Tuesday, January 10, 2012


for about two years now ive been desperately trying to get a 22:xx in a 5k. ive come close a few times, and totally crashed and burned a few times. ive come to hate the 5k distance. a lot. i always start off too fast (6:58 for the first mile... yeah thats never good), then die around mile 2.5 (mile 3 has been known for its 9 min/miles). its never pretty.

in the last few months ive started doing more core work and speed work, in hopes that maybe a 22:xx 5k could be in my future. i did it a few times on the dreadmill, but i really wanted an official time in an official race.

last week i remembered that the scarborough frozen 5k was coming up, a race i had run back in 2010 for my 12 in 2010 resolution. (recap: here). i remembered it being flat, and it gave me a PR at the time. the race also starts at 1pm which is nice, especially in january when it can be very cold. i wanted to run but i decided not to tell anyone cuz i was sick of saying ok im gonna do it today! and then having to admit defeat. so i only told 3 people i was doing it.

then i came down with some stupid respiratory infection and felt like crap on saturday night. ty suggested i probably shouldnt run the race, which i agreed with... but ultimately changed my mind. i was going to suck it up and see what happens.

so my typical 5k looks like this:

1. wake up, oatmeal, coffee, water, ibuprofen.
2. leave for race, arrive, hang out with people, head to start line.
3. run race. fast for 1st mile, slower for 2nd mile, shitty for 3rd mile.
4. be disappointed in prosecution of shitty race.
5. go home. look for next 5k.

on sunday, i decided to change things up a little:

1. woke up, oatmeal, coffee, water, ibuprofen (some things will never change)
2. race started at 1 (woo hoo!) so i stretched a little (who am i??)
3. left for race, arrived, and ran a warm up mile (warm up? whats that?)
4. took an espresso love GU 15 minutes prior to race
5. run race:

so this is what happened... (side note: before i got out of the car, one of the people who knew about the race texted me "good luck". it was the 22nd text from him in our conversation. it was a sign!!)

i started on the start line since there wasnt chip timing. i took off at a 6:25 pace, and immediately slowed it down. we went up a slight hill to begin with but i knew the rest of the course was flat, so i settled in at a good 7:15 pace and tried to just keep my head into it. i got to mile 1 (7:04) and thought "oh great, another too fast start". but i felt really good so i continued on. my watch went back and forth between 7:10 and 7:25 pace, so i knew i was ok. when i got to mile 2 (7:14) i knew i had it unless something really bad happened in the 3rd mile (not unheard of). even on my worst days i knew i could run a 9 minute mile, i just had to continue to put one foot in front of the other and believe that i could do it.

at mile 2.5 i looked at my watch and the pace read 7:20. i was shocked... i think my thoughts were "i could probably walk the rest of this and still get 22:xx"... but i wasnt going to let that happen. i powered through the end and as we got close to the finish i saw the timing clock ahead and it read 21:56. holy shit i was really going to do this! (side note: if i had sprinted the last couple hundred yards we would have been talking 21:xx. new goal? ahhhhhh!)

i crossed the finish line and my watch said 22:02. BOOM! my 3rd mile was 7:19... although positive splits, i didnt do what i usually do during that 3rd mile and completely fall apart. i was beyond happy with my consistency and finally got what ive been trying for so long to accomplish.

age group 3rd place winner!

so i guess changing things up a little and actually stretching/warming up really helped. the espresso love gu also helped power me through those miles. i felt strong all the way through, despite breathing issues with this dumb respiratory infection.

so this means i dont have to run 5k's anymore, right?


  1. 1. A GU before a 5K? Really?
    2. You were texting somebody other than me? Cheater.
    3. A 6:58 in the first mile of a 5K is indeed terrible.

    Nice job with the AG and the PR, though.

  2. 1. I love GU, I'd take it any time. Delicious.
    2. Congrats!! Obviously you can now retire.

  3. GREAT JOB!! SO PROUD OF YOU!!! I cannot wait to hear about your 21:XX 5K achievement =)

  4. Right! No more 5ks. Well, how about no more this year then come back to kick this one's arse next year, instead?

  5. wow! that is fantastic. I have been trying to see "22" as the first number of my finish time for a while... NOT an easy feat! Congrats and enjoy retiring from the dreaded 5K.

  6. I'm a firm believer in the warmup jog before a race, I'll have to also try taking in a GU. Congrats on your 22!

  7. oooh, I think the warmup did it too! and um hello, of course you can run 21:xx.

  8. Wow!!! So awesome and congrats! I didn't think that a 22:xx was ever going to be in my future (with an old PR from 2009 of 24:49)... Until I ran a 23:44... and then a 23:04 (when I went the wrong way on part of the course)... Now, my goal for 2012 is to get a 22:xx 5k! Thanks for helping be an inspiration for my goal!

    With only 2 seconds, you can totally nail a 21:xx in 2012!!