Saturday I ran the See Spot Run for Humanity 5k. Nothing fancy about it. Just a fun, local race in which participants are encouraged to run with their dogs. I did not. I'm way too competitive to be running and have to stop and wait on a dog to poop. Sorry, maybe another year. Anyway, the course is flat, fast and easy to set a new PR on. Sometimes.
Last year at this race I set a 5k PR and placed 2nd in my AG. I won a hammer. (I thought it was an odd award, too, but then realized the race benefited Habitat for Humanity.) This year I did not set a new PR, but I did place 2nd in my AG again. And won another hammer. However, I REALLY wanted that sub 23 minute 5k! I didn't improve my time AT ALL from two months ago, which is really frustrating. I don't like to make excuses, but will admit there were factors. 1. I had been under the weather (was still feeling pretty snotty and weak at the race.) 2. It was humid and muggy. Those two things don't really scream "PR." With those factors in play, I can see why I didn't improve. And I'm okay with knowing it wasn't because my legs weren't ready to handle it or mentally I wasn't ready, because I was. I can replay each mile in my head and think of ways I could have run (ran?) differently - smarter, but I really don't think I could have run any differently. I even had to stop a few times, and I think I've only stopped during a 5k one other time. And that was because of hills. You don't have time to stop if you are aiming for a sub 23 minute 5k. At least I don't.
I have been working on speed for about two months, but I don't feel like I've been consistent with it, and I don't feel like I've pushed myself hard enough. I feel like I've given up too easily at times. I've got to learn to suck it up, even if it is hot as balls outside. Speed work is hard, but it's a different kind of hard when you're running in humidity. I always forget it takes awhile for my body to acclimate to Tennessee humidity. We pretty much go from 0% humidity to 80% instantly. It's not fun. But I know if I can average 7:20-7:30 race pace in the blazing heat that when fall comes it will start to become an easier pace - boosting my race pace up once again. When that happens it just makes me feel so much better about my running. I want to be able to keep improving my speed. I know I still have a lot of room to grow - as long as I put the work into it.
I'm not giving up on that sub 23, I know I have it in me. I'm running another 5k in June. I have no idea if I'll be any faster in a month, because the humidity is going to be even worse. I won't beat myself up if I don't meet my goal then. I'll just keep moving it forward.
I'm also really excited to start working towards a new half marathon PR. I haven't been running any long distances since March, so to start back into that will be exciting. I don't know what I'm going to be capable of come October, but my big goal that I want to work towards is sub 1:50, which would be an 8 min PR in 7 months. It's not going to be easy, but I've got to get out of my comfort zone if I want to see a major jump like that. The question is, am I ready to work for it?
And of course, the age old Marathon debate is still up in the air. The more and more I think about it, the more I think this could be the year...
I'll let ya know :)