Posts Tagged With: 5K

5Ks are like buses…

….None for ages and then three come along at once.

This month has been a bit of a 5K frenzy for me.  First I ran the ODU Big Blue 5K, which I had also run last year.  It was another awesome day out.  Last year I finished it in 28:17.  This year I managed to knock off over two minutes, to finish in a time of 26:13.  I finished 6th in my age group, 68th female overall and 294 overall, out of 2091.  I was really pleased with my progress over the past twelve months, but a little grumpy that I still couldn’t get a finish time with a 25 at the start of it (even with a 59 at the end).  I had been gradually improving my times but still couldn’t quite get there.

Next up I ran the Surf’s Up 5K along the oceanfront, this time as part of a team.  The conditions were perfect on the day.  I dispensed with my usual logic and tactics of trying to pace myself, and just decided to run as fast as I comfortably could for the whole race, to see what I could do.  Well, I managed to finish in 25:35!  I impressed myself, but also kind of annoyed myself because I had improved so much since the ODU race that I thought I had peaked and now had nowhere else to go.  I got 3rd place in my age group, and my team won 2nd place overall for our combined performance!

Today I ran the Spring Fever 5K.  Having only run the previous race four days ago and done so well, plus having an atrocious run yesterday in the ridiculous heat and humidity, I didn’t expect to do so well today.  Yet again, however, the weather was pretty good, bright and sunny but a little breezy.  I decided to just run like hell again without really pacing myself.  Well, I got to the one mile mark and this happened:


and I decided that I didn’t care how well I ran the rest of the race, I was just so happy to finally run a sub-eight minute mile 🙂  In the past I have only occasionally managed an 8:06 (my previous best time) or slightly slower pace and that is only when I’m running one mile and then stopping.  Well, my average pace for the whole race today was around 8:06.  That’s right, not just one but three-and-a-bit miles at that pace!  So you can work out that I did actually manage to break my own 5K record today – with a finish of 24:58!!  I never thought I would ever actually see a 24 at the start of my time.

I came 3rd in my age group (third again!!  Even having taken four minutes off my 5K time since my first trophy last year, I still can’t get 2nd place!).

I’m quite pleased that I have no more 5K races for a little while now.  The heat and humidity is just starting to increase here so my times will be ever increasing from now until about September.  Plus I have to concentrate more on my longer distances now, as I have a 10 miler, 10 K and Half Marathon to compete in very soon…..


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March Mania 5K – We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Trophy Cabinet

March Madness 5K

More bling in the Stateside household!!

Stateside Husband and I both recently took part in the March Madness 5K which is a free race held near our home.  Back in November I won my first ever trophy (3rd place in my age group) at its sister event, the Veterans Day 5K.  Meanwhile, Stateside Husband participated in last year’s March Mania and brought home the trophy for first place in his age group.  So we had a little hope that at least one of us might win something again although we didn’t want to ruin our enjoyment of the race by thinking about our pace.

Well, as you can see from the photo, we were successful!  I achieved third place in my age group again, this time with a time of about 26:42 (I’m not exactly sure because they don’t release the official times and I forgot to stop my timer for a few seconds).  I think it was a new record for me!

Meanwhile Stateside Husband retained his title, first place in his age group and fifth place overall.  Celebrations all round!!

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Day five of an unexpectedly extended weekend due to snow, ice and historic low temperatures for these parts.  We don’t have it quite as bad as Boston, but the state has been paralysed, with all local schools and a large number of businesses closed.  The enforced hibernation has been pretty positive here at Stateside Towers.  I have been kept inside and driven to use Satan’s Hamster Wheel (the lovely treadmill) for a couple of days, which in itself is depressing and usually demotivating, however I used the opportunity to measure my pace accurately and push myself further for a few stretches during my run, resulting in a new 5K personal best of 27:10, knocking more than a minute off my previous record.  Go me!!  I don’t think I‘ll be repeating that time again easily as I needed somewhat of a lie down after it.

I usually use my weekdays as an opportunity to try out odd and adventurous new recipes when there is only me to poison.  Stateside Husband has been at home with me this week so he has been subjected to all my experiments (and there have been a lot, as I have been trying out recipes from a cookbook I borrowed from the library that has to be returned in two days).  We were both pleasantly surprised to find that he enjoyed all the recipes, I didn’t poison either of us, and we now have a selection of new breakfast, lunches and dinners to add to our menu.  Needless to say, I am going to buy the recipe book now.

