I love a 4th of July 5k. I love wearing the red, white, and blue (anytime to get a little silly with my running clothes is a win in my book.. although I’m still pretty conservative compared to most running costumes, I just like theme colors, trucker hats, and fun sunnies… but I digress), I love holiday races, I like the community feel. So this year for the first time I ran my town’s 4th of July race (since moving here, I’ve missed the race twice because I was super pregnant and out of town last year). A handful of runners from my team were also running the race, so all the more fun!I didn’t have any hard and fast goals for this race. Of course a PR is nice, but it’s in the middle of Wharf to Wharf training and a couple days after a decently hard workout (did a mile time trial + 3×600 at mile effort on Saturday, race on Wednesday). I’ve been working more on racing by feel, so the coach and I tried that approach again for this race.
Come raceday morning, my Arete teammates met at my house because I live pretty much equally from the start and finish (yep a sweet point-to-point 5k). We jogged an easy warm up to the start, I added on a bit more, and did strides. There was a good sized group of runners out (the email said it was 1016, which apparently was their biggest turnout yet). I settled a few runners deep to hang with my teammates and avoid the surge of craziness with kids and high school runners who toe the line. We were all chatting away and were completely unprepared for the start – talk about a way to avoid race nerves, haha.The course is a pretty great one for a 5k. First of all, Alameda is flat as a pancake. I get a whopping 33 feet of climbing at most on the island (although those 33 feet were in this course). Anyway, the town also puts on a long but really fun parade and the race follows that course. There are not any super long straightaways, maybe .75 is the longest, which I really like and no hairpin turns. It’s on streets I run all the time (except in a race I get to run down the middle of them, whee!) And, the best part, is everyone comes out for the parade so there are lots of people spectating the race and cheering on the runners. I’ll definitely be back just for that!
Ok, back to my day. So I sprinted out and tried to settle into a comfortable/hard pace. I am the absolute worst at pacing 5ks… it’s so hard! I cruised down the course, kept my eye on some runners I knew I would like to keep in my sights. I felt pretty comfortable and saw my first mile was 6:08. Whoa there lady! I pulled back the pace because even though I felt ok, it wouldn’t last. I slowed way down to 6:36 for the second mile. My goal was to really pick up the last mile and throw down. Nope. I ruined that with the first mile. I did some crummy math too at that point and thought I could run a 7 minute mile and still have a pretty strong PR… no dummy, I had to run the rest of the race in less than 7 minutes. Anyway, I ran 6:37 for the third mile. Oh well. I pushed out what I could for the final .1 in thirty-one seconds (5:25 pace).
I crossed the finish line and saw Katie, a great friend and teammate (this was her first race back after surgery in March – she killed it!). I had looked at my watch, 19:55. I thought I think that’s a few seconds slower than my PR. Then I looked up my Strava results from that 5k and saw 19:57. Sweet a few seconds PR. And then my official results from this race were actually 19:53 (also this was a crazy fast field, I was 11th woman and 6th in my AG, top 3 women: 18:05, 18:07, 18:28 and the winning man: 15:27! Smokin’!). Later, I realized my official time from my last 5k was 19:51.. so not actually a PR. But the second time I’ve broken 20 in a 5k so I’ll take it!
After the race I touched base with the coach and now I know what to apply from this race for my next one. Racing by feel is great for me … after the first 1-2 miles (depending on the race distance).Oh and the other great thing about a holiday race? Awesome family and friend time the rest of the day. We took the little one to her first parade … after a little bit of confusion at first, she loved it! By the end she was trying to get in the parade herself. She also napped HARD! And then a neighborhood block party. Great way to celebrate a fun race, a fun morning, and a holiday.
Anyone else race on the 4th? I’d love to know how it went – feel free to comment below 😀