That was me with the 5k this year. Let me start by recalling prior years of my 5k goals....
In 2008, I was running 19s. In fact, THREE races in a row I posted a 19:01-19:04. Frustrating to be 5 seconds away from breaking 19? you bet. Motivational? Absolutely. Unfortunately, 2008 never saw that sub 19.
2009 rolls around and I start focusing more on duathlons. Well, luckily for me duathlons generally have shorter distances, so I did more speed work. I didn't do too many 5ks, but when I did, I was cursed with the 19:04. I finally broke it unexpectedly.
My workout, while just using the same plan as my coach, for the marathon was 3miles/2miles/1mile. Well, there was a 5k that night in Geneva (the Viking Sunset 5k), so I figured, "Why not run my first 3 miles as the 5k?" Guess what... I BROKE 19!!!!! 18:40. CRAZY. I was so excited I didn't even care about the rest of the workout! Of course, I finished it, but man, breaking 19 was so unreal that I was just so excited (and may have went a little too quickly for the 2mile and 1 mile, oops).
So, 2010 comes along and I'm again just focusing on duathlon and triathlon. Yeah, the marathon is a goal, but I don't start training for it until July after most of my dus/tris are done. So no real stellar 5ks this year, but I do finish the year off with an 18:39.
2011. The year of PRs (for post-hs/college). I make it my goal to break 18. I mean, if my goal is to run sub-2:50 (hopefully even a 2:45!), I need to be breaking 18.
In the Race That's Good For Life 5k in April, Cari had told me to go out hard that first mile. This is the race that the males and females run separately, so it's super competitive. Well, Columba went out in a 5:30 and Jessica, Suzanne and I were just a tad behind in 5:38. Cari told me just to hang on for as long as I could. I ran a 5:50 and 6:00 to finish in an 18:04. 36 second PR from my previous best, yet so close to breaking 18 that I was wanting to do another 5k!
So, I used that experience to help me run the LaGrange Rocks for Youth 5k last night. It's a fast, flat course, so I knew we'd be going out hard. Fortunately for me, my wonderful boyfriend decided to run it with me as he knew it could be a PR day at the least. Little did he know that my confidence levels were high (rare for me prior to finally getting a job last week!) and I KNEW I'd be breaking 18.
We started off and I was almost leading the race. Yes, you read that correctly. I, a female, was almost leading the race. We went through the first mile in 5:29. Ryan told me after that he was FREAKING out that I was setting myself up for a disaster. He told me to slow it down the second mile and got in front of me to help me do so. I kept telling him to speed up as I knew what my race plan was. We went through the second mile in 5:55. I knew all I had to do was run that same mile time for mile 3 and breaking 18 would be done. However, probably at 2.25 there is a slight incline. I used the "downhill" part of that to just really focus on my leg turnover and catching up to the person in front of me.
I had run mile 3 to mile 2 and back as my warmup, so I knew there were 5 blocks before we turned to go back in to the finish area. I started counting and it really took my mind off things. As we turned, one of the DJs (younger kids, probably 14?) said "Go Party Rock!" as we had requested that LMFAO "Party Rock" song (whatever the name of it is) as it's just such a pump-up type of song. That silly little phrase just motivated me and I kicked it into a higher gear.
We went through mile 3 at 17:25. Crap. I have to run .1 in less than 35 seconds if I want to break 18. How is the finish so far away? Ryan is just SCREAMING at me at this point. He KNOWS I can do this and I'm not one to disappoint. I keep thinking back to Sunday and how I didn't allow myself any ice cream because I didn't break 18. That was NOT happening again.
PR by 6 seconds from April, PR by 49 seconds from last years race. YES! Finally! I collapse at the finish as I truly gave it my all.
Funny thing is, even though he was only running it with me, Ryan still got 2nd place in his age group!!! His 13-year-old brother Jason was 2nd in his age group as well with just over 20minutes. His 10-year-old brother Alex was 2nd in his age group with another sub-22 and his dad, right behind Alex, was 2nd in his age group as well! How often can you say your family went to a race and everyone brought home awards? My family, for one, has not been able to say this for years. Those Giuliano genes, I tell ya...
This week has taught me a lot...
1. Always listen to your coach. Cari and I talked on Monday, and we decided based on my 5k/10k on Sunday's Zoo run that I had reached my plateau. My body was just done with this cycle of training and ready for a break. Now if Ryan had told me that, I probably would have argued. Not because he doesn't know what he's talking about (Cari is a GENIUS when it comes to running and the science and everything that goes into it), but because I'd be mad that he didn't "believe in me." Well, after we had that conversation, I told myself that I'm going to break 18. I just have to now. And I did. My coach definitely knows how to motivate me! :)
2. PowerBar Recover + PowerBar Vanilla Protein Powder = best recovery drink ever. After my first workout with the Saucony Dick Pond Fast Track team (http://www.fasttrackracingteam.com/) in years, Ryan had his mixed drink for us to take. We did 4 progressive 800s (they had done 4 progressive 400s and a previous set of 4 progressive 800s before I hopped in) and 4 200s, so having this drink after definitely helped in recovery.
3. Ice Baths totally work. Ryan and I took an ice bath after the workout and I felt SO good the next day.
4. Dave Davis is the best person to go to for a massage if you are a runner. He worked on both Ryan and I on Tuesday morning. Yes, I was SO SORE the next day. But I still hit my workout splits for the 800s/200s and PRd in my 5k three days later. This guy knows what he's doing:)
5. Saucony AMP PRO2 tights ROCK. (http://www.saucony.com/) I wore these after my workout on Wednesday (after the ice bath) and I felt awesome on Thursday.
Something else worth noting: As a part of being on the Saucony Hurricane Team, Ryan and I (well everyone on the team, we just do things together when we are able to) have to help out at some events. Being that I'm pretty much obsessed with running, this really isn't asking much at all. So, one of these events was to run with the running group at The Runner's Edge in Chicago as part of Saucony month. We did this on Thursday night and kind of split up to run with the runners. I ran with a lady named Angelique (spelling?) and it is just SO inspirational and fun to learn about other runners and their backgrounds and goals.
I haven't really told too many people this, but I applied for the Saucony Tech Rep position awhile ago. It would basically be a dream job for me. I LOVE Saucony products--I have yet to have any sort of injury from the shoes (which is rare for me considering I've had 4 stress fractures throughout my college years while running in three different brands of shoes) and their clothing is top of the line. After we worked the event on Thursday, I left feeling like, "I could do this every day and truly have the best job in the world." So, if you read this, I'm going to selfishly ask that you pray with me that things work out. I'm sure that there are hundreds of applicants, many who have repped with other companies before so have more experience, but I truly believe I'd be an excellent fit for this position. Thanks friends and family:)
Finally, next race: Batavia Triathlon on June 12th. Ryan's racing, I'm encouraging.