In other news, I’ve signed up for a number of races this year so I now have twelve months of events to train towards.  As well as repeating the same races from last year, I’ve added a few new ones in to keep it interesting.  I’ve also signed up to Meet Me on Mars, which is a virtual race where everyone’s mileage is tallied up and the goal is, not surprisingly, to run all the way to Mars.  I had an amazing start in January, running 75 miles towards my original 2015 goal of 500.  Meet Me on Mars is giving me even more motivation to keep up with my mileage throughout the year, although I expect my monthly totals will get lower as the weather gets warmer (which is hard to imagine right now…).

So the weather outside may be frightful but my plans for the year are quite delightful.

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Veterans Day 5K

001 002At the last minute, I decided to enter a free 5K fun run event, just because it meant I could run somewhere different for a change.  The weather was surprisingly humid which made it challenging, to say the least.  The first mile was the second fastest that I have ever run, at 8:38.  My fastest was 8:29 on the treadmill, when I knew I could stop immediately afterwards.  Well, I definitely peaked on the first mile, and the second and third were considerably slower.  At 28:18, I didn’t quite beat my personal best, but I did somehow take home the trophy for the third fastest female in my age group.  Get in!!!

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SPCA 5K for the Animals


I’ve been training slowly and steadily over the summer months, with the emphasis more on the “slowly” as the weather has been incredibly humid and hot, which means it’s felt like I’ve been wading through treacle.  In turn, this has meant my runs have been comparatively slow over the past couple of months and I really started to wonder whether I was losing my ability to run as my finish times have got longer.  However, the humidity suddenly lifted a couple of weeks ago, and whaddya know, so did my times!  In reality, I’ve had to work harder to maintain my usual pace during the summer weather, which means I’ve got fitter without realising or appreciating it.

So today I took part in the local SPCA’s 5K for the Animals, along the boardwalk at the oceanfront.  Whilst gloriously sunny, the temperature took a dip overnight, down to about 18c (which I realise sounds tropical to my British-based buddies, but when you’ve not felt anything below 25c for many months, it’s a bit of a shock, let me tell you).  Being a race for an animal charity, dogs were permitted to join in, which made the starting line a little eventful with a handful of particularly overexcited canines.  Once I passed them, the boardwalk opened out and I enjoyed a mainly calm and peaceful run in the sunshine with an uninterrupted view of the Atlantic to my side.  At the very end of the race, a lorry appeared out of nowhere and entered the pedestrianised boardwalk, meaning we had to slow down, jog behind it, and then take an unplanned detour to reach the finish line.  Taking this into account, I’m very pleased to say that I still managed a 5K personal best of 27:50, so my months of training (plodding) in sticky weather definitely paid off!  I finished 4th of the females in my age group, 10th female overall, and 30th finisher overall out of 274.  I think the promise of a pumpkin spice latte and a cuddle with an 8 week old kitten at the finish line spurred me on a little too….

No time to hang up my running shoes though.  Next weekend I’m running my first 10K race.  Last week I managed to smash my personal best time for 10K, finally getting it under an hour at 59:18.  As I’ll be running in costume with a lot of other crazy people, I don’t necessarily expect to beat this, however I will be wearing a cape so who knows …

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Another 5K, you say? Ah, go on then


So, after the recent success of my 8K, I was planning to move onwards and upwards to the 10K in October.  However, the inaugural ODU Big Blue 5K came to our attention and was too good an opportunity to miss.  For our entry fee, we got to see a college baseball game the night before the race (and it’s true what they say about the excellence of college sports; we saw so much more action in this one game than in all the major and minor league ones we have seen in the past), plus a college football game after the race and as much food and beer as we could manage.  I always like it when my money goes towards things to reward me at the end of my race, rather than towards mud or paint to pelt me with during the race.

It was an uncharacteristically boiling April day, with temperatures hovering around 28c, so I was glad of the water stops along the route (although not quite as glad as the husband was to see the ODU cheerleaders along the route ….).  I finished in a time of 28:12, which is somewhere around my personal best (I’m a bit hazy on my record-keeping); I came 368th out of 1863 finishers, and 110th out of 1069 females.  A spectacular day out in all respects.

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5K? OK

I’ve run my first ever 5K YIPPEE!  I know it’s not a huge distance by any means, but it is the very first time I have managed to do any kind of running event so it was a pretty big deal for me.  Three months ago I couldn’t run at all.  I’m very competent on all sorts of gym equipment and at lots of classes including spin, and I’m not averse to jumping on the bike and pootling out for a few miles, but for some reason running has always been really difficult for me.  Back in August I started out on the treadmill so I could accurately monitor my speed and distance and gradually increase both of these measurements.  What I discovered, apart from the (not really surprising) fact that all my other cardio work had already put in some valuable groundwork in improving my aerobic capacity, is that running on the treadmill is incredibly tedious.  Over time, I’ve discovered that I have the physical capacity to run some not bad distances, but I don’t have the mental capacity for it.  I get really, really bored doing it.  This boredom is at its absolute worst when I’m stuck inside on a treadmill staring at a wall two feet in front of me that doesn’t change (not least because I have trouble focusing on a wall that close).  Gyms always provide TVs to watch but I can’t manage to run when I’m staring upwards.  In fact it works best when I can look at a spot about four to six feet ahead of me on the ground.  Which is impossible when you’re on a treadmill.

