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Race #11 of 2012: Kent Cornucopia Days 5K Fun Run

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Okay, I'll admit it up front: I'm very pleased with myself on this run. I was hoping to push myself to PR in this one because it's relatively flat, and I did easily. My previous best time for a 5K race was 36:43; I was able to shave over 3 minutes off that time and finish in 33:05. But I'm getting ahead of myself a bit here . . .

This is the third year we have done the Kent Cornucopia Days 5K Fun Run. It takes place in the Kent Valley near a river, so the course is one of the flattest in the area, just some minor rises. My husband has been wanting to do a 5K race in his Vibrams for quite awhile, and this was the perfect one for that--all paved, no gravel or rocks to contend with. We agreed up front that we'd just start together and finish on our own; it's much easier that way so we don't feel pressured to keep up or slow down with one another.

We took pictures of one another before the race, here's hubby in his VFFs:



And me in my running skirt and orange shoes (love my Brooks PureGrit shoes!):



This is a family friendly fun run, so it's not chip timed, though I believe it's a certified course. That means when the gun goes off, your time starts, regardless of how long it takes you to cross the starting line; no biggie unless you're super competitive. We positioned ourselves behind the really fast runners but tried to get ahead of the strollers, dogs, and walkers. Some with strollers insisted on getting right up front in spite of the instructions; what can you do? When the gun went off, I took off at a fast (for me) pace, trying to get around the strollers, dogs, and slower people ahead of me; I don't like running in a crowd if I can help it. I quickly lost sight of my husband, he was opting to take it easy at the beginning (like I probably should have).

After we got up and over a bridge and down onto the main path of the trail, I glanced at my Garmin--oops, that was a little fast to maintain (around 9:30), so I tried to rein it a bit and slow down some. The pace that felt comfortable and right, though, was around 10:30-10:40, faster than I normally run on the road. I figured I'd just see how it went, fully expecting to have to walk or slow down a lot because of starting out so fast.

The first mile went by quickly--just over 10 minutes. I slowed down some on the second and third miles, of course; I'm not used to quite that fast a pace. I was tempted to walk a few times, but I realized there was no real need and just kept running.

Somewhere near the end, my husband caught up to me and passed me. He hadn't dropped quite as far behind as I thought at first; we said hi near the turnaround, and he was reasonably close there. I thought of pushing to keep up with him, but at that point it wasn't worth the effort to me. I was feeling good, but not THAT good!

We picked up our water and snacks afterward and hung around to hear the age group awards. I thought maybe Dale would place in his age group (men 60-64) since they were giving ribbons for first through fifth place, but those guys are FAST, so no ribbon for Dale. There were delays in getting to my age group and we were considering leaving when they finally got to women 55-59. When they called out the name and time of the fifth place woman, I realized, wait, I was faster than that. Before I could quite process that, the very next name that was called was mine--fourth in my age group! I don't know how many there were in that group, but I was faster than at least one person my age.

Here's the proof, my ribbon and race bib:



I looked up my time from last year, and it was 38:50, so I was able to shave over 5 1/2 minutes off that time! Just knowing that I can run a full 5K without walking is great; getting my time down so much when I haven't been specifically working on speed is amazing to me. It makes me wonder if a sub-30 minute 5K IS possible for me someday, and it sure makes me feel better about my pace for Ragnar next week.

When I started losing weight and then a few months later started running, I could not imagine doing what I am now, running half marathons and getting ready to run Ragnar. We are all capable of accomplishing far more than we give ourselves credit for; taking that first step is the hardest, but it is so worth it.

What have you secretly dreamed of being able to do but been afraid to try? Remember you may not be good at it when you start, but with time you might be able to go farther than you can see right now!

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