I don’t know what it is, or what I’ve done but I am getting faster.
The word to note here is faster. I am not saying I am fast. I am just faster than I was before.
In high school cross-country, I worked my way
up down from a near-30 minute 5K time to in the low 23s. (Yes, I cut nearly seven minutes off my race time during my four years of adolescent racing!) I was by no means a runner going into my first season of cross-country. Heck, I didn’t even know cross-country was a distance sport! I thought it was like track except you ran in the fields or in a forest or something. I thought our races would be one mile, not three!
But, with the support of awesome teammates (who are now still some of my closest friends) and a great coach, I worked my butt off. I was the one who ultimately wanted to race better. I could have given up after that first year — I almost did. It was hard.
My 5K PR senior year was 23:18 at one of our earlier meets of the season. I was pretty bummed that I never broke 23 minutes but was proud of my time.
And, since that high school race, I never have gotten even remotely close to that time — until Sunday. I crushed it.
Throughout college and post college, I would clock in somewhere between 24 and 25 minutes for a 5K race. In 2008, I snagged a 23:59 time at Dawg Dash but that had been the closest.
Now, all these past 5Ks … I had never really been training for the 5K distance. I was in shape. I was running. But, I was most likely training for a half marathon or marathon. Or, playing a lot of Ultimate frisbee. So, I was never discouraged by these 5K times.
I kept thinking, “Gees, Kristin, with actual training, you probably could beat your high school time!”
So, did I actually train for this 5K on Sunday?
The only thing I did was go into the race with the “I’m going to PR” mentality. I guess I’m still running off my half marathon PR from August that I did with hardly any training and IT band issues.
This race, my IT band behaved.
This race, Joanna and I started out at the front of the pack.
In fact, we were in the front of the pack!
I have never been considered fast but I guess in this race of about 807 females participants, I was fast. The average 5K finish time for the Women of Wonder 5K at Green Lake was 40:54. Joanna came in sixth overall with a time of 21:40. (This was a BIG TIME PR for her. Like, a minute-and-a-half or so!) I came in eighth overall with a time of 22:34. I out-kicked the ninth runner, she came in at 22:39.
The fast times (of both Jo and I) can be credited to the super flat course. After all, this was just one loop around the lake. But, I must add that because of the few number of “faster” runners, Joanna and I were running by ourselves for most of the race. This was new for me. I’m used to picking off runners as I go through a race. This time, I just kept telling myself to push myself — until I saw the finish.
I’m almost scared to do another 5K because I feel like this is some sort of fluke. Or, the age of 26 is just the age to PR?
My IT band has caused me serious damage to my marathon training plan. (The longest run I have been able to do is 10 miles this training cycle!) Yet, somehow I can get a 5K PR (not to mention that half marathon one too!)
Maybe I’ll just ride out whatever this is through the Chicago Marathon.
And, do a little dance because I FINALLY BEAT MY HIGH SCHOOL TIME!