Fort Meade Race Series: Earth Day 5K – April 18, 2015

This past Saturday I ran my first race of this year.  As I mentioned on Sunday, I had to defer my half marathon (scheduled on May 3rd) because I wasn’t sure how my body would hold up this pregnancy.  I signed up for this race series so that I would still enjoy the racing experience just at a shorter distance.  The price wasn’t too shabby either.

A little bit about the race: This particular 5K took place at the Burba Lake Park on the Fort Meade post.  The race had a 5K run and 1 mile walk option, all starting at 8 AM.  The great thing about this race is that although it’s run by the FMWR, it is open to the general public.  There were about 200 registered runner present so this was a small and cozy event.  The set up was simple with an inflatable start/finish arc, timing chips (that had to be returned), and no corralled start. The course was an out and back loop that was easy enough to follow and had 2 decent uphills.  Finishers weren’t given a medal unless they placed in the top 2 for the age division groups.  However, all pre-registrants got a nice event shirt.  Post-race refreshments was nice and simple with bananas, apples, granola bars, and water.  I was hoping for the bagels they had last time but Bagels & Grind didn’t sponsor this event (boo).

It was scheduled to be about 58 degrees so I decided to wear my “announcement” tank and black mid-calf tights.  During the race I wished I had gone with my compressions shorts instead because it actually got quite hot throughout the race (it was 68 degrees when we left).  I went with my trusty Hi-Rez shoes since this race was on a road, although I was worried about the dirt trail that the race started/finished at because it was muddy and riddled with puddles.  My NBs aren’t exactly waterproof.  I was extremely nervous about this race.  I even got the shakes right before the start.  Normally I don’t put much pressure on myself during a race other than to run the best race I could.  However, I really wanted a medal and knew from the last 5K what I was capable of.  I wanted to give my best effort since I knew that this would probably be the last time I would be able to race all out.

I headed to the start at about 5 minutes prior to start and positioned myself close to the front.  Before I knew it we were off! I exploded out of the gate, both due to nerves and to get around slower pacers that decided to toe the line.  I should explain that I don’t usually have a strategy when it comes to racing.  On longer distances (10 miles+) I go out and run by feel.  If I clock negative splits, great.  If I clock positive splits, not so awesome but hey, I feel good.  For smaller races like this, I like to test my limits.  I give it all I have from the get-go since I don’t need to reserve energy for miles.  With this start, I knew I went out too fast when my Garmin blinked 6:00, a pace I have not trained for.  Still, I knew that my pace would even out soon enough once I was past the pack.

Course map from 2013.  It started at the same northern point, followed the red line all the way up to the turn off Rock Ave.  From there is actually kept going up Rock Ave to Pepper Road where it turned left then went north to the turn close to the words “Ernie Pyle Rd” on the map.  It followed that starting leg to the finish.

By the half mile mark I was able to catch up to the two women who took off faster than me at the start and this put me at overall second place.  I tried to see if I could catch up with the young girl ahead of me (who was in the 10-14 age group and smoking fast, BTW) but I could tell it was moot to even try.  I just kept pressing on at a pace that left me breathing hard, but not so badly that I would burn out.  I did end up falling back to third place because another woman, running much faster than me, passed me shortly after the 0.75 mile mark,  At mile 1 I clocked a 6:58, faster than normal but not a pace I knew I’d clock next.  During the second mile was where I encountered the first uphill, just before the water station at 1.5 miles.  My pace dipped a bit on it but I was able to recover it on the downhill.  I completed the second mile at 7:28, right where I thought I would be.  Sometime during this last mile I encountered a larger uphill.  This one really made me feel the burn.  I was happy to see that once I got over it, the route turned towards the park.  I clocked the third mile at 7:30.  At this point I kept going as fast as I could and slowly realized that the course was longer than 5K (something confirmed by the organizers when we were done).  I hit 5K at 22:15, 5 seconds slower than my PR.  I saw the finish and pushed to it, completing 3.5 miles in 24:XX (I’ll have to double check the time.  I just heard 24 when I finished), pacing that last mile at 7:10.

I went through the chute and turned over my chip and bib tab.  I met up with my husband and daughter and he told me that I was 3rd overall female finisher and that I may have gotten 1st in age group because the woman that passed me looked a little older than 20.  I didn’t celebrate just then because I knew nothing was solid until awards came.  We waited around as others finished and they set up for awards.  I got a few compliments on my tank (which was great on the run and just what I was looking for material-wise) and was told I didn’t look as far along as I was.  People are so nice =).

Award finally started and when they got to my age group, my finish place was confirmed when they announced the 2nd place finisher at 26 minutes.  I was so happy.  I got to close out “fast running” with a win.  It safe to say I was beaming for the photo.  We left shortly after I got my medal and stopped at the finish line to take a family photo to use as an announcement on social media.  We then headed to the exchange and I got a much deserved Starbucks treat =).

image

I’d like to thank my husband for taking this photo when I wasn’t ready…

I’m very happy with my finish at this race.  I would have loved to have gotten a PR but I came really close.  My average pace even came out to 7:13, 2 seconds shy of my PR pace.  Given my easy runs haven’t been going as well lately (I think I’m starting to slow down) I knew I wasn’t looking at getting a PR.  I think I did pretty darn good for being 17 weeks pregnant, though, and this is a total improvement compared to what I was able to run with my first pregnancy.  Most importantly, I didn’t ache at all during this run.  Neither my pelvis nor my back ached like they have the past few weeks and my bladder held up.  My back was a bit sore once I cooled down but it felt just like any other ache I got after other runs.

Next up I have the Patriot Pride 10K on May 16.  I’m not aiming to place for this one but am excited nonetheless to run it.  Hopefully I can do and feel just as awesome =).

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