The month of March is not going as planned. After the DuPont Trail Marathon I was excited to run the Mountain Marathon last week. But although DuPont went great and I held back some, the day after the race, my right hip felt like I had a pulled muscle. Not so painful, but something to be wary of. I rested. Then I could run but it felt worse after that. So more days off and on Friday I made the tough decision to not start the Mountain Marathon the next day. I struggled with maybe running the half, but either way it is such a tough course and I did not want to be miles out there on the trail and then decide for sure that I should not finish. So I moped around and rested all last weekend. Gave up on my average of 40 miles a week so far this year. By Wednesday of this past week though it was feeling much better. On Friday I ran well and could feel nothing wrong. Too bad we were going up to White Pass for the weekend and I would not be racing. But yesterday afternoon we decided to come back a night early and a Sunday morning 5K seemed like a great idea.
So it is $35 day of race entry but I do get a T-shirt. And it is not raining!! Low expectations for speed since I obviously have not done any fast work lately. Club Oly race so lots of familiar faces both running and volunteering. Well organized and the event goes smoothly. I have raced this one before, but it has been a couple of years.
Two mile warm up and I feel as good as can be expected. Mike wants me to pace him to 24 minutes. Who knows?
Start - Near the front on the wide road. Go off OK and right into fast running. Turn and watch out for the rail road tracks on the street. No problem and off we go on the well marked, staffed and coned course. AP sighting.
Mile 1 - 7:30 pace. Now going gradually uphill. Breathing is harder on me than the legs. Trying to control my breathe but keep moving at this pace. Legs feel surprisingly good. We are on the Capital City Marathon course. The Donut Dash T-shirt this year is the same color as the pacer balloons from the marathon and I can not help but think about the times I have paced the race at this spot. Pacing I would be going about 2 and a half minutes per mile slower than this and it would be so much easier.
I am expecting this race to fly by, a 5K is so short. But I can not see the turn around yet and the first place runners have not come past on their way back. Then they do, and eventually I reach the turn around. Try to take water but end up splashing my face more than drinking.
Mile 2 - 7:35 pace and I am so OK with that. Gentle downhill. Following Grace from Club Oly, but can not catch her. Running is hard but I feel great about my pace and nothing hurts. Hold on as best I can, hoping to beat 24 minutes.
Mile 3.1 - Really happy when I can see the finish line and know that I will make it. Faster than my last two 5Ks!
I end up third out of ten in my age group and win a little bag with two gels and a blinking safety light.
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