As I’ve mentioned in the past, the portion of Veterans Boulevard where the SMARM 5K is held yearly makes for a challenging race. I wasn’t sure quite how to set a goal for it – beyond the standard PR goal.

Given the “Superheros and Princesses” tag line, the girls and I decided to dress up for the occasion. Who am I trying to kid – these were costumes Christal had lying around. She would have wanted to dress up even if no one else had!! As the only brunette in the crew, it went without saying I would be Wonder Woman. Kelly went as Batgirl with Christal as Robin.

I’ve never done hair and make-up before a race, but this time I made an exception. Big hair comes very naturally for me, and this day and age I try to fight it. Saturday morning, however, I just went with it.

The weather was a bit chilly, making it perfect for running. Kelly and I did an easy 15 minute warm-up before heading to the start line.

I made the choice to go watchless for this race. Kelly & I had done some reading about 5K racing plans. One suggestion called for ditching the watch and pacing by feel instead of time. I wasn’t sure how to wear the watch AND the wrist cuffs, so I decide to try to race naked. (At least electronically speaking)

The first mile of the race, I kept Kelly & Christal directly in front of me. They are each a bit faster than me. Trusting Kelly’s pacing plan, I ran a comfortable first mile behind her. We started to separate just a bit on the big hill, about a half mile in. Give her lap paces, I’d guess my first mile to be an 8:20.

The second mile was mostly down hill for the first part, then the turn, then back up the way we came. I started to feel my breathing in this section. Kelly pulled away quite a bit at this point, so I have no frame of reference for this mile. I know I passed a few people on the up, though, and I was feeling strong.

In the last mile, I didn’t feel as strong as I probably should have. Its a significant downhill followed by a flat. I’m not sure if my mind wandered and I didn’t focus as I should. Or I could have blown too much on the 2nd mile, not leaving me with steam to finish hard on the 3rd. Without Garmin splits, there is no real way for me to know.

By the time I got close enough to see the clock, I knew I would be dangerously close to a PR. I gave that last little stretch all I had, but it just wasn’t enough. Gun time was 25:54. My 5K PR is 25:50, so it was kind of painful to see my chip time of 25:51. I feel like had I known, I could have found 2 seconds out there somewhere.

I was happy for Christal and Kelly to each place in their age group. (I was 4th in the 30-39 category, but far enough from #3 to be okay with it.)

Its hard to stay disappointed for very long though, in a fun race environment. Especially with the promise of another 5K next weekend – significantly flatter – giving me another go at besting my PR.

Did I mention there were post race pancakes?