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.
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.
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!