Race Number One To A Sub-30 Minute 5K

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.

Lake Hollingsworth Lakeland Florida


Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Map

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.

Lakeland Watermelon 5K 2.5 Finish Mark

(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.

Lakeland Watermelon 5K Finish

(Not sure if you can tell, but I wanted to die by this point.)

Clock Time: 31:39

Chip Time: 31:21

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Splits

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.

Avoiding The Sun

It is getting to the time of year again, when it is so blistering hot that breathing while walking briskly can be difficult. There are lots of great reasons to live in Florida, the theme parks and the beaches, but the humidity and sweltering heat for the majority of the year are not one of them.

Inspire Woman Runner

There are two ways to survive running in the Florida summer (and by summer I mean from April to October.)

1. Join a gym or have access to a treadmill that is in air-conditioning.

2. Run early enough to beat the heat.

I really want to wake-up and run first thing in the morning but a few obstacles have always stopped me. For my last job, I had a very long commute (34 miles each way) and I already woke up at 5:15 everyday. I did not think it was possible to wake up any earlier plus running alone in the dark scares me. I live in a fairly rural area and there are wild animals in my neighborhood. (I actually spotted a fox fighting a cat one time which was kind of cool. J  was able to scare the fox off.)

So the obvious solution is to join a gym. There are only two gyms that are remotely close to my house, so my plan is to get guest passes at both and see which one I like better. Then the difficulty will be getting runs done on a treadmill but anything is better than the blistering heat.

How do you deal with running in the summer?