Yesterday I ran my first 5K in over 2 months and probably one of my best ones so far (both in time and experience). My goal was to get a new PR and finish in sub-38:00. The official results say I finished in 38:08 (chip time) and thus ran at a 12:16 pace. You have no idea how those 8 seconds hunt me.
Nonetheless, this is a new PR any way you look at it. My best 5K time was the Wee Little Virtual 5K, which I ran in 38:15 (so that is 7 whole seconds!). My previous real race was the ORC Race Into Summer 5K, which I finished in 40:17 (that's over 2 minutes!). However, my Garmin says I ran 3.2 miles in 38:10 for an average pace of 11:55. Further inspection of the data reveals that I reached the 3.1 miles mark on my watch in 37:18! So I also did it in under 38 minutes.
Here is my average pace at each lap:
10:18 (.2 mi)
I clearly started out too fast, but I simply could not run any slower. I had debated the previous day whether I would try to run the whole way or take scheduled walking breaks. Since my goal was to PR, I had pretty much decided on the breaks because it allows me to run faster overall. After that speedy start, I knew I would need the walking breaks if I wanted to make it. I ran the entire thing with 1 minute walking and water breaks every 1/2 mile. It still cost me since, as you can see, I started to fade at the end.
Part of the reason for the positive splits was poor planning on my part, but a big part of it was the extra length of the course. I had figured out I would need to average 12:15 to run a sub-38 5K. When I saw towards the end that I was averaging a pace well under 12:00, I did not feel the need to push too hard since I thought I had. But I failed to realize that my average pace would need to be faster for a further distance. My watch was out of sync with the mile markers the entire time, but I just thought I started it too soon and not that the course was long. Oh well, you live and learn.
I was admitedly tired towards the end of the race, but I felt really good throughout. I dare say the time flew by. Before I knew it, we only had 1 mile to go and I still felt good even if I was hot. I was amazed at my speed and wondered how I was doing this and still keeping it up. As I said, I thought I was running much faster than I needed to reach my goal, so I took an extra walking break during the last mile which surely cost me that extra 8 seconds.
For a little perspective, I finished my first ever 5K in 44:38 on April 12. This was during week 2 of C25K, about 1 week after I started running, and I walked most of it following C25K intervals--I ran about 14 minutes in total. Fast forward to this weekend, a little over 5 months later, and I've shaved over 6 minutes off my time. Not only that, in just 5 months I've gone from no running at all to running a 10K. I am in such awe of myself and I simply cannot wait until that turns into a 1/2 marathon :)
Here is more data from the official results:
overall place: 1031 / 1323
age group place: 83 / 109
gender place: 501 / 726
clock time: 39:21