Monday, December 10, 2012

Jingle Bell 5k - Race Recap

(Sorry...I tend to get long winded in my race recaps!)

Yesterday I participated in the Jingle Bell 5k in Kankakee.  This run was a schwaggle deal in November and a bunch of my run group decided to do it for the fun and festivities (and of course, with the promise that we would go to breakfast afterwards).  I, of course, decided to jump in since it was only about $15 for the schwaggle deal.  

Initially I wasn’t planning on racing this 5k.  In fact, I didn’t think about it at all.  I just signed up to join my Frankfort/NewLenox Running Club since we always have so much fun together (seriously, so glad I met them last Christmas!) About 2 weeks ago, Kelly asked me if I wanted her to pace me for a 5k PR.  I told her that if she wanted to run for herself, I wouldn’t mind.  She simply said, “I’m asking you if you would like me to run with you to try to help you get a PR.”  She knows I’ve been itching to PR my 5k for 2 years now (since the 2010 Tinley Park Turkey Trot).  Last year I only did one 5k (the 2011 Tinley Park Turkey Trot) and didn’t PR and was HUGELY disappointed.  This year I ended up signing up for a bunch of 5k’s due to “peer pressure” by this new awesome run group and still always ended up short from a PR.  I can make excuses as to why I didn’t PR my 5k last year or the series of 5k’s this year but the main thing is…you have to work for it.  And for various reasons, I didn’t/couldn’t properly train for 5k’s (injuries, marathons, etc).  

Here is a list of my 5k times since last year:

PR: Nov. 2010 Tinley Park Turkey Trot - 27:55

Nov. 2011 Tinley Park Turkey Trot - 28:19
Feb. 2012 Cupid’s Chase – 29:05 (After this one, I resigned to not PR’ing my 5k this year)
June 2012 Jim Gibbon’s – 29:03 (it was about 90 degrees this day)
June 2012 Short Run on a Long Day – 30:09 (gun timed, also about 90+ degrees)
July 2012 Stars and Stripes in Tinley – 31:34 (seriously…it was 90+ degrees again and I felt like I was going to faint after finishing) 

**At this point, I was DONE with 5k’s due to the excessive heat this year!
 Nov. 2012 – Tinley Park Turkey Trot – 28:47 

As you can see, I was "5k happy" this year.  Not really happy but with the exception of the Cupid’s Chase, I ran them for “fun” with friends and they were mostly all local races.  The heat killed me this year and then it was serious marathon training so I let it go. Since my last Turkey Trot in November, I realized I need to “work” for a PR and started speed training.  

Yesterday’s 5k came after only 4 weeks of speed training and I wasn’t thinking about a PR initially because I didn’t feel ready.  But since Kelly offered to help me, I decided to not waste the opportunity of having some help with it.  

The week prior to the run, I actually got nervous about it.  I kept going through all the ways I could possibly “try” to get a PR… “Maybe if I start my mile 1 at 9:05, then work to a 9:00, the 8:55…  Maybe I could barely squeeze in this PR…barely!... Maybe!  I was not particularly confident but then Kelly told me that I could do more than I think I can do.  Seriously best advice ever!  Because really, I needed to stop stressing and just run my best.  I needed to push past my comfort zone (which I don’t like doing) and just run.  I had to believe I could do it.  And since my initial thought was not to try for a PR…it would just be icing on the cake if I got it. And really, no big deal if I didn’t. 

The day started out with cold and rain.  I was not happy but decided not to worry because it was only a 5k. 
Gloomy, rainy morning
We were fortunate enough to be able to wait inside in a gym since it was a small, local race.  Everything was organized and packet pickup went very smoothly.  We all had fun hanging out and checking out the fun outfits we all wore!  This was the first time I actually dressed up for a run (except the green sparkle skirt was worn for the Shamrock Shuffle earlier in the year).  I even got to take a photo with Santa!!

