July 17 Run Ajax hosted a 5k Warmup Race to promote their Half Marathon and 5k race along the Ajax Waterfront in September. The course was an out and back along the waterfront. The first (and last) 1.5km or so had some hills, but nothing too mean. The event was clock timed and likely had about 30 runners.
This was going to be my first ever 5k. I had run 10k in the morning to ensure I would still meet my milage goal for the day (15k) and ran another mile before the race to warm up. I was stiff, but I didn’t have any pain. My goal for the race was to run under 19:00 (3:48/km or better) but I wasn’t going to do anything that would risk injury. If I hurt I would back off or stop.
At the start line I had a rough idea in my head of the course, but wasn’t sure where every hill was. I also didn’t know how hard to push. The previous weekend when I had run the Boilermaker 15k it was my shortest race to date, so running 5k was a whole new experience.
At the gun I found myself leading the group (it was just a fun run so the much faster runners I knew in the race let me have my moment of glory). I took off quickly, running the first km in 3:27. This was a little too quick as I had trouble keeping up with my breathing. I eased off the gas a bit and I was passed by a young (high school-ish) runner. My moment of glory was over, but that was okay, I could now focus on my stride and listening to my body to ensure I wasn’t hurting myself. My second km came in at 3:38. My lungs still told me I was pushing it but it seemed to be sustainable. When I reached the turnaround I knew I just had to hold on back to the start/finish. Running out to the turnaround was slightly downhill, so it was going to be slightly uphill coming back. As I ran I tried to keep my mind off my burning lungs and aching legs by making it to the next distance milestone; 2k to go, 1 mile, 1k, 800m, 400m. My final 3km splits were 3:46, 3:42 and 3:42, giving me a time of 18:15 (approximately, as it was clock timed).
I was happy with my run and managed to run a lot faster than if I had gone out to run 5k hard on my own, competition does that for me. I’m happy I now have a 5k under my belt, I now know what it feels like to have your foot on the throttle for about 18mins and just hang on. It was a great speed workout as I move forward with my training for Chicago.