Now that winter is almost over, I wanted to get back into running and what better way there is than signing up for a 5k race. I started training 4 weeks ago for this race, I created a 5k training plan with the Nike+ Run Club app with 2-3 runs per week. It was hard going out for runs after the winter break, my legs hurt, my breathing was out of control and my endurance equal to 0. But I saw improvement every week and it felt good being outside in the sun after such a cold winter.
In the morning on the race day I ate a porridge with oats, banana and honey 3 hours before the race and I packed a banana to eat it 30 minutes before the race. This is my usual breakfast on race days.
This race was organised in a park near the airport where I’ve been before but I have never run in this park until now. The routes at the races that I attended were usually one big round, starting and ending at the finish line. I was disappointed to find out that at this race we had to run one big round of 3,5k, followed by 2 smaller 550m and finishing with a small 400m. We were basically passing the finish line 4 times.
I picked up my number when I got there and watched the kids race before lining up for the 5k. I started out great with the first kilometer in 6:30 minutes, most of the people sprinted out in the first kilometer and I caught up with many of them shortly after they got tired and had to switch to walking. I made this rookie mistake myself on my first run but learned my lesson. I got into my rhythm in the second kilometer, I was running in the middle of the park and I felt like in the woods far far away, even though we were still in the city. It was so beautiful.
The third kilometer got harder, more and more people started walking around me and I fought hard to keep going, my legs were starting to hurt. I kept my breathing controlled at 2 steps in-3 steps out. I saw the finish line at 500m distance around 3k so I automatically picked up the pace. The crowd was cheering us on as I passed the finish line for the first round at 3,5k and I kept a fast pace for the first round of 550m. I actually thought that I have only one 550m and one 400m to run but the helpers told us that we have 2 550m and 1 400m, at which point I realized that I have to slow down if I want to finish the race. I was feeling really tired at this point, my legs were hurting and I lost control of my breathing. Thinking about how many rounds I still had to go, I was considering to quit but I pushed through.
Passing the finish line 4 times is a mental game and I struggled with it. Every time I was near the finish line I picked up the pace, so many people watching and cheering for us but I had to slow down after I passed it so I could keep running and finish the race. I definitely won’t run any more races where the routes are organized this way.
A guy was running/walking in my shadow from km 3, I was his pacer, he was walking but when I ran in front then he started running until he caught up with me. I think we pushed each other in that last km. If he passed me then I picked up the pace to catch up with him, and vice versa. I picked up the pace finally in the fourth round and sprinted the last 100m into the finish line, finishing with 34:28.
I ran an average pace of below 7 minutes. I achieved a new personal best. I ran the 5k unbroken without having to walk. This was my goal and I achieved it after a long winter break and only 4 weeks of training. This was a small event, only 41 women ran the 5k and I finished on the 37th place. The woman taking the first place finished in 21:21 and the man in 16:02. I am proud that I ran the race and finished, I felt like I was running fast but my brother made some videos of me and I was slow so my goal is to run much faster next time.
Until then I need this t-shirt: “I am here to make you look faster” 🙂
Races are a good motivator and I started a pin board with my numbers and medals (and tech conference badges), I will train for the next couple of months and register for the next race soon. The season is just beginning!