It Works!

Training lots of miles at an easy pace ACTUALLY DOES make you run faster races. Having not run any miles anywhere near a 9:00 minute pace in the last 5 weeks (more like 11-minute miles), I ran 3 at that pace today. I don't know how it works, but it works!

I have a new 5K PR of 28:01, a 9:01 pace. Goal one was met! I didn't meet the "super best day ever" splits of 8:59/pace, but I came pretty darn close! If I hadn't taken that 10-second walk break at 2.75 miles after the big hill or if I had lined up right at the start line instead of middle of the pack, I'd have a sub-28 5K in my name. (It wasn't chip timed, and it took me at least 5 seconds to cross the start.)

There is not much to say in the way of a race report. The weather was perfect--cloudy and about 65 degrees with a breeze---very unusual for August in Tennessee! I ran about 3/4 mile for a warm up. When the starting gun went off, I was careful to hold back in the first mile. It was still my fastest mile, but a significant portion of it was downhill. Coming back UP that hill in mile 3 was challenging! I maintained a very even pace overall, slowing a little on that hill in mile 3. I gave a strong effort, but I didn't leave it ALL out there. If I'd known how close I would be to sub-28, I'd have run a bit harder.

Three in my training group ran faster than me today, and I'm totally fine with that! Everyone finished in under 40 minutes, and I would say all had a great race. For some, it was their first real race ever! I had 3 of them place in their age group and 4 or 5 of them won door prizes. We cheered like crazy every time someone won something. We even came up with a little name for our team "Pitt Crew," and they decided they want to get matching shirts made for the half-marathon. I think that's an awesome idea.

I had my doubts going into this race. I have done no real speedwork in the last months. I've just run 5 days a week at an easy pace. Once or twice, I've added in a "stride" where I've picked up the pace a bit, but no intervals or even tempo runs. And yet I ran faster today than I have in a long time. The last thing I did before bed last night was get out my coach's training manual and find the sentence that has stuck in my brain, "Most runners are surprised to find that following this program leads to faster race times at all race distances." Count me as one of the surprised.

I can't wait to break 28 minutes next time!

After the race, I ran home, got a shower and we had family portraits made for the first time ever as a family of five. Here are a few proofs (my photographer's fast!):


Meg Runs said…
Congratulations, that's wonderful! I love the cheering at the end of the race, that sounded like fun.
Jennifer P said…
What gorgeous family photos!

Nice PR -- and way to stick to your strategy.

For the last few weeks I've been running slow -- and for whatever reason my splits today were super fast.
CarolinaJay65 said…
Nice post..inspiring
Mama said…
That's awesome!

Great photos.

MCM Mama
That's just what I was hoping to see on your blog - a great race recap!

Wonderful family pics!
busyrunningmama said…
Congrats on your new 5K PR!! I am among the suprised too, I have been running a lot of miles at slower 10-11 min miles in the last 4-6 weeks, no tempo runs, no hills, no speed workouts. I did a summer series of 4 5K's over this summer, slowest time was 28:30 at the beginning of the summer and my new PR today was 26:57.... I am a believer!
Great job today and beautiful famiy portraits!
StangLuvr said…
Congrats on the good race. I still want to get that 21 min 5k. Just have to cut 2:30 off of my best time. Kinda hard to do.
Bethany said…
Woo Hoo! Great job Donna!! This race is going to be the best motivation for your next marathon, the proof is there and all you need to do is stick to the plan! Good Job :)

Great family pictures, love your lighter hair? (it may not be any different, but it looks lighter to me in these pics!)
Amy said…
Congrats on the PR!!!!!!

And love the pics! What a great looking family!