It’s Not You, It’s Me: My Separation from 5Ks

Over the past couple years, I found myself not really into 5Ks. I always feel like I’m just getting into my groove and then BAM! There’s the finish line. However, I’m trying to embrace a nice 5K every now and again. I like doing different distances throughout the year because it’s fun to mix it up and this distance in particular is a good opportunity to get in some solid speed work.

One of my issues in past 5Ks has been that I don’t push myself early enough in the race – probably because I usually opt for longer distances. So to fall in love with a 5K again, I needed to challenge myself by really pushing my pace. This sounds simple, but can be hard for me considering longer races require you to keep it easy during the first couple of miles.

On Saturday, I did the Atlanta Women’s 5K. It was a nice course with some hills in the Candler Park neighborhood of Atlanta. I’m happy to say I PR’ed with a finish of 25:58. And looking back at my splits, I stuck to my plan of coming out strong and pushing harder with each mile:

  • Mile 1: 8:26
  • Mile 2: 8:21
  • Mile 3: 8:11
  • Overall: 25:58 with an 8:19/mile pace
Womens5KBib

Didn’t bring my iPhone to this race – bad blogger! But here’s my bib.

I was giddy with the PR, but I also really enjoyed talking to people both before and after the race. When I run races alone, I loooove to people-watch, eavesdrop on pre-race chatter, and talk to other participants. That morning, I spoke to a mother and her 7 year old daughter. They were running their second race together (the girl had done some kid races in the past as well). The girl was so excited and kept asking if it was time to line up as she hopped around her mother. I love seeing kids that young so into running! And I love seeing parents encourage their children to run!

I also talked to a woman who was worried that she was too slow for our corral assignment. She had a similar pace to mine, so I told her she was fine. She then said she was going to pace off me. I ran into her afterwards and asked how she did. She said she was about 20-30 seconds behind me and was pleased with her time. While I am comfortable with my own pace/accomplishments/whatever, I realize I am no elite athlete. So for her to tell me that I helped push her to do well during the race really made me smile.

Before I left, I wandered over to the finish line area to cheer on some of the other ladies. I love watching others finish a race. The Atlanta Women’s 5K also has a training program associated with it, and many of these women had never done a 5K before. Those are the people I like watching and cheering on the most. Those are the people who stepped outside of their comfort zone and completed their goal. Some of them looked elated, others looked exhausted. I saw ladies from 7 years old to 89 years old cross that finish line. I was thrilled for each and every one of them.

So, I apologize to 5Ks in general. I needed an attitude adjustment to appreciate this distance once again. I’m happy to say we’re on better terms.

What’s your favorite 5K to run? Comment or hit me up on Twitter: @AtlRnnr.

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Race Recap: 2014 Publix Georgia Half Marathon

Publix GA Half Marathon

Smiling despite a tough go at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon

They say every dog has his day. We’ll assume that applies to humans, especially dog lovers such as myself. My day was not yesterday at the 2014 Publix Georgia Half Marathon. Once I got going, I just wasn’t feeling great. I finished in 2:09 and at times it was a struggle. But there were some beautiful little moments along the way that powered me through and made it a good experience.

Luckily, I knew exactly what to expect since I ran this race last year. I really like the course. While this one isn’t great on crowd support, it goes through some of my favorite neighborhoods in Atlanta. It’s a good challenge, too – plenty of hills!

Here were some of the highlights of this year for me:

  • Seeing some of the wheelchair teams along the course. This always chokes me up a little – it’s hard enough getting yourself through a race, let alone bringing another person along! I always make sure to give them some words of encouragement since they provide me with so much inspiration!
  • Miles 7-8, which wind through the Highlands and Piedmont Park. I spend a lot of time running through these areas, so to do it on race day feels comfortable and makes me happy.
  • Baton Bob. For those of you who don’t live in Atlanta, Baton Bob is a baton twirler who happens to wear amazing outfits as he shows off his skills on the streets of Midtown. (Google him) He appeared around Mile 9, with both a routine and a spirited greeting.
  • The only guy who could make me smile more than Baton Bob: my boyfriend. He works for Turner Sports, which means he has been working nonstop because of March Madness. He got off of work at 1:30 a.m., but still dragged himself out of bed to surprise me between Miles 9 and 10.
  • Later-mile supporters. Those last few miles are hilly and tough, but the crowd support here was great! At the points where there weren’t a lot of people around, they made up for their numbers with their enthusiasm and loudness.
  • Seeing friends before and after the race. I’m lucky to have so many friends who are runners. It is always good to see them at the start and finish line!
Finisher's medal for the 2014 Publix Georgia Half Marathon

Finisher’s medal for the 2014 Publix Georgia Half Marathon

I guess my point this week is to focus on the good parts of each race, even if you aren’t performing at your best. Those little moments of happiness are what will stick with you as you think back!

Next up: Atlanta Women’s 5K on March 29! Do you have a race moment you’ll never forget? Comment or send me a tweet: @AtlRnnr.

Pre-Race Panic

Coming off of the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I was feeling pretty good. It was exactly one month before my next half (Publix Georgia), it was my second-best half marathon time despite icky weather conditions, and there were no injuries in sight. I figured I would take an easy week, then get in a couple of higher-mileage weeks before the race.

Until life happened. Usually when I get sick, we’re talking a day or two of moderate misery. This was a full week of not being able to breathe and having no energy whatsoever. I ended up losing a little more than a week of running… and the panic ensued.

I was stressed about my just-over-a-week hiatus. But then I stopped and remembered I’m not an elite athlete and talked myself down off the ledge. Here are a few little reminders the next time you’re bummed about a hiccup in your training plans:

  • Forgive yourself. It doesn’t matter if you missed training runs because you were sick or work took over your life or your couch held you hostage for a few days – let it go. Obsessing over the runs you *didn’t* do won’t help the runs you can still get in before race day.
  • One day at a time. Upon my triumphant return to the pavement over the weekend, I made a point of not pushing too hard on my 6 mile jaunt. I even forbid myself from looking at my pace during that run. And guess what… it wasn’t bad.
  • Remember that running is fickle. This is both a beautiful and maddening truth about running. You could train your butt off and come race day have something random like digestion issues completely ruin you (trust me, been there!). Or you could have a horrible shakeout and then perform like the rock star the morning of the event. Believe in the foundation you’ve already laid down and hope for the best!

The bottom line is this: running is supposed to be fun. Sure it’s more enjoyable when you’re feeling good and running well, but you wouldn’t appreciate all of those great moments without a few crappy ones. Take a breath, get back out there, and do your best. 🙂