After finishing the Broad Street Run on May 3rd I was on top of the world. I had survived the crowds, I accomplished my time goals, and I felt like I gave the race my very best effort. What I was NOT feeling was the urge to race again anytime soon. I’m sure that this is a fairly normal reaction after the exertion of a 10 mile race, but it was an unusual feeling for me. Leading up to Broad Street I had been a total racing junkie, eagerly participating in ten 5Ks, and two 10Ks since the first of the year. For me not to feel excited for my next race was very strange.
I felt tired, sluggish, slow, and achy in the days following Broad Street and did not feel any more excited about racing as the next week passed me by. Now, normally when you don’t want to race the solution is simple – just don’t sign up for a race!! – but unfortunately for me, I had already signed up for two races in the same weekend two weeks after Broad Street. I wasn’t feeling very confident about these races, but I was determined to show up and try my best!
Still smiling after Race #2 of the weekend (probably because there’s BEER!)
Race #1 – Rocky Run 5K Trail Run – Friday, May 15th
My first race post-Broad Street was the Rocky Run YMCA’s 5K trail race in Media, PA. This was my second year running this race. Fatigue and soreness aside, I was MUCH more prepared for a trail race this year than I had been at this time last year. I’ve been doing lots of trail running (including running on the very trails where the race was taking place) and I’ve already run 3 trail races this year. With this in mind I went into the race feeling calm (but not exactly pumped) and interested to see what I would do compared to last year’s time.
The race began promptly at 6:30PM and I set off with 90 other 5K-ers, being careful not to go out too quickly. Matt and Piper cheered me on from the parking lot just before the course turned down into the woods behind the Y. The course was modified slightly from last year, with a new surprise uphill in the first mile and then a super-steep, eroded, single-track downhill almost immediately afterwards. This is my least favorite type of downhill because I work so hard to stay upright that I feel like I don’t get any time for recovery. Oh well!
The course continued downhill to the turnaround point where I realized with great surprise that I was currently the first place woman! I knew that I had a mile and a half of uphill ahead of me so was a little concerned about holding onto my spot, but tried to stay strong and mentally positive as I ran back towards the Y.
With a half mile to go I climbed a steep hill and emerged out of the woods at the bottom of yet another hill in the Y’s sprawling parking lot. Before the race I had imagined myself feeling renewed strength at this spot, a combination of being back on paved ground and knowing that the finish was close, but in reality by the time I hit this point I was totally drained. I shuffled up the hill as Matt cheered and encouraged me to finish strong. I had just turned into the final loop leading to the finish line when a woman zipped by me looking strong, happy, and downright perky. I huffed out “Good job.” as she streaked by and she kindly told me I was doing a good job too. By the time I panted across the finish line in second place I was completely and utterly spent. The photo below says it all… this is EXACTLY how I was feeling at the finish!!
Although I wasn’t impressed with how I ended the race, overall I was very happy with my time and second place finish. I completed the race in 26:50 which was 50 seconds faster than last year!! The course was also a little harder this year with that extra up-down in the first mile so this improvement was definitely encouraging.
Race #2 – Run for Victory 5K – Sunday, May 17th
Less than 48 hours after the trail race, I pinned on my bib for the Victory 5K in Downingtown, PA. Last year’s Victory 5K was a total breakout race for me. After a spring of 5Ks this is the race where I finally went sub-25, blowing away my old PR by almost a minute with a 24:17 finish. I knew that I didn’t have another PR performance in me this year, but I was hoping to at least match last year’s time on the fast, flat course.
Unfortunately Sunday was not my day. I struggled through the race and barely squeaked through the finish under 25:00… my slowest road 5K since before last year’s Victory Run. Eek! I’ve (over) analyzed my performance in the weeks following Victory and here’s what went wrong:
- First and foremost, I was tired. I had just raced on Friday and was still feeling sluggish from Broad Street 2 weeks before.
- I had little motivation. I had just PR’d the 5K less than a month before at the Haverford Twilight Run so I felt ZERO need to even daydream about earning a new PR at Victory. I think this translated into me deciding beforehand that I didn’t need to show up with my A game. (But I don’t know if I could have even if I had wanted to… see #1!)
- It was HOT!!! May 17th seemed to be the first really humid day of the year. Victory’s 1PM start time put us squarely in the direct sun and heat of the day. Blech.
- I was burned out. Although I hate to admit it, after 14 races in 2015 I was completely burned out on May 17th.
I’ve been “streaking” since July 1, 2013. During all of these months with no rest days I have sometimes felt tired or sick or sore, but I have never felt truly burned out. Not until 1:25PM on May 17, 2015. It felt terrible. My body wasn’t running fast and my brain no longer cared. I got in line for my free post-race beer and agreed with Matt that it was time to take some time off from racing. (But not to end the streak… gotta keep that going!!) 🙂
That’s the super-long beer line behind us.
So… not racing is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past month! I have continued to go to my Tuesday night track workouts, but beyond that have mostly been satisfied with slow runs (sometimes with Piper
towing me), hikes, and miles on the elliptical. I’ve gradually seen my times pick up on Tuesdays but the heat and humidity has been awful this spring and I’ve mostly continued to feel hot and slow.
Hopefully the last month will pay off and give me the mental and physical strength to break out of my burned-out funk tonight. Oh yeah… did I mention that in 2 hours I’ll be lining up for my first race post-Victory? It’s still really hot and humid out (even hotter than Victory, actually) and I’m still not sure that tonight’s the night for a PR, but I’m excited to give the Media 5 Mile Race my best shot! Wish me luck!!!
Miles since last post: 180.4
Days since last post: 40
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.83
2015 MILES: 798.6
• May ’15: Broad Street 10 Mile Run (5/3), Rocky Run Trail 5K (5/15), Victory 5K (5/17)
• April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11), Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26)
• March ’15: Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21), Pickle Run #3 (3/28)
• February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7), Pickle Trail Run #2 (2/21)
• January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
• December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
• November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1) [PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
• October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
• September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township 5K (9/27)
• August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [PR]
• July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
• June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
• May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
• April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/, Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
• March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
• February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
• January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
• December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [PR]
• November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
• October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [PR]
• September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
• The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)