Sunday, March 4, 2012

Race report: My first ultra 5K

I signed up for another virtual race a while back, a 3.4-mile run to celebrate Couch to Ironwoman's March 4 birthday. I think I like virtual races. They're an easy, fun, no-pressure way to stay slightly involved in running and to work on bringing down my 5K time. Plus, there are usually prizes involved!

A little background. My first-ever 5K was the Freeze Your Thorns Off virtual race back in January, which I did on a treadmill in 32:56. I had not trained since the Ironman, but I had lost 15 pounds since then, so that was actually pretty fast for me. But overall, the race was really no fun, because my heart felt like it wanted to explode out of my chest most of the time.

To prepare for this race, I embarked on a strict plan of…OK, let's just say I didn't learn my lesson about the importance of training. I'm pretty sure I hadn't run more than a tenth of a mile consecutively since January. But I had walked quite a bit, and peppered many of those walks with short bursts of fast running.

Since my downfall last time was starting out way too fast, for this one, I set the treadmill initially to 6 mph. I hung on for a mile without too much trouble (i.e., no heart attack), but I really didn't think I could do a second mile like that. So I started alternating a minute at 5.5 mph and then a minute at 6.5+. That got me through the second mile in another 10 minutes, but I was starting to feel pretty done. So I slowed down the last mile to about 5.5 mph and sped up again only as I got near the end.

But my 5K time was 31:49, so hey! I took over a minute off by racing smarter, not harder.

Of course, the race wasn't 3.1 miles, it was 3.4. So I walked the remainder as a cooldown, and my "official" time was 37:15. (Sorry, birthday girl, if it wasn't in the spirit of the race.)


  1. It is good! Hmmm, I always get way too WARM on the treadmill, I would almost always be running faster outside because of the heat buildup issue - you will have to sign up for an outdoor 5K this summer and shoot for sub-30!

  2. Great job and walking is totally fine! I had some injured people participate by just walking so no worries :) Great job on your PR!

    Thanks for participating!