Monday, October 27, 2014

Hyatt's Angels 5K Recap

Oh. My. Gosh.

So, I haven't mentioned it here before but my goal 5K is the Schaumburg Turkey Trot in November. The problem is - while I have done a few weeks of speedwork - I mostly haven't had any excuse to run fast since my half marathon back in August. I've run a marathon and I've run trail races, but nothing fast.

So I wasn't actually even sure if I was in shape to PR! But when I looked at last year's AG placings, I realized that with the paces I've been holding in my speedwork, I actually might be able to swing an AG placement too...if I can translate speedwork into race pace. So, I found a local race on a Sunday and thought, what the heck. I signed up for the Hyatt's Angels 5K in Independance Grove. While the course wasn't analagous, since Independence Grove is rolling hills and Schaumburg is pretty flat, it would at least give me an idea if my legs remember how to go fast and if I remembered how to run on just the edge of uncomfortable without pushing myself into vomiting.

Typically I have a hard time with 5Ks. I end up going out too fast and burn out and end up needing a walk break or two in the last mile. It's such a hard distance because it's too short to have leeway - in longer races, you can bounce mile paces up and down a bit and still pull off what you need to. For 5ks, by the time you realize you've made a mistake there's so little race left that it's hard to correct. I have both gone out too slow and been too comfortable, and gone out too fast, burned myself out, and ended up walking during the last mile. I have also pushed myself into dry heaving. (I don't recommend that.)

But, I found this and signed up. And then..I wasn't sure what to do! There wasn't a whole lot of info about the race, and no real website about it. After emailing them I figured out I'd pick up my packet on race day.

And pickup turned out to be very easy. I had my packet, a nice new (very orange) tech shirt, and I was nervous but ready. It's kind of weird to have the goal to run at an uncomfortable pace; it's like, yes let's ride the edge of almost wanting to puke for half an hour. Fun!

The weather was perfect - sunny and 49. Pretty close to ideal. The race was small - no chip timing, maybe 100? 150 people? Since it was chip timed I lined up pretty close to the front, not because I thought I was blazing fast but because there were a lot of kids too and I didn't want to weave just to get to the start line. This turned out to be a good choice.

For the first mile I focused on holding myself back without getting too far from my goal - I wanted to open between 9 and 9:30; fast enough to keep my eye on the 27:xx prize but slow enough to, I hoped, not burn out. Mile 1 came in at 9:01 - the low end of perfect, but hey, I was in range. I was chasing a pack of fast guys and 2 fast women, while keeping pace with a very nice lady I learned was named Cathy. The pace felt hard but not impossible and looking back I wonder if maybe I went out a little slower than I needed, but I felt good.

Mile 2 was sunny but I was plugging along; we passed the aid station about 1.25 miles in and shortly after hit the halfway mark. (The course was a big loop.) My breathing felt loud but not fast or laboured, so I'm not sure what was up with that but while it was a hard pace it didn't feel like I was about to burn out any moment. I even managed to pass one of the two women ahead of me! Mile 2 beeped in at 8:33.

For the last mile I struck up a conversation with Cathy, the woman I'd been running next to. I probably shouldn't have because it slowed pace, but it was fun! She told me I looked like I was 20 and was shocked to hear I had not only a 1 year old but a 5 year old too. Haha. I liked that! We talked about the mission of Hyatt's Angels and how blessed we felt to have our children.

Around 2.75 the woman I'd passed the mile earlier passed us but I wasn't worried; I was holding steady and she was clearly burning it up - I thought we had a third of a mile to go and she clearly couldn't sustain what she was doing for more than a minute. (Is that mean to say? I don't think so - it looked like a good strong finisher kick, the kind of energy you only sustain for the finisher chute...I just didn't think we were anywhere close to it.) my surprise...we passed a volunteer who said we (Cathy and I) were third and fourth female, and the finish line was just around the corner! Dang, short course. I put on the speed but the chick in front of me had just finished. Oh well! The finisher clock said my official time was 25:01 for 2.86.

I finished 3rd female overall and 1st in the 30-39 AG. Here I was trying to see if I had a possible AG win in me in November - and I managed to snag my first AG win here!!! I know there are a lot of people faster than me, and I know to some of the people reading this that isn't even their slow pace. I know I got lucky for a small field. But you know what? I won a gold medal for my AG and held a sub 9 for a whole race. I realized since I didn't grab water at the aid station this is also the first race where I never needed a walk break because I burned myself out.

I am not even bummed about the short course, because I wasn't expecting to PR here - I was just trying to see if I still remembered how to run Heather-fast.

To say I am ecstatic is an understatement. I GOT A MEDAL!


  1. WooHoo! Well done Heather! Congrats on the overall and AG place! I find that having marathon training under your belt really helps in 5ks as well.

    1. Thank you!! I guess so because that didn't feel as hard as some other 5Ks I've done...which also makes me think maybe I had more in me! I am still ridiculously happy though.

  2. 8:33 mile?! Look at you! Congrats on the bling - hang that one in a very prominent place!

    1. I know! Fastest mile in my life! But I felt like more was coming!!

      Thank you! I am thinking of getting it engraved actually. /silly

  3. Congratulations!!!! That's awesome!!!!

  4. YAY! Congrats on your AG placement! Sounds like IG is off the sh*t list now?! :)

    LOL, what is going on in the backseat in that last pic?

    1. Thank you! What shit list? :o

      Lol!! I didn't expect anyone to see that. 5 year olds are very...dramatic!