Glenn went to our group speed work on Wednesday so I decided to sign up for the Fire Cracker 6 on Thursday and make that my speed work of the week. That would be a much more exciting way to get speed work in, compared to doing it all by my lonesome.
I decided to do the race on Tuesday and told my friend Ashley (friend I picked up from the Carmel Marathon, yep that’s how it went down. Got her digits after the race). Ashley and I have ran together a few times since Carmel and we were trying to find a day this week to run. I invited her to do the race and she rode down with Glenn, Marshall and I.
I’d never raced a 6 miler before. I haven’t raced a 5K in a long time either, other than the 3 miles I raced in the sprint triathlon a few weeks ago. Although that wasn’t actually a 5K, 3 miles instead of 3.1, it’s basically the same thing. But not a true measure of what I could do since it was in a triathlon.
Before the race with Ashley
Going into this race, I said I’d go out at a 6:40ish mile. Haha. That’s funny right? (see mile 1 split below) Whenever I think about the pace I want to run, it always sounds fast and makes me nervous (of course). And then I go out way faster than that.
(Glenn had planted a goal in my head to break 40 min- and at mile 5 I knew I had that no problem. Not to mention my 5K time was way faster than my 5K PR- guess I need to race one soon)
Ashley and I went out together but parted a little before we hit mile 1. We knew we were going out too hard but seriously my watch is all wacky the first mile or so, adjusting and I just couldn’t tell how fast I was really going. I mean I looked down at one point and my watch said 5:15, I knew that wasn’t true and didn’t want to accidentally go out too slow! Looking at my splits, I think going out at 6:25 would have been smart and doable. Before the race though- I thought going out at 6:25 would be too fast. So I went ahead and went out at 6:04. Wha???
The first two miles did feel pretty controlled though- I kept telling myself, you need to feel fairly comfortable these first two miles if you want to make it through the next 4 without hopping on the struggle bus.
I saw Glenn and Marshall at mile 2.5, and Glenn told me it looked like I wasn’t working very hard. I actually think that was what I needed to hear. This is why- if it looked like I wasn’t working too hard, that meant I was in control and hopefully would have it in me to pick it up or at least stay on the same pace and really put some hard work in the second half of the race.
Mentally, at this point though, I was just wondering how I would feel later in the race, since I’ve never raced this distance and was unsure about if I was running faster than I was really capable. Based on my 2 mile repeats last week, it seemed like I was on a right pace for me, but I only did two of them and that was only for 2 miles at a time right? I had 2 extra miles and no stops today. But I was racing, so I should naturally work harder and be speedier than in a workout.
There was one girl right ahead of me at this point, but I didn’t realize she was the only one. I thought there were a couple speeedsters up with the faster guys running sub 6’s or close to it. I surged a few times in the next mile and passed her but she kept surging back. We went back and forth at least three times. It was kind of annoying, but I think it made me push.
Then another girl came out of now where. She cruised by, looking comfortable and I thought about trying to go with for a brief second but figured it was too early to pick it up like that. Around mile 4, I finally got rid of the other girl I’d been back and forth with. I surged again and she didn’t come with.
Mile 5 was hard, but a good turning point for me. I kept telling myself to get through this mile and the last mile would work itself out no matter what. (I do this in workouts too… get to the last mile and push her in) I knew mile 4 was a slow one so I should pick it up. When I slowed during mile 4, I knew I was and was hoping it would give me some time to regroup and push harder the last two. I knew the slowing down wasn’t giving up. So I did the work and got to mile 5. I kept telling myself that I felt good so I could push harder if I wanted to.
We were headed back to the start/finish now and a spectator told me I was the second place girl. I could see the girl in first, I had my eye on her for pretty much the entire last two miles and I think I made a little ground since she had passed me, but I didn’t have it in me to catch and told myself I should be really pleased with second place. With a half mile to go, I gave the look back (which I NEVER do) to see if there were in girls within chase distance of me. I saw only two guys coming up but I really could have cared less about them. Since I didn’t see any girls, I think I let up my kick a little bit, not much as it ended up being my third fastest mile in 6:21, BUT if I hadn’t known there wasn’t someone right behind me, I might have ran that last half mile more like there was.
With a quarter mile to go, there were people handing out American flags, so that was fun to run in with the flags. It made the race feel special.
Then I saw the girl who won break the tape. She finished 23 seconds ahead of me. Although during the race, I told myself I was happy with 2nd, when I saw her take 1st, I felt a little disappointed it wasn’t me. I never found her to congratulate her, but I did find the girl who finished behind me that went back and forth with me for a long time. I congratulated her and quickly realized how young she was. She looked like she was in high school- but I looked up her age group and she was 19-24. Still young.
Instead of being disappointed with missing 1st, I quickly reminded myself that I run my own race and although it’s good to be competitive and yeah it would have been nice to take the W, what I love about running is that you are competing against yourself. I run my own race and for me, that was a PR, a new distance that I’ve never raced and I am pleased with how I handled myself. I never had a blow up, which was what I was nervous about. Early on in the run, I pictured how I might let myself creep down to 6:50-7:00 miles and I was mentally and physically strong enough to not go there, so I’m happy with that.
During the race I also thought about how I’d like to run a half marathon at a pace fairly close to this and I can’t even talk about how bad that would hurt. And one thing I proved to myself during this race is that I should probably be running my miles repeats faster than I do. I kind of want to throw up thinking about it though.
My friend Ashley ended up taking 5th- pretty darn fast, with an average pace of 6:36 miles. Now if only I can convince her to come to speedwork with us on Wednesdays.
After race picture with Marshman– Don’t worry- he got a haircut today! His first.
Lauren, Me, Ashley & Natalie
I’d do this race again – I like doing races on holidays. It’s a positive and uplifting way to start the day and then you get to celebrate and enjoy the rest of the day. I do kind of wish it was an actual 10K instead of just 6 miles, so I’d have a 10K time, but oh well. Another day, I’ll make that happen. Oh and had Glenn ran this race- we calculated paces out and on a good day- he also would have taken 2nd. Well, wouldn’t that have been cute?
After the race, we packed up and headed to good old Crown Point for some Hein family time.
Who raced on the 4th?
Any good 4th of July stuff happen?
I hope the neighbors don’t get too rowdy with the fire works this weekend!