more of a manageable decline.

The Race email suggested that runners arrive early: to the 6:30 start: This is a 5k that 1400 people registered for…holy smokes that’s a lot of peeps for a 5k! I knew it would be busy, so I listened and got to my parking lot by 5:15. Runners were bussed to the starting line (that is something new-to-me for a 5k!)

The weather was PERFECTION for race day: I was in a skirt and tank, and wore a sweatshirt to the start because I was a little chilly. There was a slight breeze and for the first time EVER, I didn’t actually mind the wind because it was a freaking TAILWIND that blew us down the course!!!!! I have done so many races where I’ve been too hot, too cold, it was too windy, etc…All The Stars aligned and the Running Gods were smiling down on me!!!!

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Once I arrived at the race start, I hit the porta potty, took my GU, and just waited around a little bit. I didn’t run into any trouble with lines, and I saw several porta potties-and still never really noticed a line at any of them. So either people used their own bathrooms at home, or lines moved fairly quickly! It suddenly occurred to me about 15 minutes from go time that I forgot to:

a.) warmup
b.) make a playlist.

Are you kidding me??? I’m chalking this up to the fact that my brain was centered around a new 19:xx PR!

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Stuck this penny made by one of my besties in my little zippered pocket. It can’t hurt to have luck on your side, right???

After a 3/4 minute jog around the school lot, I checked my sweatshirt with the gear bus, and went to line up out front. I spotted the lovely Run Far Girl and went into total fangirl mode. I had to say hi to her because I love her IG, her merchandise, and her positive attitude that she always displays! Plus I love reading all of her mom posts! It was so nice to meet her!

 

THE RACE.
Before I knew it, I was off! I didn’t want to look at my watch unless I felt my pace was slipping. I always go out too fast in 5ks and I didn’t want to make that mistake this time. I also wanted to go by perceived effort. I kept the pace pretty even and I reminded myself that this was MY RACE. For once, I didn’t care about placing or winning or any other crap like that. I didn’t care if anyone passed me or passing people: I was solely focused on A NEW PR.

The first mile felt good, a little painful as most 5ks feel to me. I got out of my own head and beat the Negative Nancy’s way down. I had no idea of the pace I was keeping, I focused on even effort, breathing, and letting Rihanna and Calvin Harris sing to me. First mile clicked in 6:18!

2nd mile: I knew that, in order get a PR of 19:50-19:55, I would need to keep the pace under 6:30. I kept saying to myself “just keep it under 6:30, you can do this.” I felt really good and snuck a peek at my watch…6:11! YOWZA. I tried to just keep this pace which made me realllly happy! I started to pass people, mentally high fiving them in my head. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get out a single word when I’m running a 5k!!! I tried to focus on the race report that I read and remembered that the writer said when there were flat areas, he would tell himself to just keep this pace for a little while longer and it would start to go downhill again. The 2nd mile was by far my favorite mile: there was a really pretty field, and this was the mile that I felt the best in. My watch clicked in 6:06—> I actually couldn’t tell this because there was an instagram notification blocking half of my screen. (Note to self to turn off notifications when I’m in a race!)

3rd mile: I shall refer to this mile as the death march mile. Gahhhhhh. It was terrible. I wanted to cry. Everything hurt! Where I was able to speed up considerably in the 2nd mile, by the 3rd my whole body was like “Betch please, we’ve had ENOUGH!” The best part of the 3rd mile is that there are signs when you have 1 mile to go, .75, .50, .25…that was a freaking godsend!!!!!!! I kept saying to myself “JUST MAKE IT TO THE NEXT SIGN.” I saw my pace slip from 6:12 alll the way up to 6:25. I ended up running the 3rd mile in 6:32. (I know, i know, it’s not a bad pace, but it wasn’t the great paces I held in the first 2 miles!) 

I spied the finish line and I was sooooo happy!!! I went through under the clock reading that it was 19:47!!!!!!!! I was so happy and crossed with the BIGGEST SMILE on my face! I stopped, crouched on the ground, and kissed the asphalt (YUP, I was that crazy girl…) because I couldn’t believe the new PR that I had wanted for SO LONG was all MINE!!!!!!!

Official Gun Time: 19:45 🙂 🙂 :). I was the 23rd female. To place in the top 25 for this race is really darn good!

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Here I am crossing the finish line with a big fat smile. And as you can see, I really did kneel down and say a little prayer of thanks!

