Last night I opened my Outdoor Track Season with a sea-level 5,000 meters. 27 girls from 10 different universities toed the line after the stadium lights lit up the Friday night field. The heat from the day had subsided with the sun and there was just some slight wind.
Going into the race, I have had about 2 months of training since my last surgery and recovery. Normally, 2 months is not a long time to build up both a mileage base and speed. So I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of shape my body was in; I knew my workouts were progressively improving each week and I felt strong and ready. One year ago, at this same invitational, I ran 18:05, and a month later ran 17:50. This race would just give me some sort of indication as to what kind of shape I am in after so much down time.
First mile flew by in 5:43, spot-on pace to break 18 minutes. Luckily I had my teammate Lauren right in front of me to push me the whole time.
For the next four laps, I focused on staying consistent, though the hurt definitely set in. The last mile, the true test of strength, is where the gaps started to form. I told myself to pass the two girls ahead of me, and don’t let anyone pass me. At the three-mile-mark, I was at 17:32. Breaking 18-minutes was no longer reasonable, so I just kicked with everything I had left – 39 seconds later, it was over.
Finishing Time: 18:11 (5:49 mile pace)
Finishing Place: 4th (of 27)
Laps 10, 11, and 12 definitely tested my mental strength; I won’t lie, I really struggled in the last mile. It would have been nice to have my teammates supporting and cheering for the 3 of us running the 5k, but they were chowing down on the aforementioned pizza.
Give me another few weeks of track workouts and I’ll be back in the 17 minutes :)
Ultimate goal: qualify for Conference Championships in Oregon in May. To do so, I need to run a 17:40 or better in the next six weeks. Which would be a personal record, but stranger things have happened. Challenge Accepted.