My Summer Training and My New 5k PR

My major running goal through the entire summer was to get a new 5k PR (personal record). Although I ran track in high school, I mostly did high jump and hurdles, and a small stint of pole vaulting my senior year. It wasn't until the summer after I graduated that I really got into long distance running, and that love took off for me. 

I ran a ton of races in the summer of 2009, but the most notable one for me was when I ran a 25:30 at the local Turning Point 5k. It was the first time I'd ever ran a 5k pace that was in the 8 minute range, and from that point on I was hooked. 

That summer I went on to run so many miles. By August I was running 10+ miles a day like it wasn't even a big deal, and was averaging 8 minute paces on all of those runs as well. I kept up that same speed basically all the way until Derek and I got married in 2011, and then I basically stopped running for 4 years while I had babies. 

If you didn't know, having two babies is an amazing way to kill the running base that you've built for yourself over a five year period. It felt like from the time Kinsley was born in 2014 to now, I've been fighting my way to get back to those pre-baby paces. 

There are a ton of variables though. When I was running amazing times out of high school, I was running at sea level coming off of 4 years of rigorous track and field practice. I currently live at almost 5,000 feet elevation, and have no professional coaching. I also live in one of the hilliest towns we've ever lived in, which means the terrain I train on is much more difficult than anywhere else I've lived as well. All this to say, nothing is ever going to be apples to apples, and my everyday training runs will be slower than they were in 2009 because where I live and run is just so different. 

All that being said, this summer I put in way more honest hard work than I have in the last 5 years, and it definitely paid off big. I picked a training plan, and stuck to it, while also adding in an extra easy day of running, and one hard workout each week. For the first time in years, I was running 6 days a week, and suffering through my first summer of running in almost 7 years. The summers previously were always "too hot", and so I'd skip out on running until it was fall again. This summer though, I almost never skipped a workout, and ran in temperatures up to 102 degrees, and almost always gaining 100-200 feet in elevation on each run. 

With all that extra effort, I knew there was a new 5k PR waiting for me at the end of the 8 week training block. I had signed up to run a race on the morning of the 31st, but Kinsley woke up super constipated, and was throwing up. So instead of going to my race, we had to do an emergency bowel clean out at home. 

By the evening Kinsley was doing much better, and I decided that I wasn't going to let all my training go to waste, and decided to make my own 5k route, and do my own little "time trial race". A lot of races in Utah are downhill races, and those are what a lot of people run when they want to try and qualify for Boston, so I picked a downhill route to mimmic what I would be running in a typical marathon/half marathon, and just went for it. 

It was 7:30pm and I had Derek load the kids in the car, I took my pre-workout and drank a gatorade, and we were off to the start of the course I had mapped out. Derek dropped me off and gave me a good luck kiss, and then headed home to put the kids in bed. 

I did a few warm up drills for 2-3 minutes and then turned on my GPS watch and got moving. It took me a minute or two to get warmed up, but by a quarter mile in, my legs we rolling. I glanced down at my watch and my pace was in the seven minute range. Well under the 8:12/mi that I needed to hit the 5k PR.   

Somewhere right after the first mile, a little dog started chasing me for a good while which helped me to pick up the pace even more because I thought I was going to die... all of a sudden my pace was in the 6:45/mi range and I just tried to hold on as long as I could. 

The route was really unfamiliar to me, so even though I wrote directions on my arm, I wound up taking a wrong turn somewhere in the second mile, and what was supposed to be a completely downhill course got really flat and unforgiving very quickly. 

The good news was that I was much closer to my house than where my original route was going to spit me out, the bad news was that I was fighting for life for the last half mile. My legs literally felt like they were trudging through mud and I was swinging my arms and pumping my legs as fast as I could, but I was only going about 8:30/mi pace at this point. Luckily I knew that I had made up so much good time before this moment, that no matter what I did I'd still get a PR, but I was really hanging on for dear life! 

I'd fine a stop sign and tell myself, "once you get to that sign you can look at your watch and see how much farther you have...", and then after that I'd say, "Ok, just to that tree up there, then you can look at the watch again...", I did this 3-4 times before finally I was done, stopped the watch, and had a brand new PR of 23:17. 7:30/mi pace average. 

My goal for working on the 5k all summer was that I wanted to run a 5k at Boston Marathon pace. Right now with my age, I'd need to run 8:00/mile pace to qualify, and actually get to run in the Boston Marathon. My time trial for this 5k definitely slid into that standard. Next up I'll be working on my 10k time throughout the fall, and will run another time trial on November 9th (unfortunately, there aren't many good 10ks happening in November so it won't be an official race for that either). My main goal is to train hard, and get 49:48 or better in the 10k so that I can hit that same BQ standard, and then start grinding up towards the half marathon. But for now my legs are so sore and walking is a nightmare... So I'll be taking a nice week long break to recover before hitting the grind again.

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  1. Congratulations! I bet if you were able to do a 5k in a race you would probably take even more time off. I always do my best when competing. That's so awesome and inspiring!

  2. You are so inspiring! My entire family runs in this 5K every Thanksgiving! I need to start getting ready now! LOL!

    Happy day!