So lets talk about some of the things that went right:
-Number pickup the day before was really quick and easy, and so was the parking day of. I was pretty close to the finish line, so I was able to jog the mile-ish back to my car post race.

-The weather. OMG I loved it.

-My attitude. Going into a race with an attitude that you are going to PR is HUGE. The power of positivity is a real thing. The only way I can describe how I felt all day is to say this: I felt like I was standing on the ledge of a cliff and about to fall into something GREAT. The nerves were excitement, not stress nerves. It was a really great thing to feel.

-I was my own cheerleader. I backed, no PUSHED myself out of the dark corners of my mind, and I was yelling at myself that I knew I could do it, and I knew I could be better than what I was.

-The Course. While I did certainly love that it was a downhill course, I feel that I have learned how to really push myself towards new PR’s. I think the course was just a minor thing and that me giving it my best was the real winner.

What went wrong….
Too often runners (myself INCLUDED!!) focus on what went wrong during a race. The only thing that I think slowed me down was the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of BBG lately and even though I skipped leg day for the week, there are still plenty of burpees and squats in the other days that left my legs sore. But, I really love BBG and wasn’t willing to skip the whole week!!!

This race showed me that I should be shooting for a sub 19:30 time: If I had stayed at my average combined pace for my first 2 miles, I would have wound up with a 19:15 -19:20 5k time. Now I know what to shoot for next!!! I loved this course, and I love running downhill. I think the downhill course helped me get the PR, but I also think that my positive attitude made me kill this race and I feel very good about duplicating this effort on a regular course!

Thanks for reading!

Ever had a race day where EVERYTHING went right for you?? (it is MAGICAL when this happens!)

Just a couple tips on getting a 5k PR

By no means do I think I’m an expert at the 5k. However, I’m pretty proud of myself for that 43 second PR that I had Friday night & I’ve had a few people ask HOW I did it, so I wanted to share a couple of things with you. 

Being that a 5k is only 3.1 miles-it doesn’t seem very fair that it can truly be the hardest PR to break. When you really sit down to think about it, it makes sense. It’s really easy to have the idea in your mind that you’re going to just “book it” the whole entire time until you get to the finish line. In reality-booking it for those 3.1 little miles isn’t all that easy. I truly would rather run a marathon than a 5k. It’s just so damn hard because you’re going so fast! Whether your “fast” is a sub 6 minute mile, or a sub 10 minute mile-the effort level is the same. It’s a challenge! Plus you have less time to make up for the seconds/minutes you lose from things like fiddling with your music, or going up a killer hill, or whatever else is slowing you down. 

These are some of the things that helped me to get a PR!

1. Be diligent with your speed work and do the hard work. I’m really good at keeping up with regular track work and tempo runs. I’m getting more comfortable at holding those uncomfortable paces. I know that improvements in my speedwork carryover into every aspect of my running. Do weekly speed work and you will see improvements, too.

2. Knowing the course. This helped tremendously. I ran this race last year and I remembered every single thing about that route, including the fact that the last mile is completely downhill. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and set my sights on this race to break my 5k pr. 

3. Know your strengths & your weaknesses. I love this 5k course because the last mile is 100% downhill! I excel at coasting downhill! Some people take it easy going downhill, but I tend to go all out on them. I knew when I hit mile 3 that it was time to push it because I was almost there, dammit! It also helps to know your weaknesses:if you hate hills and running in direct sunlight, don’t pick a course chock full of hills that starts at 10:00 when it’s just beginning to be ridic hot outside. Everybody’s different& you’ve got to pick a race that feels right for you. 

4. Focus. I tried very hard to stay “in” the mile I was in. It’s not easy to do, especially if you’re doing a “booking it” pace. I swore, almost cried, and wanted to quit a billion times. I kept myself going though and tried to think ONLY about very small victories-like making it past the people who were handing out water. It was some really fast baby steps to get me the 3.1 miles, let me tell you! 

5. Mantra’s & Music: Two things that helped me tremendously! I kept repeating the word “PR” over and over in my brain. I still wanted to throw in the towel. But, before I could quit, I told myself that “I CAN DO HARD THINGS.” This kept me going! 

Music also saved me. I was so freaking tired by the time that mile 3 hit. I think I was halfway through it and about to cry when “Eye of the Tiger” came over my headphones! Talk about a stroke of luck! I couldn’t quit-I was running with Rocky for gosh sakes!

