Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. From beginning to end, I can honestly say I enjoyed just about every single moment!!
On Saturday, April 19 I participated in the annual Clean Air Council 5K, in honor of Earth Day! This is my 2nd time running the race, and I have to say it was absolutely awesome!
For the second time this year, Bret and I were running a race together, which has been one of my favorite goals to attain this year. Bret was very excited about doing his second 5K and beating his time of 23:17 from the Haddonfield 5K. I was doing my best just focus on having fun…I had no idea what to expect.
I woke up around 7:30 or so and felt pretty good, alert…but Bret was dragging his feet! I had a pretty mellow night since I was riding the high of the awesome banquet I attended at Penn on Friday night. I had an English muffin with strawberry preserves for breakfast, which was not too heavy.
We live walking distance from the race, so we headed out around 8:15 since we were meeting our team for a group photo at 8:30. This year, we had 15 runners, probaby more than we’ve ever had! We also have walkers who participate, but there were only about 5 or so. Regardless, it was great to see everyone bright and early! A couple of my coworkers from the Plant finally got to meet the Bret that they always hear about, so that was nice.
The weather was absolutely perfect! There was a slight chill and I saw lots of people wearing heavier clothes/layers…but not me. It was around 50 degrees which is perfect running weather for me (I sweat a lot).
Before I knew it, we were lining up for the 9 am start! I almost started to panic because I forgot to sync my Nike+ watch, but I got it ready to go just in time. Bret, Mark, Kurt and I were together near the start, but I knew good and well that I’d never see them again! I still planned to stick to my strategy: No pushing the pace, keep away from the strollers, and keep the music blasting.
The crazy thing that I didn’t realize is that they changed the course!! For the first time, they started the race in front of the Art Museum, and you actually have to go down a hill to get down to MLK Drive and do an out and back. It didn’t throw me off too much, except that now I knew I’d have to go up a hill at the very end…
I had my Daft Punk Alive album blasting in my ears as I took off. I felt great. The weather was getting warmer and there were swarms of people. I began the game of bobbing and weaving through runners. For whatever reason, I was feeling bounds of energy. It was still annoying though because it seemed like people were moving so slow–we just started the race! Then I saw a stroller (here we go)…but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was 2 years ago.
I saw some of my teammates ahead of me…but then they were behind me. Weird. I kept finding women in front of me that I wanted to catch up with, and I did…then I passed them. What the heck was going on?? Of course the first mile felt like the longest, but I was really pleased with my progress. No looking at the watch though…not yet!
Since the race is an out and back I figured at some point I’d see Bret coming the other way. I did see all the elite runners coming back rather quickly, and I saw one of old schoolmates from Penn, Anna, flying down the course. Then some point later I saw Bret on his own, then I saw Mark briefly. As I made my way around I ignored the water station like I always do on a 5K. The girl I passed was passing me again. Had to stop that. Oh, no she’s behind me.
I kept having to find new people to catch up with and eventually surpass. I did look down at my watch was I approached two miles and I saw an 8….what?? This couldn’t be right, yet it must have been because I was running pretty fast! Did I forget to mention that the music that I was going to rely on stopped after that first song?! It would have been too much of a production to start it up again, but i guess I didn’t need it after all! All I had to listen to was the sound of my breath, which was getting ever so heavy as the race dragged on.
I saw some of my walking teammates as I was on my way back. Paula cheered for me. Charrisa took my picture. I hadn’t felt so great running in well over a year! But I did start to slow down the last quarter mile or so…not much, but enough as my lower body was feeling the burn, and let’s not forget that hill! There’s Ben and Jake! Hey Jenna! Hey Bret! One last push and I’m done!
I stop my watch. 27:12. I have to say it again. 27 minutes, 12 seconds. Oh my goodness! I was absolutely thrilled and in complete disbelief! I have been so used to being the 30-minute 5K girl that I didn’t think I could go any faster. Well, I guess I can! I haven’t run a 27 minute 5K since 2011 (I just checked my races page to get the stats)! My official time on the website was 27:11…I couldn’t be more thrilled and more proud…what a wonderful day it was!
Everybody did a great job. Bret finished in 23:27. Mark and Kurt finished around 26. Jenna finished in the 25’s, Conor finished his first 5K in 26, Ben and Jake around 24 minutes. As I caught my breath and drank a few cups of water, I could finally relax and check out the Green Expo, pick up some Kind bars and a tasty pita sandwich with chickpeas. Then it was time to party…to the Beer Garden! We even chatted up with a couple in the neighborhood, and had a great conversation about natural gas and the woes of Park Towne Place, haha!
I was absolutely on Cloud 9, and it was even better to see some of my other friends that were at the race. My friend Erin was there and did a great job, running in under 28 minutes! We really need to get together and run some more 5K’s this year! She was over at the massage table and saw me, and I so wish they didn’t run out of space to reserve a slot for myself! I was feeling really good though…no knee pain, no foot pain. Everything worked like it should…yay!
Then as we were hanging around, I saw Anna. She was presented with a 3rd place overall female prize for running in under 19 minutes….wow! Anna ran track at Penn, and I’ve seen her in action at other 5K’s, she’s awesome! It was so great to actually catch up a bit and I hope we can hang out sometime!!
We were starving after the race so we actually drove to Old City and had brunch at Gaslight, a new restaurant. It was great, and I’ll share What I Ate this Wednesday! But I will tell you that I was so greedy hungry, that I got a huge ice cream cone from Franklin Fountain to celebrate a job well done!
I am in complete amazement of my performance and I have to believe that it wasn’t a fluke but actually a reflection of my running and cross training ever since my last 5K. To jump from nearly 31 minutes to 27 is crazy. This 5K is a flat race but as I mentioned, even when at my peak I wasn’t running this fast. However, I don’t want to dwell or obsess about my performance or add any unneeded pressure for the next race.
I don’t have anything else planned, but I definitely want to see if there’s another 5K that I can do this season. Maybe I could work my way up to a 10K? I’ve had such bad luck with them (two DNS’s due to injury) but I think I can break my unlucky streak and give it a go.
Bret couldn’t believe how well I ran, said I had great form, and he has never seen me so happy from running. A lot of times I make myself miserable…which I really don’t mean to do. It was such a great day and this was definitely one of the best races I’ve ever had. It reminded me why I put myself through all of these things, why I stress myself out sometimes…because I remember the joy I used to have when I run. Well, it’s back! I have to thank everyone at the Clean Air Council who put together a fantastic race! Keep the beer garden (especially the Yard’s Brawler!)! Keep bringing all us Earth lovers together. I can’t wait to come back next year!
Oh and I can’t forget, thank you to EVERYONE who wished me well…your kind comments meant the world to me and I read them the morning before the race! I hope I made you proud!
Monday 4/14: 3.52 mile run outdoors with Bret. We went much faster than I usually run, with a pace between 9 and 9.5 minutes. I was still super sore from the Cardio Sculpt class, especially in the glutes and my right calf, so I foam rolled like crazy!
Tuesday 4/15: We had pouring rain and kickball was cancelled so I kept it indoors with Boot Camp and a 1.55 mile treadmill run. I’m still adjusting to the new instructor, but she’s a lot more fun! We did some good work with exercise balls and dumbbells.
Wednesday 4/16: Core and More Class.
Thursday 4/17: Focus Power Yoga. It was another awesome session!
Friday 4/18: Rest!
Saturday 4/19: The Clean Air Council 5K!
Sunday 4/20: Wanted to do yoga but with the business of Easter, turned to a rest day!
Have you ever surprised yourself at a race? How was your Easter?