When I said Jacksonville has a huge running community, I wasn’t kidding- there’s literally a race every weekend if you want to run one! I signed up for this race mostly because it was put on by our running club and promised to be a ton of fun post-race (free beer at a brewery).
I had 18 miles on my schedule for Saturday and had decided I’d split it 14 miles in the morning and then 4 in the evening (including the 5K). I met the 5am group and ran 6 miles with Matt and Kathy before looping back to “pick up the rest of the group” for another 8 mile loop. I wasn’t sure who I was going to run with for the 8 mile loop so I just started with a pack and as it filtered out, I ended up with Matt again, but this time we were running his/our pace (Kathy is slightly slower). I ended the morning with 14 miles at a 8:17 pace. I definitely would not have done that without Matt and he says he wouldn’t have kept that pace without me. #Fastfriends
While I was happy with the 14 mile pace, I wasn’t sure what it would mean for my ability to run a 5K that evening. I went home, ate some breakfast and fell asleep with my legs up the wall. After double fisting a water bottle and Nuun bottle the rest of the day (which included getting to see my favorite little cheerleader compete), I got my crap together and headed out to the race.
It’s important to note that while it was 45* for the morning run (and it dropped the entire time we were out there), it was 82* that afternoon. I’m not usually great at running in warmer temps, but I reminded myself no pressure, just let it happen. After attempting a warm up that lasted ~1/8 a mile, I headed to the bathroom line then the start line.
The race was small and I lined up close to the front behind several run club members I knew were faster than me. When the gun went off I just started running. My goal was to just lay it out there and whatever happened, happened. I have a bad habit of getting inside my own head and saying “you can’t run that fast, slow down” so I was trying very hard not to look at my Garmin the entire race. I did catch a glimpse or 2 and saw a number that surprised/scared me, but I just took a deep breath and kept pushing.
The course was 4 loops – each smaller/shorter than the last. I wasn’t sure how I’d like that set up, but it turned out to be kind of nice. I played games with myself on each lap and kept my sights on Rachel’s braid just ahead of me- my goal was to not let the distance between us grow. On the last lap you head straight and can see the finish only to realize you have to make a right and go around the corner first. ARGH, kicked a little too soon- must read course maps.
I turned that final corner and could see the time clock ticking closer and closer to 22:00…I really wanted a sub-22 at that point (remember, speed is relative) so I just pushed with everything I had and crossed in 21:58. I thought it might be a sec or 2 PR, but a quick twitter exchange with K Met revealed it was a full 1 minute PR for me! Woah, a 5K PR the same day I ran 14 MGP miles?
Official Results: 21:58/7:06 pace/3rd AG
I was very happy with this outcome and had a great time hanging out at the brewery after the race with everyone. Oh, and if you’re wondering why the race name? Paul, our run club coach, is a Kiwi…and the race was technically the night BEFORE St. Patty’s day…and yes, he raced in that costume. Told you I love our run club.