Labor Day was a much needed ice cream, coffee, and pancake-filled long weekend. I was visiting Erik in Ohio and signed up for the Labor of Love 5 mile race in Akron. In the final phase of marathon training I like to run some shorter road races every 2-3 weeks as speed work and to fine tune my marathon race day morning. These races are great opportunities to try out different breakfasts and outfits and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
My goal was to try and stick to 6:30 pace as long as possible. I’ve never raced a 5 miler before, but knowing that my 10k PR is just over 6:30 mile pace I thought this would be a challenging but still achievable goal. The race started out downhill and the first mile was easy. However, once I got to the second mile and hit the first hill I began to figure out that the course was a double loop of rolling uphills and downhills. Maintaining my pace started to feel challenging, and I knew that it was too early on in the race to be using up that much energy.
At this point I decided to stop thinking about time or pace and just race. I knew I wanted to fight for a spot in the top 3 (prize money!), so I stopped focusing on splits started just competing. This is definitely something I need to work on–pacing and running smart is important, but getting too caught up in it and forgetting about the race isn’t a good thing. Also, it’s just not as fun!
I told myself I wouldn’t look at my watch anymore. The first place female was already way up front and I knew her pace was out of my reach. Second place was consistently about 30 seconds in front of me, so I focused on making up some ground on her. The 4th place female was close by me for the first half of the race, but once we reached the 4th mile the course turned uphill again, and I was able to increase my lead (thanks for the hill training, Pittsburgh!).
And then the day just kept getting better. PANCAKES!
I even shared with Erik. I figured I owed him for waking up early to drive me to the race!