Santa Monica 5K
I was basically starting from zero and the race gave me a concrete goal with a 5 week deadline. I started with walk/run combos and with each run I would walk a little less and run more, until I finally reached the full 5K distance about a week before the race.
Before I started training, I set a race goal of 25 minutes, which is about an 8-minute mile pace. Of course I had no idea what an 8-minute mile felt like at the time😂, but I was told that was a good, ambitious goal for someone new to running. A few days before the race I ran a full-effort 1-mile test to see where I stood on that 8-minute pace and the result was pretty discouraging: 8 minutes and 40 seconds.😬 Even if I could keep that pace up for the full 3+ miles, that meant that I would run the race in about 27 minutes, a lot slower than my goal. I kept a positive attitude and had to reset my expectations a little bit, but really I didn’t know what to expect on race day— I was just going to do my best and enjoy my first race!
When the race began, I surprised myself and my 3 running buddies by rocketing out the gates— the rush from the race totally got me! Only one of my friends was able to keep up with me as I continued going balls to the wall until about the half mile mark. Then the fatigue started to hit me and by the time we reached the halfway point of the race (1.5 miles), I felt like I was going to drop to the ground if I didn’t start walking. Somehow I kept going and decided I couldn’t let myself walk.
With a mile left to go, my friend took off ahead of me since I was really slowing down. About a minute later, I caught my first glimpse of the finish line and the adrenaline rush was back! I switched to a higher gear and started passing everyone ahead of me— I honestly don’t think I’ve ever run faster!! To top it all off, remember my friend that left me in the dust with a mile to go?? I whiffed past him just before the finish line!
I finished in 25:59. Not quite achieving my goal 25 minutes BUT I ran my fastest miles ever! All three miles were faster than my 1-mile run from earlier in the week!
What I learned is that a race can definitely bring out the best in you. I had never experienced it before, but the competitive feeling completely takes you over! It's a great way to surprise yourself and overcome what you think are your limits!
Since the Santa Monica 5K, running has become a bigger part of my workout schedule, especially when traveling and dealing with jet lag. Now whenever I’m in new timezone I make sure to run every morning— I feel like it makes a big difference.
Now that I’ve gotten a taste for racing, I'm planning to do a Spartan Race in January— a little different than a road race! 👹Has anyone done it? Wish me luck!