I went back and forth for the longest time on this race. Do I run the 5k so I can directly compare my race to last year’s? Or do I run the new 10k since it’s the first year they are doing it?
I finally made my decision sometime in July. I had started to believe that I wasn’t going to meet my sub-30 goal in August’s race, so I went ahead and signed up for the 5k as a backup race. Of course, then I did get sub-30 in Smyrna, so…
It worked out all for the best. My cousin Gillian emailed me a few weeks later and said she was thinking about training for the 5k, her first ever. Yay, a race buddy!
I had no real goals for this race. I wanted to be faster than last year (35:15), but other than that, I just planned on running by feel. I definitely didn’t plan to do another sub-30, since my ankle was still gimpy, and I was doing a running streak.
I had spent the night at my parents’ house in Clarksville, so I got up at 6am to get ready and tape up my ankle. I arrived at the race location a little after 7am and parked. I met up with Gillian and we took the shuttle over to the start line. After checking a bag, I was ready.
Gillian and I before the start.
It was a little chilly before the start, but the sun promised to come out. It turned out to be great running weather: in the low 50s with the sun peeking through. I wore shorts and a tank, but a lot of people were dressed for cold-weather running. I wondered if they got hot.
The race started promptly (my Garmin data says exactly 8am) after the national anthem and a prayer.
Mile 1: 10:17
Gillian and I started together and placed ourselves around the middle of the crowd. It was pretty congested starting out, so there was a bit of weaving around people and not being able to run the pace that you wanted to. Her shoe came untied right before the end of the first mile, and she told me to go on without her.
Mile 2: 9:34
Once most of the congestion cleared out, I settled into a good pace. I still had to weave around some people, as a lot of the race path is very narrow and it’s hard to get around someone slower. Mile two starts you on an out-and-back portion where the lane is split between those headed in and those headed back, so sometimes you have to weave into the other lane and dodge those runners to get around people.
Mile 3: 9:12
Knowing I was on the last mile, I started to push it a bit. However, I knew the only incline of the race was right at the end and that I needed to save something for that. A quick glance at my watch when I was about a half mile away from the finish told me I was going to come in really close to 30 minutes. I had been running by feel and not looking at my watch until then. I started to push a little more.
Final 0.1 (0.13 to my Garmin): 1:04 (8:05 pace)
I pushed with absolutely everything that I had to get across that finish line. It was another I-think-I’m-going-to-throw-up finish. (And the closest I’ve come to actually doing so. There was some dry heaving.)
This is what an 8 minute pace looks like.
Official Time: 30:05
So close to sub-30 again! But I’m happy with this time, especially considering my ankle. And you know I ❤ negative splits.
Gillian did fantastic! She ran her very first 5k in 31:19, 11th in her age group! Much better than my first.
Go Commando is always a well put-together race. I like that they provide shorts as an option, instead of a shirt, although this year’s shorts are exactly the same as last year’s, except blue instead of black. If I run it again, I might opt for the shirt.
The post-race food is always amazing. This year we had mini muffins, candy bars, pizza, sandwiches, some delicious cake bars with chocolate chips, bananas (of course), Nesquik (Thin Mint flavored!), and coffee.
My only complaint is about the congestion at the beginning. The race is starting to get big (I think they had a record 2000 people this year between all three races), so they might want to think about putting up some pace flags at the start to help people figure out where they need to be. I don’t think it’s big enough to warrant actual corrals with a staggered start, but just some direction would make it better.
Here you can see my quarter mile splits. Notice the first half mile was much slower than the rest, due to the congestion. After that, I settled into a very consistent pace, until I started to push on the last mile!
Could I have come in sub-30 again if the beginning of the race had been faster? Maybe. I don’t know. I wasn’t planning on pushing that hard. Overall, I’m very happy with my performance.
Age Group (30-34 F): 8 out of 52
Overall: 120 out of 488