Race Report: Freedom 5k

Happy 4th of July!  I hope everyone enjoys a safe and happy celebration!  This morning I ran the Freedom 5k, and it was a fun time.  I didn’t do my usual Expectations post for this race, because I wasn’t quite sure what my expectations and goals were.  I knew I wanted to pace myself well, hopefully go sub-30, and maybe even get a new PR.  Even still, those goals were pretty loose.  I just wanted to have fun and go fast!

The Quick & Dirty

Freedom 5k

Fairfax Corner, VA

64℉, Overcast

29:53 (9:38 pace)

Overall Female Rank - 100/276

Age Group Rank (F35-39) - 12/35

Hurray for free finisher photos to download!  Boo for yet another unflattering finisher photo.

Hurray for free finisher photos to download!  Boo for yet another unflattering finisher photo.

Pre-Race & Warm Up:

I slept fitfully, and was awake before my 6am alarm. I downed a cup of black tea with milk and stevia, and 8 ounces of tri-berry nuun. I took a quick shower, dressed in a blue tank and my Coeur tri shorts, simply because they're the comfiest running bottoms I have. Around 7am I had an applesauce pouch, and at 7:15 headed out to the car to drive to the race site. After parking, I pinned my number on and tucked my phone and keys into my SPI belt.

I jogged briefly around the event site.  It was probably no more than 3 minutes, just shaking out the cobwebs. I stretched out my achilles and did some leg swings to loosen up my hips. About five minutes before "go" I headed towards the start line. Seeding at these events is tough, as I don't want to get caught behind walkers, but don't want to get in the way of the speedy runners.

The Race:

Compared to my April race, which was 30 degrees, I immediately could tell that it was fairly humid.  On the bright side, it was 65 and overcast, so it could have been far worse for July in DC.  I headed out for a fast start. There was a bit of weaving in the first mile, but I wouldn't call the race crowded. As I hit the first mile marker and saw a split of 9:46, I wondered if I'd be able to beat my PR of 29:03. In the back of my head I also wondered if I could keep running that fast...and even faster. I started to feel a bit tired, and thought I'd grab some water at the halfway point. As soon as the water hit my mouth I started coughing, so I spit it out and tried to keep going. From that point on I coughed occasionally, and I wasn't feeling great. My legs were feeling fine, but my lungs were just not letting me push any harder. I kept checking in with myself: it's a 5k...do you hurt enough? No? Push harder! There's a long hill heading towards the mile 3 marker, and it was tough going. I checked my watch more than I ever have in a race. I realized a PR wasn't going to happen, but sub 30 still could. I tried to put the gas on, but my face started to feel tingly. Once I hit the mile 3 marker I made the final turn and headed for the finish line. I pushed as hard as I could, and didn't have anything left to give as I crossed the line.

Cool Down:

In April when I crossed the line I had to keep walking to keep my hamstrings from seizing up, and every muscle in my body ached. This time as I crossed, it took quite awhile to catch my breath, I felt like my face was on fire (and boy was I pink) and my skin tingled all over. My brother was at the finish line to meet me, and we walked over to my car, and I finished off my bottle of nuun. We walked around a bit, cheered on some people, and I did some leg swings to keep my hips happy.  We headed over to Silver Diner for our usual post-race breakfast.  My brother is a complete champ for coming out to cheer me on for an 8am 5k on a three day weekend.  I also got a text from my parents.  Who’s the luckiest?  Yup, that would be me!

Goals & Race Post Mortem:

I didn’t have any firm goals for this race, but I was hoping to go sub 30, and get a new PR.  While I did take :57 off my last 5k, coming in just under 30 minutes, my PR from 2007 still holds at 29:03.

  • My splits:

    • 1 - 9:46
    • 2 - 9:28
    • 3 - 9:20
    • .1 - 1:19

My limiter for this race, just like in April, is my aerobic base.  I'm no expert, but when your breathing is what keeps your pace down, that means the aerobic engine needs work, right? My zone 2 training just started a week or so ago, so I am really excited to see what happens when I race this course for the third time this year come November.  Plus, the fall temperatures will be quite conducive to running.  I believe I will get a new PR on that day!