I survived Crystal City 5k Friday!
Crystal City 5k Fridays are sponsored by Pacers Running and are held every Friday in the month of April. I participated in the final 5k Friday for 2017. While I had fun (in hindsight), the run was not nearly as easy as I anticipated.
I went with a friend who has not run a 5K race before. After reading about my experience on getting fitted for running shoes at Pacers, he went, got fitted, and was ready to run. Shortly before the race started we discussed a quick game plan. We would stick together and I would keep the pace for both of us. He was looking to maintain an 11 min mile pace. Here is where I will share the disclaimer I should have clearly expressed to him: I have not gone for a 5k run outside since September 2016, about 7 months ago as verified by my Nike+Run Club app. Yes I have been training using the Nike+Run Club app, but for very short runs (1-2 miles) on the treadmill. I thought this run was gonna be just fine.
Soon as the race began, we kept a great pace and completed mile 1 in about 10:32 seconds. Mile 1 felt comfortable, but I knew we were pacing a bit quicker than the 11 min mile goal. I decided at the one mile mark, we should take a walk break. Why did I do that? Once we started taking walk breaks, I couldn’t stop. We went another half mile then I needed to walk again. Another half mile and I needed to walk again. At this point, I am desperate for the 2 mile flag marker. We turned a corner and saw people making a loop and got excited about the 2 mile marker being close. Turned out the loop was a bit deceiving as it was about .4 miles further than I thought. When we turned that corner and saw how much further the loop marker was, I was crushed. That caused me to walk again. I was exhausted! We completed mile 2 in 11:31 seconds. The final 1.1 miles were a struggle, especially for me. I feel like I could only run maybe .2 miles before needing to walk. I could not control the pace any longer. I was basically sprinting to improve time and then walking to catch my breath. My left foot started to go numb which has never happened to me before and I had this shooting pain in my left leg. It was crazy. We finished the 5k in just under 39 mins (according to my Nike+RunClub app). I was shooting for about 33 mins to call the run a hit.
Looking back, it was still fun but man did I feel like I was on the struggle bus. The crowd was sizable and a mixed bag of runners of all ages and fitness levels. Pacers had little booths with shoes to try out for the race. Also local restaurants offered a free drink when you provided a ticket clipped to your race bib. I'm motivated by this hard run to get back outside and train. Running that 5k race also reminded me how much running is about mental discipline. I thought I would wake up sore today, but I'm fine. Which makes me wonder how much of yesterday's struggle was all in my head and not my body. Hmmmm. At any rate, its time to upgrade my Spring Training plan. I want to run another 5k or maybe even a 10k in the fall and compare my progress.