Saturday I ran in the Oak Forest Fleadh 5K, pretty much on a lark. I haven’t been planning for any 5Ks, and have pretty much been taking my training one week at a time – keeping my mileage high (for me, not in marathon training), and also upping the intensity. So when Mike suggested we run this race, I accepted mostly because I didn’t have a good reason not to. In planning (on Friday night) my race strategy, I decided I’d try to go all out. I had barely run anything all week prior, and I expected to do another run later on Saturday to add on miles.
Oak Forest is a south suburb of Chicago, and we made our way out there on Saturday morning, in the chill. The week had been nice earlier, and it warmed up after, but at 6 AM we were looking at sub 30 degrees. It was a small race, and we did packet pickup that morning, perused the tables of free stuff, and dropped our gear back at the car before the race.
I made an effort to warm up for this race – just under a mile, but an improvement as I rarely warm up for a race. It was cold though, and I also thought it was worth trying in my efforts to be speedy.
Race started, and I was able to start within seconds of the start! A big difference from even the Bucktown 5K where I started maybe 5 minutes after the beginning. Almost the entire first mile was a straight-away on Cicero Ave, and I was cruising along at a comfortably hard speed. In longer races I try to find a “rabbit” to follow at a decent pace, and I had trouble finding someone. This made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but I pressed on.
Mile 2 wound within the neighborhood, and right after starting mile 3, we headed back onto Cicero for the straightaway back to the finish. The ease with which I started out however turned out to be a headwind on the way back in. It was fierce, and I tried to find someone to draft off of, and then pull ahead. Didn’t quite happen.
I made my way into the finish, made a quick shout out to Mike (who hadn’t been expecting me that quickly), and tried to get my leg turnover up as fast as possible. I don’t think it was quite as good of a finish as I’d have hoped, but I was certainly impressed with my finish time:
My official time was 27:29 – almost 2 full minutes off of my previous 5K PR! I was pretty impressed with this result, although a bit surprised as I don’t quite think I’ve been putting in that much of a hard effort on training. A few things that I think may have contributed to this big improvement:
- I’ve lost some weight. Not a ton, but fewer lbs helps.
- I am wearing new shoes. I ❤ my Brooks Pure Cadence, which are a lot lighter than my previous trainers. After some breaking in, they feel great and I feel so speedy in them.
- I’ve worked on increasing my “short run” distance. When I go out for a run, just to get some miles in, I go for 4 miles now instead of 3-ish.
- I’ve added some tempo running into my running habits. Maybe once a week (?) that I’ll run 2 fast miles (~9:30 pace) in between an easy mile warmup & cooldown.
Happy St. Patricks Day everyone!