Yesterday I ran the first annual Run for You in Wake Forest. I just finished up Phase III of Daniels' 5k-10k plan and have about 4 weeks until my goal race, so this was mostly a tune up and to see where my fitness is.
My girlfriend, her younger brother, our dog Porter, and I arrived shortly after 7 AM for packet pickup at Run N Tri Outfitters. The sun wasn't up yet and it was around 40 degrees. I was getting a little worried that I would be colder than expected because I didn't even bother to bring gloves or a hat, just my singlet and shorts. Oh well. The sun came up and I warmed up a lot right up until the start. With the sun and a few more degrees, the weather ended up being pretty comfortable for me.
Being the first year of the race, I wasn't sure if the turnout would be too strong, but I was pleasantly surprised as everyone gathered at the start. The results list 253 participants. The start was very narrow and several kids were standing in front of me as we lined up. I looked around and didn't really notice anyone stepping up to the front and thought I might not have anyone to run with. Earlier I had seen a couple kids in high school cross country shirts and thought they might pop up at some point but they never did.
The gun went off and after a few seconds waiting for the kids to get going I quickly went around them. After about 400 meters one runner settled in next to me, but he fell back a little over the next 400 and was no where to be seen the rest of the race. In my last 5k in May, I started off way too fast with the first mile in 5:33. With colder weather, no one in front of me, and trying to be a little conservative, of course I went too slow this time, crossing the first mile just under 6. I was not happy. My legs just would not go any faster that first mile. I felt pretty strong, however, and there were some steady hills that I knew I could take advantage of on the way back.
More hills came on the second mile as I tried to hold pace. The course went through some neighborhoods and there was one street I had to cross where on-coming traffic did not have a stop sign. The volunteers at this location couldn't have been paying less attention but thankfully the car slammed on it's breaks when it saw the biker leading the way in front me. There was an aid station at the turn around but I passed as I was feeling pretty good. My second mile came in just over 6. I needed to at least beat my time from May, so I knew I was going to have to take advantage of these downhills on the way back.
I felt really strong that last mile. I don't think I gained a ton of speed from May, but my strength definitely improved. I think my fitness right now is probably better suited for a longer race. I pushed all the way to the line and finished in 18:22, beating my Got Grit time by 20 seconds. Despite having more than 250 runners, this was not a competitive race. I ran solo for about the last 2.5 miles and won by more than 90 seconds. It was essentially a solo time trial, but I'll take it! With a month to go in my 5k training, I am very happy with this time. Even though it was not the most competitive race, winning feels really good and is a nice confident boost.
With under a month to Thanksgiving, I will continue with Phase IV of Daniels' plan. I'm still not sure which race I will be running or if I can even get off work. If I'm able to get that day off, I will likely be heading up to Pennsylvania to spend the holiday with family. If that's the case, my best bet may be to stop somewhere on the way up north and run a 5k Thanksgiving morning. I have looked around and there are a couple options fairly close to our route.
Run for You
1st Place / 253