Some of the pre-run FNRC

Melanie, Becky, Me and Jill (L-R)
I decided to join in the spirit of a Christmas run

I forgot to tell Santa what I wanted for Christmas

My friend Don looks better in a skirt than I do!
Finally it was time to head to the start line.  Surprisingly enough, it stopped raining (only a very light mist).  The race was gun timed, which I’m not a fan of because I like an exact time but I only started 10 seconds late so it wasn’t a big deal.  About ¼ of a mile into the race, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to run fast anymore!”  But there was no way I was going to tell Kelly this!  She’d probably kick my ass.  So I just pushed along.  Part way through the first mile, Kelly told me her garmin was clocking us wrong and showing like a 12+ mile pace (she says 16 min pace in her recap…I don’t remember and it doesn’t matter really, lol).  Anyway, she was showing a wrong pace and I looked down at my watch.  She asked me what mine showed and I said, “Mine’s wrong too, it’s showing an 8:10 average pace”.  I thought I was running about an 8:50 pace and DEFINITELY not an 8:10 pace.  Sure enough, when we got to the first mile, I glanced at the time on my watch and it said 8:10.  Whoops…   And Kelly looked at me and nervously giggled and said, “Your watch was right. And I’m failing again as a pacer! 
We decided to bring it back the second mile a little so that I wouldn't completely burn out by the third mile since we had a little wiggle room.  Really, I was thinking more of a 9:00 pace but the second mile ended up being 8:43.  A friend was able to snap this sweet action shot just after mile 1.  

After mile 1
I was trying to take some nice even breathes to prevent getting a side cramp but I just felt like it sounded like heavy breathing (and everyone hates a really heavy breather! Lol).  I was getting a cramp in the side of my neck near my collar bone (which happens to me sometimes) but was able to push that out of my mind.  Also, Kelly was trying to have me expend the least amount of energy possible during the race and was trying to have me not weave too much and not talk at all.  Of course, she would tell me to not weave and then I would do the opposite, lol.  If I tried to mutter a short phrase, she “ssshhhh-ed” me (“Sssshhhh!!  No Talking!”).  I would giggle inside and just keep running.  

During the second mile, there was some “off road” course and I got a little nervous.  I wasn’t sure how much of this there would be and well…I didn’t want to trip because I was tired.  It wasn’t too bad though and a nice change.  There were also a few uphills (pretty minor but still)… and when I saw the first one, I groaned.  Kelly gave me some encouragement to get me up the hill and of course, I managed it fine.  It was also funny as we were near a kid and he saw us and kept sprinting ahead as he didn’t want us to pass him.  Kelly and I both chuckled at this.  I’m actually not sure if we ever did pass him.

Mile 3 came and I thought, “Just one more mile.”  I saw that my garmin clocked me at 8:43 for mile 2 and I thought that as long as I didn’t start walking like I wanted to, I would make my PR.  I was much more ahead than I ever thought I would be at this point.  Mile 3 was mostly ok…I knew I was almost done.  I saw my friend Jill and told her good job.  Then I looked at Kelly and made sure she wouldn’t yell at me for talking! Lol.  She would say some things to me over the course of the 3rd mile and I just stayed quiet.  I was just focusing on keeping running as good as I can.  

Kelly told me that I could set the pace for the 3rd mile and I just thought to myself that I wanted to run a nice even pace.  Kelly told me that she wanted me to start “picking off” people in front of me to have a goal during the last mile (and probably for some distraction).  I actually thought I really didn’t care to pick people off but since I wasn’t aloud to talk…well…  haha!  I just didn’t want to die and about mile 2.75, I had that slight feeling like I could throw up.  Huh…interesting feeling while running.  Never got to “puke speed” before (as Maggie dubbed it later).  Luckily I didn’t throw up and then we made the last turn for the final 0.1 stretch (thank god!).  Kelly told me to run as fast as I can to the finish, then looked at me and said, “Oh, you probably are!”  That made me smile and I decided to do what Kelly said and “tried” to pick it up as much as I could.  My last mile was 8:31 (and I knew from watching my garmin) that I did push it and speed up the last ¼ mile of the 3rd mile as my average pace decreased a few seconds.  My last 0.1 showed a 7:37 pace.  My final garmin time was 26:12…but my official race time is 26:22 for an average pace of about 8:30!  And I knocked 1:33 mins off my 5k PR!  Wow!  Maybe I am capable of more than I thought!

