Quick stats: 22:44 (watch time) 22:49 clock time
2nd in Age Group out of 36
Today I ran the Firecracker 5k that I have run probably 9 times in the past 14 years. It is a hilly out and back course that I enjoy because it is a relatively big race (1400 people this year) and there are LOTS of fast runners. Many of the area college and high school XC teams run this race.
My course PR is 22:06 and I was targeting 23:00 with a pixie-dust goal of 22:30. Most importantly, I wanted to race well and not get injured (which happened the last two times I ran 5ks- last year and after this race 2 years ago.
The weather has been glorious for western PA this whole week- cool in the morning and getting nice and warm during the day. Today is going to be in the high 80s, but it was cool in the morning. Nice day for a race.
I got up, had my usual bagel w/PB and headed over to the race. Parking was easy, and I got a mile warm-up in before realizing it had gotten very hot since I had arrived. (race time temp. was low 70s). I made a last-minute dash back to my car, changed into a tank top, and headed to the start.
This is a chip-timed race, but only has 1 mat. I lined up 10 or so rows back, and knew my watch time would be a bit off of clock time. I was trying not to go out too fast, but once again, did just that.
First mile is rolling hills, and the 1 mile marker is just past a church. 1st mile was 7:02-oops!
The second mile includes the turn-around point, which is my favorite mile because you get to see all the fast runners (winner was 15:38, 20 runners below 17 minutes). Great inspiration. The turn-around went fine. (I fell here a few years ago)
The third mile was very weak-- mentally and physically. I sort of zoned out for awhile, and a few women passed me. I just didn't have my mental game today. The last hill by the church seemed bigger than in past years, but since I know the course so well, I knew it was the last hill, and that the end of the race was sort of a small incline.
I did put on a bit of speed at the end, but was content with my 22:41. Not the fastest on this course, but not the slowest in the past 5 years either. I ran 3 more miles to warm down, very easy. I wanted to make sure to get everything loosened up, so as to avoid injury this year.
I was happy to get 2nd in my AG. The 45-49 age group winner ran a 19:57, and 2nd place 20:15. yikes! And I thought moving up to 45 AG would HELP me next year :)
All in all, I am very happy to be healthy again with the running, and feel as though my fall half marathon training and goals might be accomplished.