Saturday, June 28, 2008
I did it! I ran a sub-40 5K. Not only that, I ran at an average sub-12:30 pace. I have no idea how I did this (I have some thoughts--see below), but I feel great. Yes, I am tired, but I feel amazing. But seriously, look at these times. This is the fastest I've ever ran! I know it is still slow by some standards, but it's fast for me! :)
Ok, let's settle down and reflect on the whole race and what I did so right this time :)
I almost did not run this race this morning because I was feeling really sore last night after an exercise filled day: 45 min yoga in the AM, almost 10 miles of biking (to work, to the movie theater, then home), then some more yoga at night (I bought a new DVD on my way home: Yoga Conditioning for Athletes with Rodney Yee, my favorite yoga instructor). I didn't even have energy or strength to do the push ups and crunches (which I still need to do today). But it would have been a shame to skip this race seeing as how it was literally a few steps from my front door :)
I did my usual yoga warm up sequence and then the mini-workout for runners from the new DVD. I was really hungry for some reason, so I ate half a banana and drank about 8 oz of water, then headed out the door. There was a change of venue at the last minute. I planned to drive to a nearby park, but I didn't want to waste any more time or gas, so I just chose my familiar neighborhood route. The weather was great when we set off just before 7 a.m. See, the organizers of this race know better than to START a race at 7:30 a.m. during the Florida summer. Oh, and by "we" I mean me and my Garmin's Virtual Partner (henceforth known as GVP). This being a virtual race, I decide to give this feature a try and I loved it.
As it's to be expected, he started off too fast and I was behind for the first half of the race because I always start slower to conserve my energy for the end. I took a 30s walk break at about the half way point; I probably could have done without it, but that was all I needed to kick it into high gear. I quickly overtook GVP after this and never looked back. It felt great seeing him fall behind and seeing the gap between us increase at every step (I beat him by about a 1/10th of a mile and 1.75 minutes). And how cool was it that the watch told me I won when I finished! Too cool!
Part of what I think helped me greatly in this race is that I was very mindful of my form the entire time. By happenstance, I skimmed this post at the lj runners community yesterday and something must have sunk in. I made it a point to stand up straight, shoulders back and relaxed, arms relaxed close to my chest, and my pelvis tilted forward (this is key). I cannot believe how big of a difference this made. Clearly you can see it in my times, but I also felt better, more confident, and it did help propel me forward easier. Every time I felt tired or like I was slowing down, I simply checked my form, adjusted, and pushed on. I really felt like an elite runner!
I finished really strong and I didn't really feel like I was going to collapse. Even though I was eager for the race to end, and that last half mile felt grueling, not to mention the last .1 mile, I probably could have kept running (albeit slower) if my life depended on it :) Thankfully, it did not and I took a nice cool down walk for the next half mile or so.
So there you have it. My first Virtual 5K and the best race I've had yet! I can't wait to read everyone's reports!
PS - I am hosting my own Virtual 5K in 2 weeks for the c25k_grads community, but you don't have to be part of it to participate. You don't even have to be a c25k graduate or even be doing the program. You can even walk it if you want or do the smaller 2 mile race. So check out the C25K Virtual Race Weekend and sign up today! Hope to see many of you on race day ;)