Last year, Barley’s 5K became my PR for the distance. I was training for the Covenant Health Knoxville {half} Marathon at the time and was thrilled for a new personal record given the lack of 5K specific training in addition to the warm/humid temperatures of race day.

The race environment is so fun, I knew I wanted to run it again this year. However, St. Patrick’s weekend fell during my marathon taper period so I didn’t want to push in an attempt to PR. 5Ks are easy to find in this area, and it just isn’t worth risking my marathon goals for a race I’m not trained for.

The temptation to race, however, is always great for me. I chatted with buddies also running, trying to find someone willing to “fun run” with me. Holding back is always difficult for me, and buddies help tremendously. For the same reasons, my marathon training friend Amy volunteered to run with me.

us. after the race. holding other people’s trophies. cause we can.

The weather promised 100% chance of rain at the race start, and this was one time we were thankful they always get the weather wrong. Race conditions were nearly perfect for the start, and not a drop of rain to be had.

Amy started out faster than I felt comfortable with, but I picked up my pace to keep up. This is probably because the race starts on an uphill and she’s better at those than me. During the whole first mile, I could see my friend/coworker/running buddy Kelly and her husband. Kelly’s fast and was racing this one, so I knew seeing her meant Amy & I were going too fast.

Mile 1 – 8:17

The hills of the 2nd mile slowed us down naturally. Amy was feeling the fast first mile, so we tried to bring it down to a more moderate pace. Still, we were running in the 8:xx range, a full minute or more per mile than we have been training at for our long runs. (For reference our first taper “long” of 13 miles was done at a 9:59 pace, longer training runs have been slower).

Mile 2 – 8:52

After a brief up in the last mile, we had a mostly downhill finish. A quick breather then we picked up the pace to finish strong. We’ve been running these same streets for our marathon training, but its crazy how much different the rolling hills feel for a short run/faster pace.

Mile 3 – 8:36

I had a bit more pep and picked it up at the quarter-mile-to-go turn when I saw the finish line ahead. Amy didn’t follow, so with less than a tenth of a mile to go I doubled back to run it in with her. Even still, my watch didn’t show a full 3.1. I stopped my watch long enough to allow them to remove my timing chip, then i finished the remaining 0.04.

Final 0.1 -{7:34}

Loved this race. I felt comfortable enough the entire time to know that, despite being 40 seconds off my 5K PR, I have a PR within me this year. Also, I had a little hip flexor soreness the next day (left only, cause my body is weird like that), just enough to make me glad I didn’t race this one all out.

Chip Time – 26:13
Final Time – 26:30
Age Group – 8/34
But we all know this race wasn’t about times, places, or even PRs. 

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!
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