Jason and I are back from our weekend in Door County. We headed north to run the Nicolet Bay 5K, part of the Door County Half Marathon event. We ran it last year, and this was our first race since last year’s event. However, I have been back outside running for the last two months.
My goal for Saturday was simple – beat last year’s time. I wanted to PR.
I have been feeling really good during the course of my training. I followed Hal Higdon’s 5K Novice training plan, which got me right back to running after the winter off. Right from the start, my natural pace was faster. When I stopped running in late fall, I was running at about a 10:30 pace. During training for this race, I was right around a 10:00 pace, often slipping under 10:00. I was pumped to run this race.
Weather-wise, Saturday did not look promising at first. We woke up to drizzle and a cold wind. Since we took a shuttle bus into the park (Peninsula State Park, our fave!), we had to be there early. We probably arrived at the runners concourse around 9:00am. The 5K didn’t start until 10:35am. So we kept ourselves moving to stay as warm as possible.
Fortunately, getting into the park so early and wanting to stay warm meant a long time to warm up my muscles. We walked the path along the bay a couple of times. On our last loop, the sun finally started to peek out. Yay!
When the race started, I spent the first half mile passing runner after runner. I kept my pace in check – actually, I was running quite a bit slower than usual – so I wasn’t wasting too much energy getting around people. I thought I had lost Jason early on, but he kept up with me as I weaved around other runners.
Once again, the one-mile mark seemed to take forever to reach. The race route goes up to the park’s nature center and hangs a right. At that point, it feels like you should be at one mile. But no. It’s only like half a mile at this point. Tricked us again.
Jason stuck with me until about the 1.25-mile mark. I glanced back just enough to see his tired, pained face. Jason had only run twice with me back in March, so he knew he wasn’t prepared for a complete 3.1-mile run. He didn’t walk for long, and only took two more walk breaks. He finished about three minutes behind me.
After Jason broke away, I approached the only hill on our route. I killed it on that hill! Without even trying, I blazed past two women who I had been keeping pace with. I had no idea where that energy came from.
The sun did come out just as the race started, and by the time I hit the two-mile mark, I was definitely heated up. I tried to space out my cooling strategy (if you could call it that). I waited until the one-mile mark to roll up my long sleeves. At the two-mile mark, I unzipped my half zip (don’t worry – I had another t-shirt layered underneath 😉 ). At the three-mile mark…there was nothing more I could do.
I really pushed myself in the final 1/3-mile. And once I saw the finish line, I gave it all I had. I just focused on the race clock at the finish line and ran. My race time – 30:33 (a 9:50 pace).
I battled the crowd to get at something to drink (not a crowd trying to get at drinks, but more of a spectator crowd – seriously people, get out of the way!) and headed off to our designated meeting spot. I felt like crap for about a minute. By the time I reached our tree and started stretching, I felt fine. Jason and I grabbed more to drink along with a snack – Peanut Butter Cookies with Reeses Pieces – got our results, and headed back to the hotel.
I achieved my goal. I bested my time from last year by 1:58. To celebrate, I got myself a little gift: a bracelet with a Door County 5K charm.
2012 Nicolet Bay 5K Results
- Time – 30:33
- Pace – 9:50
- Overall Place – 164/479
- Division Place (Female 30-34) – 15/51
- Female Place – 75/315