Saturday I ran another Fort Meade 5K. This was my second race postpartum so I had some goals set up for it.
The race was pretty much the identical copy of the Army Birthday 5K I ran back in June. The race started at the Fort Meafe Pavilion and followed the same 5K route. The only difference this time was that the starting line was moved up a tad forward from the finish line. I guess the race coordinators realized last time that the route was longer than 5K so they adjusted it this time.
A few things that were different about this race was its obvious theme. Because it was a Halloween race, there was a costume contest. I found it very neat that the 1 mile walk portion of the race was geared towards dogs. Participants were encouraged to bring their dogs and dress them up. There was even a category for them in the costume contest. It was quite cute to see all the different dogs and costumes.
We (my husband, children, and I) arrived around 7:15 that morning. I hadn’t picked up my bib previously so we needed to get there early so I could get it. It was rather cold out (low 50s) so we sat in the car to wait for the race. The pavilion wasn’t heated so we didn’t want to wait in there. I did my usually pre-race ritual of drinking a small latte and using the bathroom before the start. About 10 minutes prior, I headed to the starting line to warm up a bit and wait.
For this race I was hoping to achieve a 24 minute time or better. I wanted to aim for 2nd place female in my age group as well, though I wasn’t banking on placing top 2 this time around. I set the AG goal mainly to motivate myself to keep moving quickly. I was extremely nervous for this race given that it was my first real solo race since the Earth Day 5K back in April. I was optimistic I was going to do well given my previous training runs but it didn’t negate the fact that I was paranoid I’d bomb out.
Everyone started to line up about 5 minutes prior to start and I chose to stand in the second row behind those toeing the line. The coordinator started moving us forward a bit at this point. I couldn’t hear any announcements they made since the speakers were now behind us. Thankfully, a great hush spread through before the gun went off so I got somewhat of a hint when we would start off. Once I heard the bang, I sprinted like a bat out of hell to get out of the pack of runners. I looked down at my watch at about one-tenth of a mile in and noticed it read a 5:00 pace. Whoa. I knew this wasn’t going to last since it was merely my sprint pace but I was shocked to hit that number since I’ve never seen it on my Garmin before. Finally, about a minute or two into the run I settled into my regular pace.
I noticed the lead female up ahead but it was rather clear she was running around a sub-7:00 pace. There was no chance of me catching up and I saw her pull away slowly. I was satisfied, however, with how I was feeling with the pace I was running so I just stayed with it. I was mildly uncomfortable but not exhausting.
This course kind of blows, in my opinion. I don’t mind hills as I tend to be able to power through them well but I don’t particularly like running through them when I’m trying to go at my maximum effort at a short race. There were 3 in total and though they sucked to run up, there was always the nice downhill to look forward to. At one point a young girl, 7, ran past me and stayed just ahead of me. She was literally being dragged along by her dad. I had seen them before in past 5Ks and I always get a pang of sympathy when I see her. She was crying that she couldn’t keep running at the pace they were going and her dad refused to let her stop or slow a little. It was a bit hard to witness. She did make it through to the finish, though.
I didn’t once see another female adult behind or ahead of me the entire run. I did feel a bit defeated by the dad in the jogger who ran next to me the entire time. He was flying at a pace I only dream of with the jogger ;-). We reached the water stop at mile 2 and that’s when I realized how good I felt. I felt like I was going quite fast and didn’t get one cramp doing so. I hadn’t felt this good since before I was pregnant. Finally, we rounded the last turn and I could see the finish about a quarter of a mile away. I kicked it up a little and finished strong. Gun time/clock read 23:15. I was very happy to see the time as I achieved goal #1.
Final Splits – 7:03, 7:33, 7:31, 7:25 (0.10); Chip Time – 23:00
After grabbing some water and a granola bar I checked out the race result. I was pumped to see 2nd place in AG. I checked to see the time first place got and knew I wouldn’t have gotten that place even if I tried. She clocked a 20:XX time which is way faster than my best 5K time. Still, I was very pleased to medal and achieve goal #2.
All in all, it was a good race. I was happy to see my hard work was paying off. After this run I’m pretty confident I’ll do well at the 10K. I’m not expecting a PR at Wicked but I am expecting a time better than my last attempt with the stroller. I believe there are 2 more races with the Fort Meade Series and I’m looking forward to improving at each one. My goal for their December race is to get the same time as last time (22:10) or better. I’m not sure if I’ll hit it but I’m definitely going to try!