6. Not placing a whole lot of pressure on myself. I wanted to do well, & I wanted to PR. But if I didn’t-I knew that I was at least running a race with my friend, and that was a pretty great thing. I was 100% okay with not hitting a pr. It just so happens that I did get one, but I really removed the pressure from myself and just rolled with it. Above all-I wanted to have fun! I don’t know if this attitude helped me get it, but I would like to think that it did! 

I hope these little tips help you, and feel free to share some of your own tips that have helped you better your 5k time!

Mileage Totals: June 29th-July 5th, BBG Week 3

What a fantastic, amazing, incredible running week. I had so much fun with all of these runs and I couldn’t be happier!

Monday: Running: Off, BBG Week 3, Day 1: Legs & Cardio This week’s workouts were idential to Week 1.
Week 1, day 1 is ridiculously difficult. It leaves you feeling so sore that you contemplate if you can actually DO any more workouts, again, ever. This time around, it felt a LOT easier, and I went to bed without my legs feeling like they were going to fall off. It was still just as hard, but my body is starting to adapt (slightly) to these strength workouts.

Tuesday:
A planned tempo run with my girlfriend S turned into an easy run. When I woke up, I thought I was fine to do a tempo run. It wasn’t until I actually started to run that I realized how sore I actually was. The paces we held only a week before felt basically impossible on legs that had done a hard leg workout just the day before. Lucky for me-my friend was up for anything and she didn’t mind switching it up to an easy run.

Wednesday: BBG Week 3, Day 2: Arms & Abs. Running: 3 different runs (400s, 400s, 2 miles).
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Run 1: 400s at the track with S. I love running with my new (ish) friend. She is pretty much up for anything, and so am I. She never backs down from a challenge, and we are a really good match for each other! Wednesday morning, we set out to hit the track for some 400s. The goal was 8x400s. We were 4 x 400’s in when it started to downpour with a side of thunder & lightning. I’m all for rain, but I have to call it with a thunderstorm. We called it a day and headed home. My first set was SO GOOD and my best 400s EVER: 1:26, 1:26, 1:28, 1:27.
Run 2: I headed back to the track a few hours later and ended up finishing the workout. It’s really hard to do another 400s workout just a few hours later than your 1st. I don’t recommend it. My 2nd set was a little slower- (that is to be expected though) 1:28, 1:30, 1:30, 1:27.

Two weeks ago, S and I had done another set of 400s where my average was 1:29/1:30. Both of these were faster and I’m so pleased! Later that day/night, I did my BBG arms & ab workout. I can tell I’m so much stronger because I was able to do 3 rotations in the 7 minutes where I usually barely make 2. Progress! Run 3 was a cool down after BBG-a slow 2 miles.

Thursday: 7.01, 57:59- 8:16 avg pace. I took it really easy and did one of my favorite 7 mile hilly loops. I didn’t push the pace at all and just enjoyed the hills.

Friday: BBG Week 3, Day 3: Full body. Running: Hinkley Allen Manchester 5k! a new PR 20:07! 🙂 Splits: 6:11/6:50/6:14/.55.
Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 8.43.16 PM1st mile: Mostly flat with a slight downhill at the start. Mile 2- Mostly UPHILL. Mile 3-A straight shot downhill!!!! My Garmin read 20:07 for 3:15, 6:23 avg pace…official results have me at 6:29 avg pace. WHATEVER. It was fast & I am happy. I wish i had been faster on mile 2- if I had held the paces I did in mile 1 & 3 I would have pulled a 19:27/19:31 time. To me & my tired legs- we were keeping the same effort on those hills, but obviously that effort doesn’t always translate over into speed. This just means that I have to keep working on getting faster on those hills so I can nail another 5k 🙂

Saturday: 6 easy recovery miles, 49:50, 8:18 avg pace. I have to tell you that I could barely sleep because I was so excited from my PR the day before!

Sunday: 17 mile long run-17 miles, 8:14 avg pace. I was happy that the 8:14 pace felt really easy and manageable… My legs were still a little heavy from the 5k & it was REALLLLLY warm..but overall I’m very happy with this long run!

48.6 miles for the week, 7:54 avg pace.

BBG recap: I’m now three weeks into the 12 week program. It is such a tough program but I have to say that I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I am sore from the workouts-but the strength is really carrying over into my running, just like I wanted it to. I’m so excited to do every workout and I can see/feel lots of results already. I have a lot of new definition in my abs (maybe someday I will post a pic, but don’t hold your breath) and I love how strong and lean I’m feeling. The thing about hitting your 30’s and also being a runner is that you don’t tone up quite as easily as you did in your 20’s(sorry to those of you in your 20’s who are reading this!). Aging-you’re a bitch. These workouts are making me see some serious definition and i like it! I debated skipping Friday’s workout since I had the 5k at night, but in the end I didn’t want to do it Saturday, and I didn’t want to just skip it-so I did it anyway. My motto is “do it right or not at all”– I won’t see results if I don’t do the workouts! #DUH.

