Reminder: I am currently training for the Chicago Marathon as part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. If you can afford to support that cause, please consider a donation. Thank you!
This morning I ran in the final race of the Will Run for Beer series. I think attendance would have been a lot lower considering how wet it was, but if you’ve run all the other races, and you need one more to get your jacket, you show up and run no matter how wet it was.
Oh, and I got a PR.
Granted, I do NOT focus on the 5K, and it’s possible I have turned in a faster 5K time during a 5 mile race in which my watch battery died (and therefore do NOT trust the results), but for a 5K race, I haven’t turned in a faster time than 26:39, which is what I scored today according to my watch. Official times haven’t been posted, but it looks like a personal best by eight seconds. [Edit: My official time is 26:36!]
Not bad, considering my last 5K two months ago was a pneumonia filled mess at 37:00. It probably doesn’t hurt that I love running in the rain. After nearly 40 years in the desert, it’s still a novelty to me.
My training hasn’t been spectacular as we head into full blown marathon prep, and I started at the back of the pack, telling myself I wasn’t going to push it. Still, after the gun went off, I felt a little frisky, so I pushed the first mile, weaving about like crazy. When my watch buzzed at the end of my first mile, I glanced down and was pleased to see 8:55. I wasn’t breathing super hard, so I decided to try to ease the pace up a little. My pulse was around 165, and the hill wasn’t super hilly, so why not?
Mile two had a little bit of hilliness to it, but I was able to keep the pace up. My steps per minute rose over that mile from around 180 to 185. My pulse increased by about 10 beats per minute due to the extra effort, and I shaved 17 seconds off mile two. 8:38. Things were looking good. I’m not a “watch watcher,” meaning I’m not constantly checking my watch to see how I’m doing. If I’m not sick, I run by feel, not by heart rate monitor. I thought I was maybe three quarters of a mile in to the second mile when I saw the “Mile 2” sign, which I took as a good omen. When you think you have a little more than five laps around the track to go, and it turns out there are only four, what do you do?
You push the tempo some more! I took my stride rate up again, taking around 190 steps per minute. My heart responded, and got up to around 180 beats per minute, and behaved itself, staying mostly in that zone. As I reached the end of mile 3, my watch buzzed. 8:07! Not my fastest mile ever, but a good clip for me, and only a tenth of a mile to go… All up hill, unfortunately, but my iPod Shuffle served up Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who sang that you could stand me up at the gates of hell, and I won’t back down.
With that in mind, I shifted into my fastest gear, and my steps per minute went up to 220. Not quite a sprint, but not bad considering an uphill finish. I’ll take it!
I’ll leave you with this thought: If you’re going to run a 5K in the rain, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to hang out under a trailer to “keep dry.” 😉