I guess you could say my training took an interesting twist this Spring.
With all of my races either getting canceled, or assuming virtual status, nothing was looking normal. COVID-19 may have wreaked havoc on my races, but I wasn’t going to let it dictate my (running) livelihood.
Thanks to the UN-Canceled Project, (promoted by Run The Edge), I fostered a new game plan.
While maintaining most of my spring race training (on the slight chance all things racing would resume), I took on the challenge of weekly 5K time trials (most were run on Mondays, after work). The 5K has been a bit of a nemesis for me, especially in recent years, so why not give it some attention?
My finish times haven't been terrible, but my pacing and "race" experience has been less than desirable on many occasion. I'm more of an endurance junkie, so speed does not come natural for me. I have often struggled with mastering that first mile. If I go too fast, I'll crash and burn long before the final mile. If I start out too conservatively, it's difficult to make up for that lost time before the finish line. After all, we're talking 3.1 miles here...there isn't a lot of fluff time to mess around with.
My goal with these 5K time trials wasn't to set a new PR each week (spoiler: there weren't any LOL). Instead, I was hoping to find that sweet tempo-ish pace....a pace that would be comfortably hard but wouldn't leave me totally tapped out when finished. A pace that my body would (hopefully) know how to assume without my having to rely on the Garmin. Yeah, I had my work cut out for me.
So, how did that work for me?
Here's a brief synopsis of the first six 5K's. More details can be found on the post, 6 Weeks of 5K Time Trials...a Few Reflections (HERE).
March 30 - Crushing Covid virtual 5K (26:38). Sunny day. Ran it with my friend, Barb. Things felt good.
April 6 - UN-Canceled Hope 5K (27:07). Cold day, with plenty of wind. The legs felt sluggish. Overall, a tough run.
April 13 - UN-Canceled Humor 5K (27:27). Cold day with crazy wind (18mph, with gusts of 25-30). It was all I could do to stay vertical, even the cross-wind and tailwind were ominous.
April 20 - UN-Canceled Inspiration 5K (27:16). Another windy run (only 14mph this week, though).
April 27 - UN-Canceled Courage 5K (27:10). My first really warm run! The heat came as a surprise, but at least the balmy breeze wasn't as tough to run against. I should have brought water...
May 4 - UN-Canceled Commitment 5K (26:57). Chilly temps (39F) and more wind. With rain in the forecast for later, I opted to run this over my lunch hour.
...and here's how the last six went:
May 11 - UN-Canceled Dreams 5K (26:29). Temps were comfortably cool (and windy...again), but this wound up being my best run yet! Everything clicked and my splits were oh-so-nice (8:48/8:38/8:15). If only that could happen every time, right?
May 18 - UN-Canceled Kindness 5K (27:35). If there ever was a race (or run) doomed before I even started, it would be this one. Frustrating last-minute crisis at work caused me to get home later than expected, the weather was damp and chilly, and my left hip was having some attitude. Everything felt awkward and off. All things considered, my finish time wasn't bad, but it took much more effort than it should have. I was ever-so-glad to have this run over and done.
May 29 - UN-Canceled Joy 5K (26:53). I wound up switching this to Friday, due to another 5K I ran in tribute on Memorial Day. Also, my body needed a few days of recovery time (there also had been a Murph workout on that Monday as well). This run felt absolutely fan-tabulous. The temps were mild (and the wind was almost MIA!), and this was my first 5K time trial in the early-morning hours. What's not to love?
June 2 - UN-Canceled Community 5K (27:24). After a busy weekend, with a long run and several hours of garden squats, my hammies were not feeling a Monday 5K. Instead, I laced up and ran it on Tuesday morning. Anyways, this run felt good, from the get-go. My finish time was a bit of a surprise...maybe it was the early hour (5:30) or the sudden warm temps (70F with 76% humidity)? Honestly, it didn't matter. This run echoed everything I love about summer running, so the finish time is irrelevant.
June 8 - UN-Canceled Perseverance 5K (27:54). This run felt much like the previous week's. Similar temps (warm and balmy), but everything felt great as I ran. Again, the finish time was a good minute "slower" than what it felt like, but oh well. Perseverance was spot-on for this week's theme...it totally reflected all the grit and determination I've had to summon, in recent weeks, to finish out these 12 weeks of 5K virtuals.
June 15 - UN-Canceled Life 5K (27:00). Finally, the day arrived for the grand finale, and everything felt quite grand indeed. The temps were moderate (upper 60F's) with a slight wind (of course LOL). Halfway into the first mile, I realized I'd forgotten my music, and I had to alter my usual route slightly due to some road repair. But, this run truly felt great and (dare I say) almost effortless. Ironically, the 27:00 finish time couldn't have been more appropriate for the occasion, since that's my "usual" 5K benchmark if I'm not all-out racing. Coincidence?
Can I just runfess that I'm so grateful to have this training cycle finished? As mentioned, the 5K has been a tough dragon to slay (at least for me). Taking on 12 weeks of this routine has left me tired, but quite satisfied as well. I believe in full disclosure (accountability LOL), so sharing my finish times kept things real...everyone could see my triumphs as well as my struggles and frustrations. That wasn't easy, either.
It was fun having the different weekly themes. In case you didn't catch it, I made it my job to match my outfit to the various colors of the themes each week (a party-pooper I am not).
Although I ran these all on the same route (with the exception of the last one, which had a couple of single city block detours), the weather was probably my biggest challenge. Thankfully, I didn't have any rain to battle, but there was wind-LOTS of wind- pretty much every week.
