That Time I Ran a Secret 5K

Surprise! I ran a race this morning.

It’s not a secret how badly I tanked the NYC RUNS Roosevelt Island Hot Chocolate 5K. I rambled on and on about how running failed me. I came to terms with the fact that, unfortunately, that just wasn’t my day. But, I wanted redemption! I wanted it badly. Enter a registration for a secret 5K.

I signed up for the NYC RUNS Riverside Park Hot Chocolate 5K, late in December, and only confided in a few close friends that I was attempting another 5K. I needed a race without any pressure. I needed to race on my own. I didn’t mention it in my little internet space and I certainly didn’t mention it on any social media outlets. I decided I would incorporate it into my 8 mile long run I had planned for today and whatever the day brought so be it. No pressure. I got up bright and early, ate my pre-race banana with peanut butter and I was off to the West Side of Manhattan. I think my biggest mistake, back in December, was that I didn’t warm up pre-race and, for such a short race distance, my body just shut down and couldn’t perform. I ran 2 miles to warm up before the race today which also meant that I would only have to run 3 miles post-race to reach my planned mileage for the day. Not a bad way to break up a long run, huh?

Waiting for the start, I wasn’t nervous. I was ready. Ready to just run. I did glance at my pace every so often, but I wasn’t too worried about it. When the race started, it was 20 degrees and felt like 9. It was COLD. I’ve never raced in such cold weather. My lungs definitely felt it for the first ½ mile or so; like I couldn’t take a deep enough breath. The first mile flew by. After that I said to myself, there’s only 2 miles left to go, you’ve got this! I replayed “I Love It” on repeat for at least a mile, I think. Have I mentioned how much I love that song? Not to be cliche, but I Love It.

Mile 1: 9:47

At the beginning of mile 2, I was feeling great and I felt like I could reach my goal, I set back in December, and go sub-30. I pushed the pace a little bit and heard Jess in my head telling me it’s only a 5K, it’s okay to push the pace you can always slow down if you have to, it’s not like you’re not going to finish. I saw the mile 5 marker for the 10K and thought to myself, 1.2 miles to go, you’ve totally got this. Don’t give up! PUSH! I think this was my fastest mile. Oops, I have to work on that!

Mile 2: 9:07

During mile 3, I struggled a little bit. There were a couple of short, yet steep, inclines that zapped some of my energy but nothing I couldn’t push through. I glanced at my watch and saw that I could go sub-30 if I just kept pushing. And so I did. Then I saw the finish line up ahead. Once I saw the mile 3 marker, only a tenth of a mile to go, I sprinted towards the finish line.

Mile 3: 9:26

Last 0.12: 8:36

I looked up at the clock once I crossed the finish line and saw 29:xx. I must admit, even though I thought I could do it, I was in a little bit of shock. I even asked someone if the clock was right. I couldn’t believe it; I reached my goal of sub-30! I knew during the race that I was going to PR. I mean, my last 5K was 33:24. How could I not PR? ALL of my training runs have been at a faster pace than that. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face and feeling so proud of myself.

Official Results: 29:20; 4:04 minute PR

I can’t wait to see what I’m capable of come spring. I already signed up for the NYC Runs Riverside Park 5K on March 16th. With six more weeks to train and get faster, I’m extremely hopeful!

Tell Me.

How do you pace yourself in a 5K?

How did you learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable? Basically, HOW do you race a 5K?

Do you have any new favorite songs that you can’t get enough of?

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17 thoughts on “That Time I Ran a Secret 5K

  1. Awesome! Congrats on the PR!!! I sometimes think “secret” races are the best – much less pressure!

    I am so bad at 5K pacing! I always start out too fast 😉

  2. Pingback: Time-Shifting | An Interesting Year

  3. GIIIIIRL! Let’s Turn it Up!!! Awesome job! I PR’d my half marathon when I didn’t really care, so there’s that! You ran the way you were supposed to run, This was a great race for you, and I’m so glad you did what was right for YOU! CONGRATS again!

  4. dont think ive ever commented before but im a fellow NYC runner and love your blog!! congratulations!! running fast is NOT easy when its this cold, so i bet youll fly even faster come spring! 😉

  5. Congrats! Dude, I have no idea how to race a 5k. The splits from my first and only 5k are hilarious. I went out WAY too fast, then had to dial it back after the first mile, suffered through the next mile, and tried to “push it” for the third mile before puking at the finish line. I don’t recommend this! I think my main problem is just that I have no idea how fast I can run a 5k. In a longer race, I have a pretty good idea about my pacing, and all I have to do is stick to my goal pace. I think to really race a 5k I’d have to time myself in the mile and then McMillian Running Calculator my time to generate a realistic 5k pace.

  6. Incorporate a 5K run INTO your 8 mile day….do you even HEAR yourself???? Hooray for you Bep! And, you got this old lady to put “I Love It” on my playlist….love & miss u.

  7. Congrats on the PR, 4 minutes is HUGE in a 5k! I’m awful at pacing myself during 5ks. I tend to run the first mile fast, hold back in mile 2 and run a little slower, and then try to give it all I’ve got in mile 3. I need to just push through mile 2 HARD and see what I can do 🙂

  8. Pingback: That Time I Unexpectedly PR’d the Four Mile Distance | Once in a Mile

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