, , ,

TeamI drive to Fort Collins this morning with Coach Jabe and her large team.  We have 7 in our car, plus another car.  The Jingle Bells 5K raises money for Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Our team raised the 3rd highest amount and qualified us for the VIP tent – which I use to store my gear bag.  That’s Jabe to my right in the Santa outfit.  I run wearing a Santa beard.

I don’t like making commitments to a fast race.  I prefer to make up my race plan after I’ve warmed up in the first mile.  Keith asks me how I plan to run though, and I sort of suggested I was striving for a 5K PR in my last blog.  I tell Keith I am going to run hard enough to beat my best 10K pace of a 7:09 mile.  When Abbie scoots in line with me and suggests she is going to run about 22 minutes, I tell her I will try to keep up.  I am also talking to Tom, a 62 year old in line with me, who said he runs about a 23 minute 5K.  I am in fast company.

I chat a bit with Abbie during the first half mile.  I feel comfortable breathing.  The weather is sunny and in the 40s – perfect for distance running.  I surge a bit ahead of Abbie which suggests to me I might be running too fast.  My pace at the first mile marker is 6:44.  This is fast for me but I feel fine.  This CSU campus course is virtually flat with only a 59 foot elevation gain.  My initial plan was to push the second mile but since I’m considerably under my target I decide to try holding my pace.  I find myself passing quite a number of other runners but am fairly certain I’m not picking up my pace.  The second mile comes in at a 6:46 pace – only 2 seconds off my first mile.

I’m super pleased with this because I still feel quite comfortable.  I determine to forgo a kick and start pushing my pace now to ensure I PR.  I’m confident I can run this third mile in a 7 minute pace.  This will be great because I don’t just want to beat my 10K pace, I want to average under 7 minutes and right now that looks achievable.  I pass about 3 more runners on this last mile, including a lady running with her dog and a kid likely in grade school.  Surprisingly my final mile is in 6:38 and I finish with a 20:49 PR.  This kills my previous best 5K by well over a minute and I even cooled down the last 100 yards rather than putting on a kick.  To make things even better, I win an award for placing 2nd in the masters division which is for everyone 40 and older.

abbie and keithKeith finishes with Abbie and wins his age division in about 22 minutes – exactly what Abbie said she would run.  We all meet up at the Chi Omega sorority house for a fund raiser breakfast.  Home now planning an appetizer for tonight’s Christmas fondue party.  I might just cut up a bunch of celery sticks.  Sort of short on time.