race recap: Run the Valley 5K

It feels weird to write a race recap because it's been MONTHS! Racing a 5K definitely wasn't in my plans but after last Tuesday's speedwork with Shawn from MN RED, I was persuaded to test my fitness level in preparation for my upcoming half marathon.

I'm not going to lie- I was super nervous. I hate running fast and feeling that uncomfortable for that long. I was also worried that I would end up with a way slower time than I wanted and become really discouraged. As the saying goes, 90% of the things we worry about never happen...

On Friday night I drove the course so I could see what I was getting myself into. Shawn told me (and Matt confirmed) that the first mile had some decent climbs and it did. After that, though, it was a gentle descent the second mile and then a long, straight, flat third mile before turning to head to the finish. After psyching myself up (and out) with the course, I drove to Target to bribe myself with candy.

After a fitful night of sleep, I woke up and downed a cup of coffee and some almond butter toast. Thankfully the weather was warm enough to wear shorts and I settled on a long sleeve because I'm still recovering from my two years spent down South.

The start of the 5K

I saw Shawn as soon as I walked in to register and he waited for me so we could run a warm up together with the rest of the MN RED crew. After two miles, some drills and strides, we were minutes away from the race. We lined up near the front and took off.

There was a fairly substantial hill right away, which is why I had planned my first mile to be my slowest (around 6:40). The pace felt so slow when we started that I was scared to look at my watch for fear of seeing that I was running 8 minute miles. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I saw 6:22(!) for my first mile. I totally freaked out and slowed down, as evidenced by my second mile (6:34) even though that mile was mostly downhill. 

By the time I reached the no man's land of the third mile, I was running alone, it was windy, and I could see how far I had to go. I still wasn't looking at my watch but didn't think that I had slowed down that much. When I saw my mile split (6:46) I freaked out again at how slow I was moving and picked it up. I had a little too much gas left in the tank because I ran the last tenth of a mile in 5:41. 

20:25, a new 5k PR.

I was definitely hurting when I finished but was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I recovered. We ran out to the 10k course to cheer on some of the other MN RED runners. After everyone had finished, we all grabbed some breakfast and coffee before heading off for the rest of our weekend. I love runners.

While this was a PR for me, I'm disappointed in how I ran. I think that had I not let my mind get the better of me, I could have run around 20 minutes. However, after coming off a really high mileage week and virtually no speedwork, I can't really complain too much. I have to say that I'm excited to race my next 5k... 


  1. Congrats on the PR!

    If I recall correctly, I PR'd on this course, but it was a very unsatisfying one.


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