So as soon as I had built up a bit of stamina (and knew I wasn’t going to risk collapsing in a heap a mile from home), I got out into the fresh air instead.  We’re very fortunate to live somewhere that has totally flat terrain, virtually no rain, and generally acceptable temperatures all year round, so I had to take advantage of all these benefits in order to build up my distances to the full 5K and then to work on my speed.  In August it was still incredibly hot and humid so most runs were started by about 7am; although this didn’t prevent me from looking like a drowned rat by the time I’d finished, it did at least mean I wasn’t completely going to pass out from the heat.  By mid-September the weather was becoming far more amenable and so I could go out at a far more sociable hour of 9am.  I have to say, early morning runs are definitely the best for me; I run as soon as I am out of bed and dressed so I have no food in me that might wish to make a reappearance and, most importantly, before my brain figures out what my body is doing.   Then by breakfast time I can feel really smug that I’ve done my required exercise, have a shower and get on with the rest of the day.  If I leave it until later to have a run, I spend the whole day brooding about it.

A benefit of running outside in the real world is the constantly changing scenery, instead of that gym wall two feet away.  However, I’ve found that if I keep the same route all the time, I still get incredibly bored.  So most days before my run, I can be found on plotting yet another different route to keep me interested.  This website is also incredibly useful for working out my speed afterwards.  Being a Luddite, I don’t have any truck with smartphones and their apps (plus, have you seen the size of the pocket in the back of my shorts? I’m lucky I can just about fit my doorkey in it) so I rely on some old-fashioned technology.  I look at the time on my watch when I start running and I look at it again when I finish.  Then I work out how long it took me, put that detail into the website and it tells me my speed.  However my smartest bit of training kit is definitely my husband.  He is a pretty good pacemaker (I have to say, I have no idea how fast I’m running at any given time, I just know it hurts or I’m bored and therefore I want to get it over with) so he keeps me on track and has gradually increased my overall pace without breaking me in the process.  He also wears a ridiculously bright orange T shirt so I am unable to lose him at any point.

Even with the changing scenery and the company, I still get really bored during my run, in fact the main thing that keeps me going is the fact that if I stopped then I’d be several miles from home and would still have to get back, so the quicker I get on with it the quicker I’ll be on the sofa again.  So my final widget for keeping me going is my music.  I’ve tried running without it and it’s so much harder.  There are certain songs that really spur me on when I’m tired and desperate to finish.  In no particular order, here are some of the songs that work for me:

  • Irene Cara – Flashdance
  • Busted – Air Hostess
  • Matchbox Twenty – Our Song
  • My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade

And I must have been doing something right because over the course of three months I went from half-jogging/half-walking a mile, to getting round the whole 5km (which is just over three miles) in about 40 minutes, to my best ever time of 26 minutes.  I should probably mention here, I am aware that what I’m terming “running” is probably many other people’s definition of “jogging”, but as far as I’m concerned, I have managed to shave more than a third off my original time, therefore I am going much faster than I was, therefore it counts as “running” for me.


So anyway, race day itself was interesting.  The biggest thing for me was the fact that there were other people there.  I mean, I knew in the abstract that there would be people besides myself there, but I really hadn’t considered what that actually meant.  I’m very used to running alone.  The  husband doesn’t count as another person, he’s just an extension of me really, besides we both have our headphones in and just communicate with hand signals – him to point when we are making a turn, me usually to signal “get lost” or, er, something like that.  We occasionally pass other people, and I have now perfected the runner’s head nod and half wave that seem to be required, but we do not actually have to interact with anybody else.  That would be unthinkable.  So to be in the middle of a crowd of thousands running around a muddy forest on race day was quite a shock to the system, especially when attempting to overtake a large number of them and avoiding falling into a puddle at the same time.  And this is before we get onto the “friendly volunteers” who were stationed at regular intervals to throw coloured paint at us. I think that’s supposed to put the “fun” into “fun run”.

Anyway, despite the muddy and uneven terrain, frequent traffic jams and paint attacks, on the day I finished in 27 minutes.  I’ve signed up for an 8K in March so I’ve now started extending my runs and I’m up to nearly 6.5km already.  Then, if my hip holds out (it starts to get very grumbly around 4.5km so I don’t know how it will fare over longer distances) I’m looking at doing a 10K next October.  Wish me luck!

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