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
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.