This was, in my mind anyway, the kick off event in my training for the 2012 Chicago Marathon (for which I am raising funds for the Team One Step). Also, this was to be my first attempt at actually placing in my age group and getting a medal. Because this is only the second year this race was held, and because it's in Kent, the field is pretty small. Last year there were a little over 500 participants. This year, there were exactly seven more people who ended up running. Them's pretty good odds. In preparation, I took a look at the three top 2011 finishers in the 40-44 age bracket for women. They all finished in around 27 minutes. That would mean I'd need to do an average of nine minute miles. Something not entirely out of the realm of possible, but something that would need several weeks of training.
Alas, that training didn't quite happen. I did manage to get on the treadmill at work and run a couple of days a week and I did some speed work, running a few miles at the nine min/mile pace. I actually felt pretty good, but I knew going into the race that I probably wasn't going to come close to a finishing time of 27 minutes.
And I was right. First of all, despite my not really remembering this, Kent's campus is pretty hilly. It's not that hilly when you're walking to class. Though now that I think of it, the building the JMC used to be in is on top of a hill that I had to go to pretty much every day. Not sure how I could forget that. Anyway, running up hills is hard. The good news is you usually get to go down some too, so that helps. In fact, my first mile was just over 9 mins (9:05). I totally didn't realize I was running that fast or how I was able to run that fast. Unfortunately, it didn't hold for the second mile (10:15) though I made up for it a little bit in the third mile (9:35). I ran the last 2/10ths of a mile pretty fast and uphill that once I crossed the finish line I thought I was going to throw up.
In the end, I ran a 29:33 with a 9:31 pace. My fastest 5k time and on a hilly course no less. I didn't place in my age group, but I came in 7th. Even if I had run my goal of 9 min miles, I maybe would have placed third, because the first and second winners ran 24's and the third place ran just over 27 min by a couple of seconds. Still, not a bad goal for my next 5k on a flat course (pretty happy Chicago is so flat!).
As for my running partners: Mr. H. did place finishing 3rd place in his age group (35-39) running a 21:13, sister's boyfriend also medaled finishing 2nd in his age group (40-44) running a 21:45, and sister came ever so close to placing finishing 4th in her age group (35-39) running a 24:55.
Running stats for week ending April15
Fastest mile: 9:05
Training miles to date: 3.1