I don’t know whether it was the impassioned pre-race speech or the familiarity course…or just my lucky day, but I shattered my personal best this past weekend.
Christopher and I tackled the 5K for the Knockout, a local run in celebration of a local girl, 18, who died of rare form of childhood pancreatic cancer last summer. The course was through The Meadows and on the Lowell Park bike path, which we used to run all the time when we were training for the Wisconsin Marathon.
The morning kicked off with a fiery speech about how running a race is much like making your way through life—how some of us start out strong, while others finish with a good kick, but that it is crossing the finish line with grace that is most important.
We made our way toward the front of the very loosely organized pack of runners, leaving the girls with my dad, and took off at the command of the race organizer. Christopher and I ran separately.
The course wound through The Meadows, on a gravel trail, and the Lowell Park bike path, a paved trail. It was a relatively flat course, save for a downhill at the start and an uphill at the end; it also was a quiet course thanks to the woods on either side of the trail.
I felt really good through the whole race. I went out too fast and got a side stitch, but then I settled in and relaxed my body into a comfortable, yet maintainable pace. I walked only through the water stops.
I absolutely blazed through the first mile at about 8:18 (my first two-thirds of a mile were done at less than 8-minute pace) and then settled into a more manageable pace; the second mile was 9:49, and the third was 9:46.
My RunKeeper app alerts me of my time, distance and average pace every 5 minutes. I knew, at 25 minutes, that I had about four-tenths of a mile to go and about 4 minutes in which to run them in order to beat my (pre-baby) personal best. I knew that a new PR was mine for the taking; I just had to run faster than a 10-minutes-per-mile pace.
I approached the finish line and could hear Christopher and see my dad and the girls in their big, red double jogging stroller. I ran my heart out. I crossed in record time—but I failed to look at the clock that entire stretch.
I caught my breath and wandered toward my family. I looked down at my phone and saw 27:50. I couldn’t believe it.
Christopher set a PR, too. First in his age division (11th overall) at 23:32. For those keeping score at home, that’s an average pace of 7:35. Say what?
I was sixth in my age division. 11th among females, and 38th overall.
The 5K for the Knockout, now in its third year (?), is a really nice race. It’s small but it’s got the perks of a larger event—including chip timing and post-race bagels and bananas. The course is wonderful—beautiful and peaceful—too.
And now, the deets:
Distance: 3.1 miles
Duration: 27:53 chip time (27:50 RunKeeper time)
Average pace: 9:00 per mile
Mile 1: 8:18
Mile 2: 9:49
Mile 3: 9:46