I had a lot of inquires asking how I got a 43 second PR on Friday, so I typed up some tips. I’m not an expert, but hopefully, they are helpful! Check back tomorrow!

 Me and my little buddy hope you had an amazing 4th! 

What was your favorite run of the week?

I did it!

I can’t believe I’m writing this sentence: 

Last night, I broke my 5k PR by 43 seconds! My new PR is 20:07!!!!! 

   Wearing the same outfit as last year for the same 5k..only I added the 4th of July socks! (I bought those last year for the same race and they didn’t arrive until July 5th)

7th woman out of 464, 26th finisher, 2nd in AG!

I’m also giving a big fat shout out to my friend M! (We are twinning here, and we did last year, too…good times& it’s really easy to find someone who’s dressed identically to you!!) You might remember me telling you that M was out of the running game for a while because she had a baby. We ran our first post baby 5k together at the beginning of June. Last night, she smashed that June time by 2 minutes!!! I’m so proud of her!  Twinning!

Thanks everyone for sending me those speedy thoughts! I think that & the gorgeous weather and very low humidity helped me get this very crazy awesome PR! I’m so close to breaking 20–I can smell it!! 

Happy 4th of July, everyone. Today I get to celebrate America’s birthday with my family, I hope the same for you! Thank you to all who have served and fought for America’s Independence!    

 

I didn’t dissappear & a mileage recap 6/8-6/14

First of all…HOW is it already halfway through June??? My “Facebook Memories” reminded me on Sunday that June 14th, 2012 it was my last day of school. Thanks FB. If I remember correctly-that was also the year I thought I was going to DIE during the marathon because it was almost 90. That year- we had no snow days. This year, we had 8 snow days so the last day of school is June 23rd. But….All those snowdays were so fun when they were happening  though….right??? 

Anyway. My hope for the summer is that I can get back to regular posting again! Every week there seems to be lots of Life Stuff that is happening that takes precedence right now.

Mileage Recap:

I took Sunday and Monday off from running. I wanted to REALLY rest my foot and didn’t want it to develop into a bigger problem. I was pretty nervous that it was going to develop into a full blown injury!!! The rest really helped and so did the Advil and the icing! Thanks for all of your suggestions, guys!! I now know it was from my shoes being tied too tight.

Monday -off, rested my foot

Tuesday-6 easy miles and my foot felt really good! took it for an easy paced test run and it felt great.

Wednesday- 6  easy miles with a friend.

Thursday- 7.6 extreme hilly Miles up Keyes Hill road in Pelham NH. Even though my next marathon isn’t hilly, I need to get better on hills. This road is actually full of rolling hills. No matter which direction you’re starting at-you’re going to be climbing!  I was happy to have this be my average pace up these mountains!! I am going to try to work this road into a run once a week. Maybe I will even be brave enough to do hill repeats on it (but probably not bc this hill is murderous!)  

Friday-off

Saturday- Run for Lyme disease 5k, 2 mile warmup, 3 cooldown

My cute friend Mareena let me know that there was a local race in our town and asked if I wanted to do it, too. The race started a mile up the road from me and took place on roads that I run on all the time. It was pretty much a no-brainer!

The race was organized as a project by a 14 year old kid named Jake Mercier. 5 years ago, he became extremely ill with a mysterious illness. He was an active kid who was suddenly struggling to get out of bed in the morning. After a 15 month waiting period, they finally diagnosed him with Lyme does seem and put him on antibiotics. 7 months later he was finally healthy again. I can’t imagine how scary that was for his family! He organized this race as a way to raise money and awareness of Lyme Disease and fund future research. The fact that a kid organized this race is amazing to me and was the final hook for me to sign up for another 5k (i serially hate them) However, it was worth running my most hated distance to listen Jake and his mom each make tear jerking speeches right before the race. So touching!

It was a little bit surreal to be at the race start:The Englesby Elementary School (formerly the Englesby Junior High) where I went for my 7th & 8th grade school years hosted the race. It’s always a little strange to be back at a school you went to as a little kid! The weirdest part was that the school looked EXACTLY the same as when I went there!

