So last week I signed up for a small town race just miles from my house. My goal was simple... to close out the summer with a solid attempt at speed. Leave it all on the course and finish with a new 5k time that would be difficult for me to beat in the future. Ultimately, I really wanted to get under the 26 minute mark.
The Hanna City Hustle turned out to be the perfect race for me. It was pure and simple running. No congestion. No frills. Easy in and easy out.
One of the mistakes I make in short distances races is the failure to warmup appropriately. This time, I decided to ride my bike to the race, which provided a great 7.5 mile ride. My muscles warmed up nicely, which allowed for a great stretch before the race began. It was a beautiful morning in the low 70's and I was ready to run.
My hubby and I lined up with maybe 150 other runners. With a simple 1-2-3, we were off and running. Already warmed up, I probably started off down the opening stretch a little too fast. By time I saw my parents and kids a half mile in, I settled into a comfortably hard pace. At mile one, a guy called out my first split, a 7:50. I glanced at my watch to see it was right. Yes! Wowza!
To keep myself driving, I continually set targets ahead of me. There was an older guy running strong ahead and step by step, I caught up to him. When we hit a slight downhill, I used it to soar ahead. The race course was a nice stroll through neighborhoods and then we hit an in/out stretch on a country road. It was fun to see the leaders flying past... a female and male side by side. (The chick ended up winning the whole shabang!) Shortly after them, I saw fellow Sole Sister Crystal. She's an impressively fast runner, but more amazing is her support of other runners. She called out to me, "Jess you're doing great. You're fourth female! Catch her - You can do it!" Sure enough, I counted one more female between Crystal and I before the turnaround. She was a good 1/8 mile ahead of me though. I picked up the pace and slowly closed the gap over the next mile.
On the way back to the finish, we weaved once again through the neighborhoods. There were a couple mild inclines that began to pinch my energy. I was breathing so hard trying to push the last mile. I wondered how off the charts my heart rate must be at that moment! As the course turned one final corner, we had a nice long straightway to sprint out the finish. I've train myself to have an end kick no matter how tired I am, but unfortunately the female in front of me also had a strong finish, so I simply couldn't catch her. As I came across the finish, I was shocked when he called out 24:48. Say what?!? I stared at my watch... Holy crap! Forget the 25's... I just soared into the 24's. I was absolutely ecstatic with that time.
After the 5k was done, my kiddos ran the kids race. Little Girl is super competitive and sprinted out a big finish. Big Girl just smiled and waved as she ran. It makes me laugh how they are complete opposites.
Afterward we relaxed at the Pancake/Sausage Breakfast that was included in the race entry. It was a beautiful morning to sit in the grass, eat yummy pancakes and talk with other runners. I grew up in a small town so I enjoyed this comfy casual setting in Hanna City.
As the awards were called out, I was thrilled to win my first 1st place age group medal! And so did my friend Crystal!
24:48 (7:59 pace)
#4 out of 51 females
1st place in my age group F35-39