RACE RECAP: Sweethearts 5K

Since I’ve had to scale back on the mileage with my ankle, I’ve been really enjoying the 5Ks as of late. It’s been years since I’ve concentrated on just 5Ks and I like it — a lot. It’s fun.

Last week I ran the Frigid 5K and pushed myself to a 37:59 time. I wanted to test my ankle, but I also just wanted to see what I could do. And, I was impressed with the result.

So going into the Sweethearts 5K I wanted to bring that same intensity and see what I could do. I didn’t have a specific time goal other than be faster than last week. I really wanted to just build upon last week’s success.

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My training this past week was strategic. I focused on recovery and stretching earlier in the week, because I was sore — really sore. And, then I did a a couple of smaller distance speed work sessions during the week as well as a fast mile run in combination with my strength training, etc.

It was a good week of training. And, I felt confident going into Saturday’s race. Especially since my ankle was feeling great. That just elevated my confidence.

It also didn’t hurt that I am well acquainted with this course. This was the eighth time I’ve done this race. It’s down the road from me and it’s just a fun little race I look forward to each year.

The course is fairly simple, it starts and finishes at the South Davis Rec Center. It’s a pretty simple flat course that loops around Bountiful. There are no hills, but there are a couple gradual uphills that for the untrained legs feel like a hill. It’s just a good honest course.

After mingling with a few friends at the start line the race started I let the majority of the runners go. As soon as I crossed that start line — I just ran. The focus was to keep going, minimize my walking and just give it my all.

The first half of the race was pretty easy. I was feeling good and strong. Did I go out too strong? Probably a tad. But, I knew once we turned there was a slight hill that would slow me down a bit. I really just wanted to bank some time.

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Once we turned and hit the midway point I started feeling the fatigue set in. I just pushed through it knowing that the last major turn also brought the aid station which I planned on briefly walking.

Once I got to the aid station I was feeling great so I pushed myself a bit more. The legs weren’t really having it and I stopped briefly to recalibrate myself a bit. But, I didn’t want to stop too long, because I knew I could push myself — the finish line wasn’t too far away.

As soon as I reached the finish line I turned on the turbo jets one more time and crossed the finish line in 35:17! A 2:42 minute improvement from last week’s race! It surprised me, mainly because of how much easier it felt compared to last week.

But, I did it!

The recent success really motivates me work on one of my running goals — to run a sub-30 minute 5K. I’ve been so focused on the longer distances that it’s kept me from running and training more for 5K races.

I have a number of other 5K races planned in the next month — some that I will race and others that I will be running with others (namely March Madness 5K with my nieces and nephew). But, I am already starting to play with the idea of picking up a few more 5Ks this year to work on that goal.

But, we’ll see about that. My number one focus has been my ankle recovery, but like I’ve said previously — I’m really loving these 5K races.

Next race is this weekend with the Candy Heart 5K at Gardner Village. And, once again, I’m just going to give it my best and see what I got.

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