The course pace results from my garmin.  Does everyone that runs "fast" have a pace chart this uneven??  lol
When I was finished, I again had that "It would be nice to throw up" feeling but I managed to keep it at bay.  Everyone that had already finished congratulated me on my time!  I saw Jill finish close behind me and then waited for mostly all my other friends to finish before heading inside for some food.  

The race had a pretty nice spread of bananas, granola bars, cheese, chicken soup, pizza, hot chocolate!  I grabbed some granola bars and a slice of pizza and hot chocolate.  Delicious!  I knew we were going to breakfast afterwards but I really wanted that pizza and here is why...after the Illinois Marathon, I was told there was pizza.  But due to the 10k and half marathoners, when I got up there, they ran out of pizza!  I was so disappointed so THIS is why I wanted to eat this pizza! lol.  We hung around for the awards and several of my group got age group awards as well as my friend Susan winning 1st overall female! (Can she get any faster!).  Amanda won 1st in her age group, Maggie was 1st in her age group, Nicole won 2nd in her age group, Kate won 1st in her age group....  Way to represent F'N Runners!!  I came in 6th in my age group (which is Maggie's age group now that she had a birthday and is old like me ....just kidding Maggie!).  I'm pleased with 6th place since that's the best I've ever placed!  I checked later and it was out of about 36 females in my age group.  Not too shabby!

FNRC award winners (L-R: Kate, Maggie, Susan, Nicole, Amanda)

Post-Race FNRC

Kelly and I after the run.  Thanks again Kelly!!
All in all, I had a fabulous time!  The run was well organized.  The post run food was awesome!  Being able to wait inside was also a nice plus!  And I just had tons of fun with my fellow F'N Runners!  (Minus that whole running thing!)  No, really, I had fun then hindsight!  With my nice new 5k PR of 26:22!  Now THAT is going to be tough to beat!  But I like a challenge!!  :-)

Big thanks to Kelly for the running support!  And for everyone else that gave me encouragement and inspiration!  To say I was happy and excited yesterday would be a HUGE understatement!


  1. Congrats on the huge PR! If you run the exact same pace at a chip-timed race you should break your new PR by 10 seconds. Also, maybe you should always run 5ks in costume! :-)

  2. I love your "thoughts" commentary!! I told you that you can do more than you think! If you've never done speedwork before, it really is amazing how much a little bit goes a long way. 4 weeks is definitely enough time to do some good. I think that if you keep doing the speedwork, you will see your 5k times continue to drop. I'm not making it up, but speaking from actual experience! :)

    Congrats again on a great race and I don't know if I'm sorry I took you out too fast. You finished faster than you thought you could, and a push is sometimes all you need! :)

  3. WOO HOOOOO congrats on the PR! Now that you've hit puke speed and know how it feels, hopefully you can do it again ... and PR again! Usually I feel pukey for the last, oh, 2.5 miles of a 5K ... haha. Seriously. 5K's should only feel good after you are done. But they are over so quickly that it's OK to feel pukey for that short period of time.

  4. WOOH! way to go Amanda! You'll def beat your new PR next time. Mind over matter :)

  5. Anonymous12/10/2012

    Congrats again on your new PR!!! You rocked that race!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Well, this looks bad! I wanted to make an edit and that wasn't an option. :o)

  7. Really awesome! Congrats, Amanda! We are all super proud of you!

  8. Congrats!! That's an awesome PR! I think we are pace twins for most of our races!! :D

  9. Holy shizz, you blew that PR out of the water!! I am like you though, when I push myself hard, I feel the need to throw up - so crazy!!


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