It was a beautiful day …for the beach. It was so freaking hot and the sun GLARED down at me. GLARED. Hot. I could hardly BREATHE. I think if it had started a little earlier like- 8 or 9 I would have done a little better…but 10 am was prime time for the sun! 

  

I took the female lead pretty early on-within the first few minutes. I kept it for the whole race, even though by the 3rd mile I positively wanted to DIE. When the police escorts drove by me to lead the way, I wanted them to pick me up. Ugh.

I was the 2nd finisher, even though the race results say I was third? That is WEIRD. You can see me outkicking the 3rd place finisher in the pictures, and he happened to be by my side at the start…I was clearly a few seconds ahead of him, yet the race results have him in second-and we both have the same time of 21:37…. SO weird. But anyway…I was the female winner, so YAY!

Run for Lyme 5k
I really dislike this picture, but I had to put it on here to show you the 2nd place dude and how he’s behind me!

21:37 for the win 🙂  

The best part of this was that I got to also run with two of my friends!! My good friend M and M’s husband B! This was M’s first race post baby and she did AMAZING!

THEN. 

It was time to get ready!!! My BFF had a very special secret date with her boyfriend. It was a secret engagement surprise that we were in on…and the plan was one of the most creative engagement plans I have ever heard of! My girls and I hung out for a little while while we waited for her arrival. It was awesome! Girl time followed by a side of celebrating 🙂

The newly engaged couple:) How amazing does the background look in this?!

Sunday: 15 slow miles with very heavy legs. I do not like the run after a 5k! It’s so hard and it hurts!!! Afterwards, it was a trip to Dick’s and my husband bought me some new Ghosts! 🙂 I haven’t run in them yet but I ‘m really looking forward to it!

43.5 Miles for the week 🙂

I hope everyone had a great weekend, I’m sorry this post is a day late…Life happens I guess!!!

Oh thank goodness…

that it’s Friday!!! Anybody else feel like this week went by at a snails pace??? Well, we made it!! Finally!!!

I don’t have anything very deep for you today. It’s been a crazy busy week and I a little bit sad! My seniors are gone! This year, I became extremely close with a lot of my kids-they were a wonderful group of young adults! That being said, I’m going to miss them a ton. Goodbyes are never easy, and this week I held back tears many times to say goodbye to some of my most favorite kiddos I have ever had!!

Besides being an emotional basket case- I ran a 5k on Tuesday! Another Good times 5k…and it was about 90 at the start with 60ish% humidity. Fun.

(Temp an hour after the start…still hot)

I was not ready to race again in the heat. Combined with some especially fun female problems-this was just not fun running! It was so crazy hot and I could feel myself wheezing at the pollen swirling up into my nose/eyes,  and the humidity taking ALL the breathability out of the air. I can sum up the race in a few sentences:

-I wanted to stop and be a cheerleader.

-I hated running and didn’t want to run again everrrrr. And especially not a 5k…..

-I was not in the mood to push the pace.

My official time was 21:55. 52 secs slower than my time a few weeks ago. 5th woman, 2nd AG. I will never get over the fact that a 5k feels longer to me than a marathon.  It’s bizarre. Anyway. It was a good speed workout and even though I’m disappointed in my time- I didn’t dwell on it at all. I want to hit a sub 20 minute time at a 4th of July race that I’m doing- this is the “big” 5k race for me for the summer- I think I can do it, but I know that I will have to get better at being uncomfortable at pushing the pace. it just isn’t something that I’m used to! The more 5k’s I do, the more I will become adapted to it. And I keep telling myself that “anyone can do hard things for 20 freaking minutes so get over it Nicole.” I have to build my 5k confidence! Also, I have decided that I would love someone to pace me during my 5k race…any takers???

  I literally envisioned this beer for the entire 3.19 miles. It was cold, It had ice chips in it, and it was heavenly. I am hugging it because it made me so happy! (don’t mind the makeup basically dripping off my face. This is what happens when you don’t have time to wash your face in between work and running a 5k!)


This is the Good Times 5k crew. We are currently thinking about doing the entire weekly summer series together!!
    

 I’m to enjoy the weekend with family and friends! Maybe one day soon I will get back into a consistent posting pattern!?

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

The 5k: The Scariest distance there is!

