I’m riding high on endorphins at the moment as I’ve just stepped out of the shower after getting home from running in the Jammin’ Jog 5K for the second year in a row. It was a beautiful day, and a good run.
I finished with a time of around 36:20, which was about a minute worse than last year’s time, but considering how little training I’ve done, I thought it was perfectly respectable. It helped that I was familiar with the course this time, so I had a plan in place to make sure I got through the whole race without walking (a personal goal of mine with every race that I run).
Now, the thing about races is that they’re exciting. You start off in this crowd of people, and everyone’s itching to get going, and they all take off like a shot as soon as the signal’s given. It’s really easy to get caught up in the rush and go way faster than your normal pace when you first start. After all, no one likes getting immediately passed by everyone else in the crowd.
I got passed by a lot of people.
One thing I know about myself is a runner is that I always start a run feeling kind of weak. My joints ache a little bit, and the first few drops of sweat feel kind of itchy. But once I’ve been going for a few minutes, the aches kind of fade away and I can hit my stride. So that’s what I did with the race. People passed me, and I did my best to ignore them. I had this little monologue going in my head, “Some of you are going to burn out and have to walk before you hit the first mile marker, and then I’m going to pass you.”
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
I didn’t pass very many people at all, to be honest, but that’s okay, because racing is never about how you do in relation to other people; it’s about how you do in relation to yourself. Personal improvement is always the goal with running, so my little mind games about figuring out who I was going to pass were just silliness, even if in the middle of the race it was a great motivator.
So back to my pacing strategy: the Jammin’ Jog course involves several fairly steep hills, and they’re spaced pretty evenly throughout the course. I’d estimate there’s about one really good hill on each mile. Knowing that, I made sure to take it easy leading up to the hills, and then power through them. Most of my passing happened on the uphills, which is kind of fun because you feel like a champion when you’re breezing past other people who’ve slowed down because hills suck lemons.
Then for the end of the race, like the last quarter mile, I pushed myself to do a good sprint, which hurt like crazy, but was very satisfying when I saw the clock and realized I’d only lost about a minute on my personal best. Heck yeah!
Now to wrap up, I just have some things I’d like to say to all the people who made this race a fun experience:
To the organizers and sponsors, thanks for putting together such a fun race. I love the course, and I want to do it again.
To the lady who stopped to take a picture of the high school orchestra in the first half-mile when I was right behind you, don’t stop in the middle of the track.
To the kids who sprinted ahead of me and then walked just long enough to fall behind before sprinting ahead again for the entire second mile, I hate and despise your youthfulness (which means I secretly envy it), so continue to have fun running, just not near me.
To the lady who sprint-walked the entire race so that just when I was about to pass you you’d pull away again, thanks for being a moving target. You kept me from stopping to walk when I thought I was going to.
Rachael and I are planning on doing another 5K soon, but we haven’t picked one yet. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Maybe we’ll see you at the next race.
Update: Rachael has put up her, erm, post-race post. Check it out!