My BFF (who is also my BRF!) randomly texted me a week or two ago and said, “I got an email about this race – want to do it?” Meaning Patrick’s Pals 5k. Now, if you’ve been reading, you know I’m a planner and totally Type-A. However, I had nothing to do this Sunday, so what the heck? It was only about 20 minutes away in Bridgewater, NJ, at a park I had heard of but never been to. Plus, it sounded like it was a good cause! Why the heck not.
I turned Sunday into my week’s speed session, meaning I planned to run the 5k all out. My next race up is on Saturday, the Newport 10k, and I’d really like to run somewhere in the low 11’s for pace. I’ve been crushing my interval workouts all month, so I’m hoping that pays off. I wasn’t sure where I’d end up for this 5k, since I haven’t raced a 5k in quite a while (maybe last summer??). I was hoping under 11 minute miles at best. I knew that in my every day training, I’ve been averaging in the high 11’s, so at a harder effort (although that feels hard often too!!) thinking I could sneak in 10:50s or something like that.
The race was super easy to get to and there was a big parking lot and indoor park bathrooms. All super nice! A DJ was out on the band shell playing music, and it was a cool, somewhat cloudy, perfect running morning. They had a kids 50 yard dash first, then a 1 mile walk, all of which ended before the 5k began at 10:45. The 5k was a pretty late start and there wasn’t much shade for 2 of the 3 miles of the course, so if it had been hot and sunny, it would have been tough!
The crowd was teeny tiny! I haven’t run a race this small in what seems like forever. Even the other local races that I run have gotten to the point that they have what seems like 300-400 people at them. This seemed more like 100 – 150 ballpark. I would have been super nervous if this was longer than a 5k, but at the 5k distance I am totally okay with a tiny race. It wasn’t even chip timed – straight up ripping off the bottoms of your bib and onto a spike like the old days 🙂
The race began without much fanfare – someone must’ve just said GO! Or something like that because I didn’t even hear it. The course was on a paved path around the park, the first mile through a pretty open field, then along the canal into a lightly wooded area for the second mile (still paved), then back over that first mile backwards for the 3rd. It was nice and flat. I didn’t love the whole “repeating the first mile backwards” thing, but it was just a 5k and at least it was flat.
I didn’t look at my watch until after mile 2 buzzed, but they did have kids with stopwatches telling times at miles 1 and 2 so I knew I was moving pretty well – I crossed mile 2 at 20:something. That is damn near flying for me! Then I started to glance at my watch occasionally, because I was starting to feel tired, but also knew my paces were in the 10’s and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the last mile of a 5k (on a day with good weather and well-rested legs) swallow me whole.
The last quarter mile was definitely hard (note my pain face above), but I was happy to come in at 32:30, with an average pace of 10:21.
AND my splits were actually pretty even too! I felt like I went out the first mile fast, because I was breathing pretty hard from the get-go, but I guess if I could sustain that for 3 miles (which I did), then that is the effort that I should be giving all of the time, right?
Needless to say, I’m really happy with these times! The conditions were ideal, and it was a flat course, so those were all in my favor. I think my glittery unicorn tank helped me to exemplify the be awesome attitude cause when I was done, I sure felt it.
This was a really cute, well executed small town race. They had awards and whatnot after, and the park was a nice place for families to just hang out and relax post-race as well. I’m happy my BFF race-pressured me into it 🙂
Next up, Newport 10k, another nice flat course. Hopefully the weather will be just as ideal!!! Need something to throw on your schedule next weekend? Consider Newport – I’m biased, since I’m a blog partner, but it is a quick course, has great post-race giveaways, and is affordably priced.
PS- I loved seeing all of the NJ Marathon and Half posts this weekend! It made me somewhat sad I wasn’t running it this year, since it is definitely one of my favorite halves of all time. Congrats to all of you who ran!!