Saturday morning was the 2013 Dog-N-Jog 5K race, and Tara’s second running race! I woke up around 6am to feed Tara and make myself breakfast so we would have plenty of time for our 9am start. I needed to get to the start line around 8am to deliver something, so we left the house around 7:50. I picked up my race packet when we got there, got situated with my race bib, chatted with a few friends, and went for a short walk to work out some of Tara’s and my nerves.
I have a confession to make.
I’ve never really “warmed-up” for a race. I usually run longer distances than the 5K and in the past I never felt that my endurance was good enough to warrant an extra mile or so before beginning my race! In my training runs, though, I’ve noticed that it usually takes me about a mile to get really warmed-up and into a rhythm for a good run, so I decided to try it for the 5K. Around 8:40am, we set off for an easy warm-up mile. Curtis didn’t race on Saturday, but he joined Tara and me for our warm-up. We ran just under a mile (0.89) at a 10:34 pace, and got back about 10 minutes before the start.
Tara and I were both pretty jittery and ready to go, but we stood and talked to some friends (doggy and human). Just before the gun, we lined up near the back of the corral and braced ourselves for the start. Just like last year, there was incredible energy at the start. The dogs were ready and raring to go and when the gun started, after a short collective hop, everyone started moving forward. The initial forward movement seemed a little slow compared to last year, but that was probably because everyone was trying to get over the timing mats, as this race was chip-timed for the first time.
As soon as we got through the chute, Tara started moving and picking off runners. We made our way through the pack pretty quickly by going around runners in the grass. The field opened up a lot by 1/4 of a mile into the race, and we were cruising. I checked my watch and realized I was on a much faster pace than I anticipated. I have never beaten 9 minute miles in a race, and I was on pace for a bit faster. I considered slowing, but felt great and decided to keep up the pace as much as possible. Tara was running strong and still wanted to overtake the runners. We passed a number of people and only got passed by one guy with a dog right at the end of mile 1.
Curtis joined us for a short bit of the race to run us into the finish area. I still felt strong, so I think I probably still have more to give with these shorter distances.
We kept pushing the pace as much as possible till we came to the home stretch where we sprinted as much as we could through the finish chute. Our final time was 26:58 (8:41 minute/mile pace!!!!), which is a PR by about a minute and a half. I finished 8th female (out of 91) and 17th overall (out of 132).
This was the strongest I have ever felt running a race, so it seems that my winter training has been paying off! It might be time to pick up the speed in my training to keep improving in this area. I felt like I was stagnant and destined to run consistent 10 minute miles forever, but I’m finally getting faster!
I was really proud of Tara’s and my efforts today, we both started strong and ended strong and she was very well-behaved. I can’t wait to do this run again next year and maybe even PR again!