At the very end of my last post on Sunday, Healthy Enough for Breakfast, Sweet Enough for Dessert, I mentioned that I had some exciting training news that I wanted to share with you, so here it is:
Did you see that time? 26:55. Do you know what that is?! In case you dont know, I’ll let Jimmy Fallon (a la Donald Trump) tell you:
So here are the details: on Sunday, June 12th I raced in a local 5K, Run for the Beach 5K in Beverly, MA–it was a gorgeous road race with stunning coastal views; it also benefited a local nonprofit environmental organization called Salem Sound Coastwatch (always support local!). As many of you know, I am now towards the tail-end of my 10K training for the upcoming B.A.A. 10K and have been consistently running and strength-training over the last month or so. I knew that I wanted to incorporate some kind of race into my training schedule to get back in the mindset of racing and to give myself a bit of a challenge so this 5K seemed perfect.
I went into the race with the mindset of running somewhere in the 28-minute range. The last few Danvers 5K runs I’ve done I’ve hit times in the low-mid 29 minute marks, so I was just looking for a small and reasonable improvement. The course was a pretty simple out and back loop, starting off with a hill so as soon as the gun went off I started my watch and didn’t look at it again until I was on the last part of my straight away. I decided to run completely off how I felt: how I felt being back in a competitive, racing environment, how I felt running a smaller, less crowded race (around 200 participants), how I felt running around a gorgeous small city that I love. I chose to not look at my watch as I ran to get a sense of where I was at.
And how did I feel? I felt hot and uncomfortable: it was already mid-70’s by the 10am start time. I felt pretty tired, but just assumed it was from another long week of training and working that left me a bit physically and emotionally-drained. But, I also felt strong; my legs were carrying me at a steady pace, I didn’t feel too winded, and I figured I would definitely hit my 28-minute range.
What I did’t realize, until I actually did look at my watch during the last straight away, was that I was completely on pace to blowing my 28-minute range out of the water. At that point, I was already full-steam ahead to the finish line anyways, but I couldn’t help but feel a huge smile sweep across my face during those last few seconds thinking of what I was able to accomplish in such a short period of time. As my watch shows, I crossed the finish line at 26:55. What I didn’t realize until later when the official results came out was that I also placed 5th out of 37 total other women in my division…that’s not bad at all and something I have never done before. So while 26:55 is great, it’s also not an official PR for me in my adult running life, yet I’m still going consider it a PR to what I have been running over the last two years (I’ll explain more about this below).
In fact, I’m not going to lie-that race put me on cloud 9! I ran the 5K with Ryan and he and I both beat our projected times by well over a minute. We were so pumped that we went ahead and set our next 5K goals in order to keep chipping away at our times; we even signed up for a local 4-miler in early July to keep pushing ourselves a bit more.
Now, let me explain why 26:55 is such a big deal:
(Instead of simply including another Donald Trump .gif…)
On May 7, 2014 I attended my first November Project (NP) workout. Before that I had raced a few local 5K’s in my adult life (Night Shift Brewery 5K, Cambridge 5K Freedom Run, etc.) and had decent times of 27-28 minutes. But, after training consistently 3x/week with NP I got way quicker, way faster than I had ever imagined.
On July 17, 2014 I ran my fastest adult 5K race at a time of 26:05 during the Boston 5K Summer Series which benefits the RACE Cancer Foundation, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that strives to fight cancer through action and prevention via kick-ass events.
On August 14, 2014, I ran my second-fastest adult 5K race at a time of 26:21, also during the Boston 5K Summer Series.
After that…I’m honestly sure what happened. In December, 2014 I dropped to a 5K time of 27:14 at another local race called Yulefest, which is part of the awesome, local Cambridge 5K Series. Then, over the course of the next two years, that number has steadily plummeted (apologies for using a dramatic word like “plummeted,” but it’s honestly how I feel about it) to 5K race times that fell within the 28-29+ minute marks.
In the summer of 2014, racing was a completely new environment and culture for me and it was exciting! For the first time since high school I was back in a competitive environment with a crowd of spectators and-more importantly-I was challenging myself on a daily basis to be better, faster, stronger…and I was having fun doing it!
Maybe I stopped training as hard? Maybe I stopped training as consistently as I once did? Maybe I became comfortable? Maybe I mentally just started to check out as I saw my times decline and decline? I’ve tried to wrap my head around it a few times and never really found an answer, but what I am thinking is that I slowly started to fall out of love with running and racing.
And that’s why one of my top Current Goals (as outlined on the Meg in the Meantime homepage) is to “fall back in love with running.” I am yearning for that pure joy to fill my body, mind, and soul again and throughout this 10K training period (and especially after this last 5K race) I think I’m finally getting closer to that feeling again!
And so I think it’s only appropriate (and completely necessary) to give a shout out and big thanks to a few key people who have helped me along the road to get me back to 26:55 range and who make me love the feel of racing/training again:
- Becca: For waking up at un-godly hours to run around Boston with me and get our miles in during the week before work, for checking in to ensure that I stay true and accountable for runs/workouts/stretches that I promise to do, for always sharing accomplishments, encouraging me to try hard/do my best, for daring to try new workout regiments with me (“Let’s go Fartlek-ing on Wednesday!”), and for always telling me that it’s going to be great….THANK YOU!
- Cara & the RunYoga crew: This RunYoga Series has been-hands down-my favorite workout that I’ve ever done. I am so grateful for the consistent weekly runs and the deep, thoughtful, and targeted stretching and meditating that comes afterwards, but even more so for the light, encouragement, laughter, and positivity that this crew surrounds with me during those two hours every Monday evening…THANK YOU (for making Mondays something to actually look forward to)!
- November Project: Although I don’t show up as religiously as I used to two years ago, being around your energy and love whenever I do (mainly Wednesdays nowadays) always makes me feel like a better, stronger, kinder human being and that is something that I carry with me on race days. I never fear any hill I face during my races thanks to Summit Ave. and I always try to approach each new experience with a positive attitude and tons of energy…THANK YOU!
- Ryan: For understanding that when I’m in training that I’m going to have to go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, sometimes be a little hangrier, and that I will always be a bit sweatier than normal; for always being there at my bigger races for support-even if it just seems like an hour or two of you standing around and killing time until I cross the finish line, it means the world to me to see your face in the crowd; and finally, for starting to run with me-these last few weeks of running around the North Shore with you in extreme rain and extreme heat has become such a new and enjoyable “us” thing to add to our memories…THANK YOU!
Well, that’s all from me for now. I’ll write more to you about training updates on Wednesday, but in the meantime start thinking about your huuuuuuuuge goals and the people who help you along the way…send a message to them to let them know you’re thinking of them and are grateful!