Last night I raced the Need For Speed 5k. It’s supposed to be the test of all the speedwork we’ve put in, but considering two of our speedwork sessions were cancelled due to weather, I skipped one because of my hip flexor, and I skipped one because it was way too hot, I wasn’t feeling especially speedy.
I looked at my Athlinks page and realized I hadn’t run a 5k in over a year. I did run a five mile race in March at just under 9 minute pace but a lot has happened since then. I decided my general goal would be under 30 minutes but I’d like to get as close to 27 as possible. (My three year old PR of 25:29 is going to take some work to approach.)
The race began at 7 but I was early to pick up my bib at 6. So I stood around and saw some Big River friends. (All photos courtesy of Robert Harrison, who takes photos of BRR events for fun.)
We lined up at the start at the upper Muny parking lot in Forest Park. Everyone was happy that the weather was relatively mild; low 80s. There was a little bit of rain and the people around me and I said that was fine, even a little more rain would be great.
Wish granted. When the race started at 7pm, the sky opened up into a colossal downpour. See if you can find me. I’m making great “rain faces”.
The first quarter mile I could barely see and was really wishing I wore a hat. My shoes were instantly soaked and there was no point in avoiding puddles because everything was a puddle. I settled into a hard pace and didn’t look at my watch until it beeped at mile 1. It said 8 something. I wasn’t sure that was sustainable but I just kept plugging along. At some point the rain stopped but I was already soaked so it really didn’t matter. I felt myself slowing a bit. Thoughts of walking were randomly popping in my head but I denied them. I told myself I could run slower but I could not stop. Mental training is the toughest.
After winding through Forest Park a bit we again approached the upper Muny lot and mile 3. I was so ready to be done. Then it began raining again. A nice way to bookend the race. I found myself alone as I came to the finish; there were only 160 racers registered so everyone had plenty of space. Normally when I see the finish I sprint. I didn’t do that this time; maybe I’m out of practice or maybe I need other people to race against.
I will say my new friend Stephanie, pictured behind me, provided a ton of motivation for me. She passed me before mile 1 and I kept her in my sights the whole race. She forced me to keep my pace up and eventually I passed her before mile 3.
Here’s my official results and my Garmin splits:
After I finished I cheered Anna and Cathy on and then partook in the free Urban Chestnut beer. I appreciate that Big River has good local beer instead of the usual AB products. Then I stood under a tree for a while, drinking beer as it rained. I was actually cold at one point. Eventually I saw Cathy under a tent so I joined her and met some new BRR friends. I can’t say enough about Big River Running. Their events foster a running community and I’ve met so many great people as a result. This event was a lot of fun; I’ll definitely do it again next year.