Last Saturday, I braved the rain and fog for my first attempt at running a sub-30 5K. This is the first of four in the Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon Series.
The race is one loop around Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland.
It is a popular running and biking route surrounded by beautiful homes and the Florida Southern Campus.
The race start was a little stressful. There was not a packet pick-up other than race day, so I had to wait in line to get my bib and another line to get a timing chip. This left me with zero time to use the bathroom or warm-up before the gun went off. Lesson learned here, I will need to get to the other three races much earlier.
Even with the lack of warm-up and the full bladder, the first mile felt comfortable. I even held back a little to maintain a 9:30-9:40 pace.
Heading into mile two, I felt that I was on pace to make my goal. I walked through the first water stop. I am so uncoordinated that drinking and moving, don’t really work for me.
(I am just ahead of the guy with the awesome mustache.)
Somewhere in the middle of mile two I got a cramp. Anytime I get a cramp, which only happens during a race, it is always in my diaphragm. Normally a little walking helps but I have never been able to get rid of this kind of cramp. I am also a big baby who at the first feeling of difficulty breathing, I start to panic. This led to a minute or two of walking and hoping that this cramp would go away.
No such luck. At the 27 minute mark, I needed to walk again. At this point I knew that the walking was going to cost me my goal.
I finally pulled myself together and ran as fast as I could for the last few minutes of the race.
Sadly, it was just over 30 minutes.
(Not sure if you can tell, but I wanted to die by this point.)
Clock Time: 31:39
Chip Time: 31:21
The good news is that it is a PR by 3 minutes and 28 seconds. That tells me that the hard work is paying off. That training with speed work and tempo runs weekly is helping me get faster. I know in one of the next three races I can drop my time by 1.35. I will just have to keep pushing (and pray for no cramps.)
All photos unless otherwise indicated are from the Lakeland Runners Club website.