Race Recap: Irish 5K

Sometimes you're just completely unmotivated for a race. Today was that day for me. I was tired, it was cold out, and my runs the last couple weeks hadn't gone as planned. I had gone to bed excited, had done all my preparations as planned, but the motivation just wasn't there when I woke up. What do you do? Well, if you're me, you complain about it on twitter and tumblr, and stay in bed as late as possible, but eventually suck it up and go.

Today's race was part of 3 race series called the Tour de Patrick. The other two races will be next weekend, in Providence on Saturday and Worcester on Sunday. You don't have to do all three, but of course I signed up for all of them. Back in December, I thought it would be fun and keep me running through the winter. Well, that plan kind of failed, as it was nothing but ice here in Rhode Island for over a month. But still, registering for all three races meant that I got three more [long sleeved] tech shirts, plus a CD of Irish music! [Well, I say Irish music but I really mean a local Providence band that plays Irish-inspired music.]

So, I hemmed and hawed this morning but finally gave in and put on my running clothes. Now, I usually like to dress up for races... but it turns out that I don't have very much green clothing at all and none of it's running gear, never mind outerwear! All my stuff is bright pink so, well, at least I stood out in the sea of green?
As you can see, I was wearing my race shirt, but... it was far too cold to go without my jacket! I also had on tights underneath my shorts, although you can't see that here [and my orange running gloves].

So... yeah, it was cold. Did I mention that yet? Supposedly, it was 40 degrees out. But the sun was hiding and the wind was blowing, so it was a pretty cold 40 degrees. I biked to the race, which was only a mile and a half away, and I was afraid that I hadn't worn enough layers. Once I got running, it was a different story but until then... brrr! I got to the race only about 20 minutes before the start time, so I spent the extra time walking around and dancing to the music, trying to keep warm. Finally, I lined up behind the start line... and then a whole troop of firefighters lined up right next to me. Once we started, they were constantly shouting chants and march-running in step which was... interesting. I was ahead of them for the first half mile or so, but I could still hear them. They passed me at one point but I could still hear them until about the last half mile. I can't run and talk continuously for a half hour, never mind keep pace with 20+ other people, so I was definitely impressed!

As for me... since I wasn't where I wanted to be with regard to running [I hadn't run anything over 2 miles since December], I settled on the plan of running 4 minutes, walking 1, and repeating. It's my "week 8" plan from when I did 5k training way back in the summer, and it was already set up in my runkeeper app so why not? Okay, I kind of missed the first couple intervals because the reminder wasn't loud enough for me to hear among the pack but once we thinned out, I heard the ding that let me know to stop running for a minute.
oops, I forgot to take out the warmup
I've concluded that my favourite part of the race is the first mile or so. I actually sort of like being in the pack. Which is funny, because I thought that would be the part I hate. But the bobbing and weaving and constantly searching for the next break to push through? It keeps my brain engaged, and away from the defeatist attitude it can lean towards in later miles. [Plus, there's that whole thing about my body being fresh, in the first mile. But besides that.] Does anyone else feel like this?

The course was fairly flat, but had one particularly tough hill [about a half mile in] and a couple other smaller inclines. I'm actually well familiar with the route, it's the route I bike to the gym, and I know that hill is tough even on my bike. Add in the fact that I haven't done any hill work at all... well, it was a challenge but I did it. [The course in Worcester, however, looks to be very hilly so we'll see how I handle that one next weekend! Probably pretty badly, haha.] Of course, none of my walk intervals occurred while I was going up a hill... one while I was going down, but that's just my luck!
stats by mile if you're interested
I finished with an official time of 33:11, much to my surprise! I guess the run/walk intervals really are good if you're not feeling your best. That's a whole 17 seconds better than my best time of last year, which was the Downtown Jingle in December. 17 seconds! That's kind of a big deal! It's a pace of 10:40min/mi, so still not the 10min/mi I'm aiming for... but look at those running intervals, I'm consistently below 10min/mi when I'm running. It's just the walking intervals that brought my pace up. So, I definitely want to work on eliminating those walking intervals completely, and keep a consistent sub10 pace. That's this week's work. I'd say that I'd work on hills this week, but I still haven't scouted out the best places to run up hills [the only hill that I can really think of near me, besides my own street, doesn't have a sidewalk only on the hill and it's a pretty dangerous spot]. I think hill work is really just going to have to wait until the weather's good enough to bike somewhere on a regular basis.

And there was an afterparty, complete with pizza and beer, but the beer cost money and the pizza had cheese, plus I didn't know anyone, so I just grabbed a banana and water, checked my stats, and left. And went to the library instead, haha, because why wouldn't I stop by on a day I don't actually have to be there?

Next week is Providence on Saturday [which my mom is also doing! She's walking it with some WW friends] and Worcester on Sunday. I'll have more pictures from those, since I won't have to travel light on my bike to them.