Yesterday I ran the Kris Kringle 5 miler, the first 5 mile race I ever ran. The weather was cold and blustery, but the course was labeled as flat with "a small hill at the finish." A warm-up run with my buddy Chop L. disabused me of my ideas of a small hill.
We arrived at the race site about an hour early and had plenty of time to check in. Afterwards, we went for a warm-up run to survey the course. I'm glad we did, because the small hill, as daunting as it was knowing it was coming, would have been more daunting had I remained ignorant.
Gun went off at 11:00, and I went out at around 5K pace. Having never run a 5 miler before, and bouyed by my Harrisburg Marathon run, I thought this was a good idea. I figured I would run the first mile fast, settle in for three, and then have a little left for the last mile.
My strategy seemed to be working but the wind and cold took their toll and when I hit the 3 mile mark, I couldn't help but think that if this was a 5k, I would be done in 176 yards with no "small hill" to contend with. I fell apart mentally in mile 4, and even though I was able to maintain my position, mile 5 was excrutiating, especially having to climb the "small hill."
I was somewhat dissapointed with my performance, but then I realized I was 27th out of 575 runners; I was first in my age group, 45-49; and I would have been 1st even if the age group was 40-49. Also, the times were down from last year; everybody must have been feeling the affects of the weather.
Looking back, the only change I would have made was going out just a little slower, but this race has given me confidence for upcoming 5Ks.
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