I get so nervous about 5k’s!! Isn’t that weird? I don’t get very nervous for a full marathon and I look forward to the challenge! But 5k’s cause me to lose sleep, give myself a stomach ache, and basically freak myself the heck out all over 3.19 miles. I think I would feel differently about the 5k if I had grown up a speedy runner who worked her way up from the 5k to the marathon. Instead—> I am the weirdo who’s first race was a marathon…and then worked BACKWARDS. (who does that???)

Anyways. I ran a 5k Tuesday night. I’ve been itching to get back into a solid routine of weekly speedwork. I did the Good Times race series that is in downtown Lowell. This is a great race series for runners of all levels. You can choose to register for the entire series (they have a spring series and a summer series), or you can pay for one race at a time. And the cost is pretty cheap- $15!!! The races are run out of a bar…I think all runners like this! It’s really a great time and it’s packed with people! They typically give awards to the top in each AG as well as the overall male/female. And if you hit a new PR, you get a “miley” award. They have some really fun incentives for runners!

For me, I like the series because it’s really close to my house. I like the idea of getting some speedwork in on a course I can run weekly and see improvements. The 5k is NOT a distance I excel at. I would like to go back in time and smack the old Nicole who scoffed at 5k’s because the distance was “too short for her daily runs.” Stupid, uninformed runner! If you are racing a 5k-than you are pushing your body to its limits. I don’t care if your race pace is a 4 minute mile, or a 15 minute mile-the effort on your part is the same. AND IT HURTS. Speedwork in the form of those 5 kilometers is a b****. I’ve only ever raced 2 (now 3) 5ks. And man they are tough!!

I’ve been making myself a mental checklist for the things I need to do next week:
-Line up more in the front, if not the very front. I was a lot further back than I thought I was and it was hard to bob and weave. I’m not the biggest fan of that!
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(I have on a blue headband, sunglasses, and blue tank-All you can see is my little head and a bit of my top….I’m about 7ish people-rows back from the front)

-I need to learn to dominate the second mile and not “just get through it”. I do not like mile 2!!!! It’s the toughest one!!! I really get in my own head, the waaahbulance gets fired up and I think to myself “I can’t do it! I’ll never get faster!” and of course, my fave–“When will this freaking be over??” The second mile on this course feels long- you are going from bridge to bridge and there aren’t any turns or twists-its a straight shot and it feels like it never ends!!! I think I swore off 5ks at least 10 different times during Mile 2.

-Don’t forget to take your GU Nicole! I meant to take it 10-15 minutes before. Whoops.

Things that worked:

-I warmed up and cooled down beforehand. Patting myself on the back now for that! I think the warm up helped loosen me up a LOT since I was still sore from my 16 mile run on Sunday. By the time I was through with the warmup, I felt a lot better. The cool down was great too. My muscles thanked me for letting them run a wee bit longer.

-I picked off people one by one. I would hold their pace, and when I knew I could take them-I would pass them by.
My goal is to get down to a 19:xx 5k soon, and then see how I feel after that. I know that I need to get even more “comfortable” being “uncomfortable” because 5ks are anything but “comfy”. They are hard work. This was my first solid effort at a 5k since August of 2014, so I’m pretty happy with my result of 21:03. 13 seconds off of my PR. I was 3rd woman overall and 22 finisher out of 378 runners.     (Splits: I started my watch exactly when the race started, not when I crossed the start line)

Some fun & random facts for you:

-My playlist. I made it 38 minutes long to include any little hiccups and also my cooldown miles.(and I made it longer because I like variety and i like to be surprised at what song is coming on next!) thanks to everyone on my FB & my IG who gave me some awesome song choices! “Guts over Fear” came on at EXACTLY the right time. Some dude was trying to pass me–All i needed was Sia’s gorgeous voice singing to me telling I had Guts and NOT Fear…And before i knew it, that dude was in the rearview 😉

-I have learned that (most) men do not like when a girl beats them. And, They like it even LESS when the girl is in a skirt. Just a little fun fact! I am going to keep wearing my skirts while racing! Not only are they adorable, they are sassy, I feel cute, and I like beating boys whilst wearing a skirt! Sidenote...I don’t mean to sound sexist!

-The run the day AFTER a 5k is just not fun. Not fun at ALL. I could barely hold an 8:30 pace….my “fastest” mile was an 8:09 mile! Its crazy what a good race effort can do to your legs/body!

And that is where I leave you today! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I’m really sorry at my extremely sporadic posting patterns of late–> My seniors have their LAST WEEK of school next week and i’ve been pretty busy with school/life lately and haven’t had much time to post! I promise to be a much better running blogger come the end of May!

What is the scariest distance to you?