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Chasing a 5k PR

I have chased the same goal for 14 years. If this goal was a person, she would be a high school freshman. I was high school freshman when I set this goal.

This goal isn’t lofty, I’m not trying to defeat a dark wizard or destroy a planet killer. The goal I have been literally chasing has been a sub 20 minute 5k. I would be overjoyed with a 19:59.

In high school, sub 20 was what the fast girls ran. In my head, that is the time you had to have to run in college. It was a goal that seemed a bit unattainable, at first I was just trying to finish a 5k. Shorter distance races came easier to me. I fell in love with the 800 meters in track and as much as I enjoyed cross country, I looked forward to track. There I could be speedy and show-off my finishing kick. I focused on it and I don’t regret it. I finished my high school career with a 5k pr somewhere in the low 22s to high 21s (is it bad that my memory can’t recall that PR?) running 25-35 miles a week. My 800 meter PR was lowered in my final race in high school but it was still a long shot to run in college.

I was a walk-on to my college cross country and track team. I remember sitting in my college coach’s office with my mother making a hard sell about myself and leaving with the relief that I had made the team. My mileage was upped, long runs were taken seriously, we raced nearly every weekend and my 5k times dropped. I bounced around distances racing everything from the 4x400m to the 3k steeplechase.  I left college with a PR in a cross country 5k of a low 21 to high 20 (I just googled and the best I can tell is some between 20:45 to a 21:09). I never raced a 5k on the track.

I had a bit of an unusual senior year of college, I landed an internship with Runner’s World my last semester and did not race my senior track season. Runner’s World was a running geeks paradise. I worked on running articles, ran with my bosses every day during lunch (they were quick, I believe they were all training for Boston) and eating healthy organic meals from the Rodale cafeteria. I upped my long run mileage and raced quite a bit. I was alone in a small Stars Hollow type of town, so Saturday mornings I would go race locally. It was during this time, I ran a 20:20 5k during a four-mile race.  It was during this race, I achieved my PR. That was six years ago.

I didn’t stop racing (you can read about some of that here) but I’ve not trained specifically for a 5k. After turning 29 this summer, I decided I needed to truly attempt breaking that old PR. I signed up with an online coach (ekiden) and most recently raced a 30:36 for 4 miles at a local turkey trot. My next race will be at the end of January and the goal is 7 minute pace.

Until next time,

Cara

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Overdue Update

Let me apologize for my lack of updates. For awhile there I was like a yo-yo dieter with my workouts. I would feel super motivated one week and then like a total couch potato the next. But now that race season is officially here I have tons of things to report.

First, I am so happy for every single workout I did over the winter. Every treadmill run, or gym session paid off. My race time is already better then what it was this time last year.

Second, I got my new running shoes. I am very excited about this but I am having a hard time breaking them in and rotating them out with my old pair. It’s amazing how a new pair can effect your muscles. When I got my first pair I was told they would last me around 500 miles. So like the organized person that I am, I logged every run I did and how many miles. image

Third, I have started to incorporate sprint workouts into my routine. Everyone always told me that if I wanted to improve my time I needed to do speed training. I could never find the motivation to do it. I mean, I am a distance runner, sprinting really isn’t a strong suit of mine. I have to say though, I don’t mind it all and I can already feel the benefits in my pace.. This one I found on Pinterest really kicked my butt the other day. imageI took about a 30 second rest in between each item. It’s funny how you can feel like you are in great shape but when you switch up your routine your body isn’t used to the change. You are asking your muscles to do something they haven’t done before. And ultimately you become a stronger runner.

And lastly, like I said before, race season has officially begun. I have ran a race almost every weekend since early April. I’ve placed in a few of them and have seen my time improve greatly. I am very excited to see what my accomplishes will be and what courses I run.

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What to do…

Just when I thought ‘hmm I don’t know what to blog about…’ I came across this article that fit perfectly with how I have been feeling. I haven’t been working out as much as I normally do and it’s had me feeling pretty guilty and sad. Now that’s it’s winter my inner bear has kicked in and all I want to do his curl up on the couch and hibernate. The first three paragraphs of the article really nailed it on my exact thoughts. I LOVE running but lately I just haven’t had the motivation to run on the treadmill. This article talks about what to do when you don’t want to run. It made me feel better that there will be times when I need to rest, or when I just need to switch up my routine.

image I did run a 5k race this past weekend. (Which the picture is from, Elizabeth and I always get a pre-race selfie in) It amazes me that even though my work outs have been few and far between my body doesn’t forget how to compete. I worry that cutting back on mileage will Hinder my progress but that wasn’t the case. While running I was trying to focus on negative splits. This is something I haven’t really been good at. I always start out way too fast and burn out half way through. Well, I think I was focusing a little too hard because I had too much energy at the end saved up. My time was still my best this year but I was mad that I probably could have gotten an even better time. But I guess that just means focusing on starting out slow and continually go faster is working. Again, proving to me that even though I may be feeling discouraged, I need to stay positive and be proud of my accomplishments.