Middle of the pack

Apparently, I’m pretty consistent.

I never would’ve predicted it, but at my last two 5k races I placed fourth in my age group, with an 8:26 pace. Both events were small, local fundraisers in Rochester, NY.

Teenage me would scoff at this pace. But adult me is pretty damn proud.

For years, I couldn’t drop under 27 minutes for a 5K race. I hovered just above, as the elusive 26 taunted me. I’m not a sprinter, but tend to hold my own as a distance runner, swimmer or rower.

So to find myself flirting with the edges of the winner’s circle is a bit exciting, and unexpected, especially for a self-proclaimed middle-of-the-pack runner like me.


My goal at the start of the summer was to beat my best previous 5K PR, 26:56, set last June at an evening 5k race that took us through random and unmarked athletic fields for the last mile. It was hot. And I know from experience that I don’t run my best in heat or humidity.

My best-ever 5K time is in the low 24s. But its been years – 18 years since that day. If my PR was a person, it could vote this fall.

My first summer race was on May 25 and produced perfect running weather. Temps were in the 40s when we set off and my legs felts great. With just 80 people running the course that morning, I finished with a sprint up a hill and smile on my face knowing I did my best.

I finished 26:10, fourth place in my age group. I was freezing, but thrilled. I reached my goal straight out of the gate.

On Sunday, I ran the 5K to Cure ALS, which started and ended at Frontier Field, home to Rochester’s minor league baseball team, The Rochester Red Wings.

als2Zipping by at mile 2

I wrote a detailed race recap on my work blog – But my race highlights included running my first mile under 8 minutes and rounding the bases on the baseball field before crossing the finish line, right behind home plate.

That’s me in the bright green skirt, about to round the last turn into the finish at Sunday’s 5k. (I passed the dude in the blue shirt, by the way!)

Of 650 runners, I again finished fourth in my age group, with a time of 26:11. This was extra special since the race was one day after I ran a 6-mile loop through suburban Rochester with the local women’s group, Rochester Moms in Motion.

I actually learned my place I went to check my time on the race website Monday morning. I had hoped to get my chip time, but one wasn’t listed. Instead I got a better surprise!

I’ve got one more 5K race planned for the summer before I move into marathon training mode. So who wants to guess how I’ll fare at my next 5k race on July 4? Will it be a hat trick?

Who else plans to run a race on July 4? Have your ever surprised yourself by running faster than expected at a race? Tell me in the comments!

23 thoughts on “Middle of the pack

  1. whoooooot runnning a bit faster than you expected is always a plust. congrats on your recent 5ks! I am sure you next one you’ll be just as fast 🙂 almost in the 25 minute range I see…

    I plan to race on the 4th but there are many events- a 5k, 10k, 15k, and 20k. I am debating on which to do !

    • Thanks so much! I would love to get into the 25 range sooner vs later, but I’m sure it will all depends on the heat of the morning for my next race!

      You have a fantastic variety to choose from for July 4! What are you leaning towards? What fits in best with your training plan?

  2. I’m considering running the Firecracker 5-miler on the Fourth. Pros: It’s really close to my house; I’d be able to wear my new red, white and blue socks; I’m getting antsy waiting for the next race I had planned to run (July 21). Con: It’s at 8 a.m. and I have to work that night and will need to be able to stay up until at least 1 a.m.

    • I’ve heard great things about that race, Ben. I’m sure you will rock it, even without much sleep. I’ve not run it, but typically do the Brighton 5K instead – in part because I like the course (FLAT) and in part because if its sweltering hot out, I only have to suffer through a 5K.

  3. 25:56! You control the run, don’t let the run control you! Good luck! Which fall marathons are you running?

    • That’s such great advice Kelly, thanks so much for being my cheerleader! Good luck on YOUR 5K tonight!

      I’m running lots this fall, but the big race is the NYC Marathon (finally!) I’m planning to (slowly) run the Bird-in-Hand half in Lancaster on Sept. 7, if you care to join me? I ran Garden Spot in April and LOVED running with the Amish!

  4. I would love to run the local race on July 4th, but I’ll be out of commission after my surgery. 🙁 I’ll be happy if I can get out to watch the fireworks this year.

    I’ve only run one race (just started running in Februrary of this year) so far, but I finished faster than I expected, so that counts 🙂

  5. I’m so proud of you! I don’t think I really got to stress that point when I was running around earlier this week like a chicken with my head cut off. Granted, I’m still doing that but not nearly as fast as you’re running. 😉

    You rock and I’m super proud. Not sure if I’m going to do the 4 miler this year. It will be hot, hilly, and I’ll have my “friend” – so I’m leaning toward no.

  6. I ran a 5k last year on July 4th, but I think I will volunteer this year instead. I like cheering on all the runners and those last start times are hard on me. I can’t wait until 8am here in Texas to start running (Gah!).
    Run fast you speedy speedmiester! You’ve got this in the bag!

    • I can’t even imagine how hot it must be in Texas in the summer! And volunteering at a race is always fun 🙂 Good plan!

      And thanks for cheering me along! I’ll let you know how it goes!

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