I’ve been running 3 to 4 miles about 3 to 4 times a week since January. I usually take a break between Thanksgiving and Christmas mostly because of the weather, limited daylight (I’m not a treadmill fan and will avoid running indoors on one all costs), and some earned time off/recovery.
I decided to run a winter race this year so I opted for the Valentine’s 5k in Valparaiso, IN. I figured I’d take my chances on weather for this 5k (these are fairly easy for me now) and try to run it competitively.
Since this is a local race, there aren’t too many participants and not as many competitive runners so it’s easier for me snag a place in a certain division (also, they tend to be more affordable and are easier to travel to). It’s a nice little ego boost even though I know I most likely wouldn’t ever place at a larger race (like something in Chicago that attracts so many great runners from all over the country and the world). I received 2nd in my gender-age group at a local 4th of July race last year!
In this race, I didn’t place, but I was close! I was 4th in my gender-age division and my average pace was at a faster rate than I’d been running, by more than 30 seconds! Needless to say, I was content. Seeing as I was only on 2 and a 1/2 hours of sleep from a get together the evening before and slightly hungover (I wasn’t going to pass up quality time with friends or not run my race so both it was), this went fairly well for me. My total 5k time was 26:36.44, a pace of 8:35/mile. My fastest 5k is 24:15.
Note: I don’t condone drinking the night before a race or not getting enough sleep. This really takes a toll on your body and performance. You should be well rested and hydrated before a race. I dislike not being well prepared but life happens. I made sure to drink plenty of water and had a banana for breakfast.
I’ll keep working on speed and possibly train for another 5k in the summer between my half (spring) and full marathon (fall).
I enjoyed this race. It started a little late but just a couple minutes. It was a nice day, chilly but sunny. Also, it wasn’t crowed since it was a smaller, local race and we ran through the town, but it wasn’t a flat course. There were hills of varying steepnesses which were tough but I enjoy a nice challenge. We finished inside the local High School indoor field. A blast of heat when you ran indoors but the track helped me sprint to the finish! They gave out Cutie mandarins, plenty of water, and Valentine’s day treats like gummies, rice crispy treats, and cookies.
I also got some Valentine’s/running themed socks! I might do this race again next year but I’d also like to try one in Chicago. There’s the Cupid’s Undie Run or Fleet Feet’s Valentine’s Day fun run.
Overall, fun experience that get me out of bed on a sunny Sunday morning.