I was a little disappointed with my last few races. I felt like I wasn’t committed 100% and was just opting for an easy goal. I think it came about after running the Belleair 5K, it was 1 week after I ran the Clearwater marathon in 3:23, I ran it in 20:09 but my hip hurt more after that than the marathon.
I knew I probably shouldn’t race that close to the marathon but a lot of our run group was racing it so I joined in. 5 weeks later it was the Sunshine Skyway Bridge 10K, I think it’s the tallest bridge in Florida with a 1 mile incline and the same decline. There were over 7,500 runners in this and I didn’t feel confident that I could place in my age group. So during the race I decided to just be the fastest from our run club, I didn’t want to get injured, especially as downhill speed tends to hurt my hip more than other running. I finished in 45:04 and was 2nd in my age group, 64th overall. I think if I had ran harder I could have placed first.
Next up was the in town 5K, the Rotary Runs the Beach. I had previously won this race overall about 4 years ago in 19.nn something and was hoping I could win again. However at the start line I say Kevin Bacon, he’s about half my age and I know he’s a 17 minute 5K runner. So once again I just set my goal to be the fastest from our run club and finished second overall with a time of 20:29. It wasn’t a bad time as it’s on the beach and it had a bad slope that I knew was going to be tough on my hip.
So my next race was the Miami Corporate Challenge 5K, with over 28,000 participants. Our company decided to enter a team, and even though we only have about 100 people, we had 35 sign up for it. Most people know that I run a lot so there was a large expectation that I would be the fastest in the group. I haven’t done any speed work apart from my races and I train more for marathons and ultras so wasn’t that confident what I could do. I set myself a target of 19:45 but knew it would be hard to accomplish. I lined up near the front of the race field as I didn’t want to get stuck behind hundreds or thousands of people and trying to weave past them. I set out a little faster than I wanted but didn’t feel too bad so I tried to maintain it.
I really wanted to break 20 minutes as everyone expected me to and I wanted to do well. My first mile was 5:56, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hold that pace. I was motivated though and dug deep and pushed myself hard. I could feel myself slowing down but I grabbed some water from the aid stations and poured it over my head, it was hot and humid so I immediately felt some relief and was able to push a little harder. During the second mile the first female was running along side me and there were a couple of bikes following her, that also helped me push to stay just ahead of her. The second mile was 6:22 and now she had dropped of behind me and I couldn’t here the bikes talking to her. One of my friends about the same age passed me but I didn’t have the energy to keep on his heels as he pulled away. I tried to keep my cadence high and just continued to dig deep. I don’t even think I was looking at my watch at this time, I was putting everything into the race. I saw the 3 mile marker coming up and put in my finishing sprint. I haven’t sprinted in my last 3 races so wasn’t sure what I had. I was surprised as my kick kicked in and I passed my friend that passed me earlier. My official time was 18:19, which would have been a PR for me, however the race distance was short. Apparently they had to tweak the course and it was only about 2.97. I also think the timing was a little off, so in my books it was probably closer to a 19:20 5K. Either way I was super happy with the time and my 55th overall place in such a large race. I did finish first from our work group by several minutes and felt good, my hip just had a little soreness. I’m hoping I can train a little more for these shorter races and start to incorporate some speed work into my training to see if I can break my PR.