Saturday morning I did my first 5k run. My training had consisted of 3 5k runs up to this point, each of which had gotten progressively better. The last run I did was last Tuesday morning and I managed to finish the 3.1 miles in 30 minutes flat. Or at a 9.67 mile pace. It was awesome, but I did get some side stickers around mile 2.5 and my legs were in pain the rest of the day. Because of this, and taking into account other factors I decided to set my goal at 34 minutes.
There are a few things that I found out during my first race.
1. I need to learn how to pace myself. I positioned myself in the middle of the group, but really I should have started toward the back more. Immediately I found myself running at the speed of the main pack, which was somewhere between 8.5 and 9 minute mile. After realizing this, I kept trying to slow myself down because I knew I couldn't run that fast for 3.1 miles. Sure enough, those side stickers that I had experienced on my Tuesday run at mile 2.5 had now shown up at mile 1. Mile 1! Ugh, how was I gonna get through 2.1 more miles like this. So I "ran" to the side and stopped a minute. In reality I finished my first mile at 9:07, but I was now paying for it. I found that throughout the rest of the race I had a lot of trouble keeping my pace. If faster people would pass me, I'd speed up and run with them, and then realize that I wasn't breathing well enough and the side stickers would come back. I think around mile 2 I was finally starting to feel better. And regain my pace.
2. Running a boring course is hard. The Lone Star Stampede was a road race on a road.. not a pretty trail like Town Lake. I think I've spoiled myself by running on Town Lake so much. The gravel is nice to run on and the scenery is soooo beautiful, especially this time of the year. It makes it much easier to find distractions and that's good because then I'm not focusing on how much longer to run or how my side hurts.
But even with these little annoyances, I'm glad I did the run. I finished with a time around 31:28 and I felt good. Jeremy did the 10k and he finished right around 43:58 or something like that. While I can't say that I'm looking forward to my next run, I will say that I'll probably run again and I will work my way up to 10 miles before the Army 10 miler in October.