These 12 weeks, in many ways, felt like a marathon training cycle. The irony? This UN-Canceled Project series is ending just as my Air Force Marathon training was due to begin. Only, the marathon has been canceled (whomp whomp). Things could be worse, right? After all, I gained a lot of discipline these past 12 weeks, and (maybe?) a little speed. All is well.
So, what's next? I am looking forward to running sans Garmin for awhile. I love that little device, but it's not my gig to have it with me so often. And, I'm looking forward to doing some different speed work...bring on the Fartleks, intervals and hill repeats!
How do you feel about the 5K distance? Would you ever consider taking on several weeks of time trials? Have you come up with any clever training routines, in light of all the cancellations?
I was hoping you were going to do a summary of your 12 5ks!ReplyDelete
Well done, Kim, for having the discipline and stamina of not missing a single week!
It's a shame the Un-Cancelled Project didn't do an outfit competition - you would have won hands down! Loved how you did that.
ha ha...well, give me a theme and I will participate without abandon ;-) It was a fun challenge, but those last 3-4 weeks were getting kind "obligatory" LOLDelete
I love that you matched your outfits to the themes!! And well done. I could never do that - I didn't even like it when I was running about 3 miles in lockdown runs and brought them up to at least 4 miles most of the time. So I salute you. I've not been training as such, just running, and my speed I gained has slacked down again as I can now go running with other people (well, I choose to just go with one other each time) and we need to catch up with each other's lives, so have breath to talk!ReplyDelete
I was surprised I was able to do it...the 5K is not a fun distance for me. But, that's also what motivated me to keep at it...a sense of conquering that demon (sort of).Delete
You certainly earned that metal! I wonder what the average wind speed was for your races;-) I'm not racing every week, but my goal for the summer is to knock out a 5k and 10k every month, so really racing every other week. I don't think that any of us would have chosen the solo racing gig as our first choice but as a plan B it's a great way to see what we're made of.ReplyDelete
Seriously, the wind was ridiculous! It seemed like each week, Monday was the windy day LOL I have to say, though, that the wind didn't feel as fierce in the warmer weather.Delete
I love that you did this challenge! It makes me wish that I had signed up for the Un-Canceled series when it first started. I love that medal too! It's so cool and a great way to remember this crazy time!ReplyDelete
I thought the medal was a nice keepsake (and I felt guilty doing all of these races for free, so I felt it only right to buy the medal). I'm glad to move on to a different challenge now...Delete
I definitely admire your perseverance (which was indeed a good prompt!). I'd have to be in the right mindset to take that on, and right now I'm not so much about challenging myself. Just a little, once in a while.ReplyDelete
I look forward to see what you come up with next. And I did a partial fartlek today. :)
Come Monday (of next week), I will not know what to do...it will feel so weird to not be doing the 5K thing on the same "course."Delete
I enjoyed a few virtual races but I dont think I could have done as many as you! I dont even know how you remembered all those races! It definitely sounds like a good challenge though.ReplyDelete
Well, blogging about each different 5K each week certainly helped keep the details clear. Had it been any other spring, I can guarantee there would NOT be 12 consecutive weeks of 5K's occupying my time LOLDelete
When I first started running, I did lots of 5k's and was a much faster runner. Alas, 15 years later, 5K's are hard.It takes me a few miles to warm up. Like you, I often go out too fast in a 5K race. Nice job sticking with it for 12 weeks-very impresiveReplyDelete
When I do an actual race, I usually try to do an easy-paced 1-2 mile warm-up run (to get the kinks out). For these, I ran 1/2-mile to the "start line" (and a 1/2 mile back home (cool-down), but that's not really sufficient for racing. Then again, I didn't do these in full-on race mode...it was an interesting little challenge for me.Delete
I'm heading out to run my last UCP 10k this morning. Actually, I have 8 on the plan, so there you go. I bought the medal as well. Grateful for this challenge, which pushed me to get comfortable on those trails!ReplyDelete
The Challenge did a lot more, for many of us, than just weekly runs ;-)Delete
I'm so proud of your dedication during this time. Your runs have been consistent and you've been so busy! Good for you!!ReplyDelete
Thanks! It was a tough challenge at times, because the 5K is not just an easy 3.1 miles of pleasure seeking LOL I'm actually registered for a small 4th of July race...if the race holds, I'll be able to see if all these 5K's gave me a boost.Delete
Congratulations! I just completed the LIFE 5K today. I didn't have it in me to go for the longer distances, but a 5K every week was enough to keep me motivated through this hard time. I kind of regret not going all the way with the medal.ReplyDelete
I'm not really into bling from virtual races, but this was a different scenario, given the circumstances. I feel like I graduated from an institution of learning...Delete
What a fun project to focus on during the pandemic and props to you for sticking with 5ks for the entire 12 weeks! I'll bet it will feel SO good to change it up. I don't blame you one bit for wanting to leave Garmin behind for awhile.ReplyDelete
Looking back, 12 weeks really was a long time LOL I did get bored with my route, but I wanted to use the same route each week to keep things somewhat similar (of course, the weather certainly messed with my plan).Delete
And I still have yet to run one virtual race. Great job, consistent times in spite of the weather challenges.ReplyDelete
The wind was just insane! Even when the temps got warmer, the wind was STILL a factor. Oh well, if it was a real race, I'd have run it anyways, right?Delete
Great job, Kim! I am so proud of you for your dedication. I have enjoyed following along each week as you run each week a 5K. I don't like the distance for racing but I do like it for running.ReplyDelete
Thank you for linking up with us!
Bravo Kim! 12 weeks of 5Ks is no joke! Especially when for so many of them you were battling the wind!ReplyDelete