Historically, I’ve finished up my race season in November and don’t pick up any goal races until May. In between I like to do a lot of short races – mostly 5K’s – to try and keep my speed up over the off season. Here’s a recap on the handful I’ve done over the past few months, with my first goal race coming up this Sunday.
Endurance House Turkey Day 5K
This race was miserable. My brother and sister-in-law and I have started a tradition of turkey trots on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, if you recall, 2015’s Thanksgiving day was cold and snowy.
I somehow managed a 21:30, good enough for third female. I was ecstatic to be done and ready for a hot shower and some turkey!
Longmont Heartthrob 5K
A few days before Valentine’s, my sister-in-law asked me if I was planning on doing any races that weekend. I wasn’t, but was happy to look at the Colorado Runner schedule and see if there were any ones that stood out.
We ended up agreeing on the Longmont Heartthrob 5K, which started and finished at Sandstone Ranch Community Park. The day was forecasted as sunny and warm, but man were they wrong! Another race where I was freezing most of the time and absurdly happy that I left my winter gloves in my car!
I had run at this park before (for the Longmont Half Marathon) and knew there would be a surprise climb at some point. After circumventing the park, we headed down a steep descent and I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable. I found myself as lead female quite early on, but it was a smaller race and I just wanted to have fun.
Just before mile two came the ascent back up the hill, which, to add insult to injury, was not on the same paved road as the descent, but rather a muddy trail that zig-zagged its way up to the park again. I dug deep and tried to settle back into my pace once we got back to the park and finished up in 21:21, good for first female.
Polar Plunge 5K
I was pretty excited for this race, as it would be my first time repping the Runners Roost MUT Race Team singlet. Plus, our office had put together a team and we would not only be running the 5K, but we would also be doing the plunge into a 39 degree pool at the Denver Zoo to benefit Special Olympics Colorado.
The morning was very warm for February, already in the 70’s by race start at 11am. Off the gun I went out way too fast, I knew it by the end of the first mile. The second and third mile were simply hell, and I just held on for dear life.
I finished up in 21:50 (we started late, though), good for third female overall.
Here’s a link to more photos and videos on the Global website (including more Plunge videos!). Our team raised almost $1,000 for Special Olympics Colorado.
Erin Go Braugh 7.77K
I ran this race last year and knew that the course was deceiving. It starts and finishes at Broomfield Commons and runs a lollipop-style course along the Big Dry Creek trail. Comprising mostly of hard-packed dirt, the course is hardly ever flat. It undulates in short hills that never allow you to get comfortable with your pace.
I tried to go out conservatively but quickly found myself in hot water by the second mile. I was uncomfortable, couldn’t find a rhythm and short of breath. The remainder of the race was simply a fight to the finish, hoping for the best. I was almost a minute slower than the previous year’s race, but happy to have finished up as fourth female in 35:38.
Race for Autism – San Diego
This was one of those races where everything comes together. I had registered for the race just days before, knowing I’d be in San Diego for business and that I’d have time for the event, which was at Balboa Park just a couple of miles from my hotel. I told myself before the race, “Amanda, just have fun. You’re in a gorgeous setting with nothing to lose, so just enjoy the ride.”
When the gun went off and we surged past the start line I saw several ladies blast past me. I had one helluva time letting them go, but I did. That first mile was a comfy 7:10, just enjoying the views at Balboa Park, smiling at everyone, and realizing I had a bit more in the tank than I originally thought.
Between miles 1.5 and 2 I started passing ladies. I was feeling amazing and picking up the pace. By mile 2 I had caught the lead female and was feeling like I was flying. The course took us across this gorgeous bridge in the park and then turned into an out and back. I hit mile 2 in 6:36.
This race attracted a couple of thousand of people, so when we started back over the bridge, I was met by dozens of well-wishes and thumbs-ups. I felt like I was on cloud 9, channeling my inner Shalane or Kara, trying to relish in a moment that rarely happens – a moment during a race or run where you feel invincible, like nothing can stop you and you’re on top of the world.
I hit mile 3 in 6:30, with the last tenth of the 5K at 5:44 pace. I finished up the race in 20:48, good for 1st female. This is not a PR for me, nor is it the fastest time for a winning 5K, but if I could bottle up the way I felt during that race, I’d take that over a win or PR any day!
That does it for the off-season race recaps. I’m hoping to post a couple more blogs soon to highlight training and upcoming goal races – including my first on Sunday!