My coach encouraged me to race a 5K because racing helps you gauge your fitness/heart rate zones and gives you practice in pacing, racing, and dealing with pain :> So, I found a DSE 5K (3.1 miles) race in Golden Gate Park. This morning, I had a good breakfast (1/2 bagel w/ peanut butter & coffee) and sipped gatorade while driving over to SF. Then I jogged two warm up miles with Jenica and threw in three strides. I got nervous and took a gel about 10 minutes before the start.
Mile 1 included a fun downhill and my pace (7:22) felt too easy--probably thanks to adrenaline. But the second mile had a serious, neverending uphill (earned an 8:14 pace). I reminded myself that I run lots of hills where I live and kept working up the hill. It really helped me to focus on a man just in front of me, and then I passed him on a flatter section. Next, I targeted a woman in front of me.....I really worked to gain on the woman and was close behind her at the very top of the hill. My legs burned (third mile @ 7:52), and I kept checking that I was in zone 4, which is sub-threshold....Translation?? Painful!!
With about half a mile to go, I tried convincing myself that I was just doing an 800 interval on the track and really worked my legs. This part was downhill (final .14 @ 7:00 pace), but by the finish, I was pretty out of it. I finished in 24:26 and felt totally woozy & pukey in the finish chute. Later, I found out that I was the 6th overall woman!! This race was a successful 5K experience, and I'm happy with my new speed & strength training.