Mardi Gras Chaser 5k Race Recap

I will try not to make this a long one. It was only a 5k, afterall.

In late January, Coach and I were emailing/texting about my race schedule for the spring. He said he wanted me to do a 5k “in the next month.” Races in Chicago in February are certainly not abundant, but I found the Mardi Gras Chaser 5k/10k that was put on by Back on My Feet on Saturday, February 21st. The weekend was open and the race was very close to home so I tucked the thought away and decided to keep an eye on the weather. As the date got closer, the weather looked very reasonable {for Chicago in February}, so Coach and I decided to give it a go.

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When I picked up my packet from Fleet Feet on Thursday, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the race was chip timed and by the looks of the course map, that it should be an accurate 5k distance. (These are the two issues that have resulted in my “official” 5k PR dating back to 2012.)

So, yes, by the comment above, you can assume that I was hoping to PR this race. I wasn’t sure where my fitness was but I was really thinking that I could be close to where my two unofficial times were at about 20:30. 

The race didn’t start until 10:15, so I slept in, ate breakfast and headed up to Montrose Harbor around 9:15. I quickly found a parking spot close the start and headed out to warm-up. The plan was to run 2-3 miles plus some drills and 7-8 strides. It wasn’t crazy cold…mid-20’s and very low wind, but Coach’s primary concern was that I was completely warm before the race.

For maybe the first time ever, I timed my warm-up perfectly to finish everything, change into my racing flats and be standing at the start line in the cold for less than 5 minutes. I did a quick survey of the people around me and noticed a few really fit women that I thought would take it out fast. The winning time for this race last year was 20:55. The winner this year would get a pair of Mizunos and a Fleet Feet gift certificate, so I was hoping to that no really fast women would show up again this year!

When the announcer said go, I took off and tried to settle in. As usual, I started too fast and looked down to see 6:15-6:20 in the first quarter mile. About 4-5 women took off in front of me at that pace, but I pulled back to settle into my plan of around 6:40ish.

I felt smooth and controlled and passed all but one of the women in the first mile and crossed the mile sign at 6:38. Perfect.

Unfortunately I hadn’t even reached 1.5 miles when it started to get hard. Now, I know 5k’s are supposed to hurt, but usually I prefer to get through mile 2 before the suffering sets in. Around mile 1.4 I heard my name and saw Jenny running toward me on the path. Talking was difficult but I managed to grunt out that I was hurting WAAAAY too much this early. She (of course) said just the right thing and told me I looked smooth and to keep it controlled. I was starting to feel like things were really falling apart so that was exactly what I needed to hear.

After the turnaround at halfway, things got worse. My pace was slipping, I was struggling and I crossed mile 2 at 6:42. I knew from then on that the best I could do was to just hold on. For the first half of mile 3, my Garmin said my pace was 7:xx, but with about 0.5 miles left, a guy (who I had warmed up right next to) slowly passed me and I tried to hold on to his pace. Slowly I was able work back down and hit mile 3 at 6:48. 

I gave it all I had into the finish at about 6:10 avg. and crossed in 20:44, a mere 2 second PR and 2nd place female. (First place was a smoking 19:07!!)

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Gotta love a free race photo. And an “OMG I almost died” 5k face.

After finishing, I met Jenny back by my car and we finished up 45 minutes together to make for 12 miles and 1:30 total on the day.

I am a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to negative split and run closer to 20:30, but I will give myself a little credit that running in the cold (even if 25 degrees doesn’t feel that cold) is harder than running in warmer temps. But I also have had the feeling in tempos lately that my ability to run “fast” for longer than 400’s or 800’s is just not quite there right now. This race really just confirms that. I have plenty of time and lots of work to do in the “Spring of Speed” before it is all said and done, so let the temps warm-up and bring on the work!

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, training, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Mardi Gras Chaser 5k Race Recap

  1. Congrats!! Suffering is definitely part of the 5k pace!! Sounds like you rallied and killed it!!

  2. Congrats on the PR and the 2nd place win!!!

  3. erin says:

    Super speedy! A PR and 2nd – congrats!

  4. A PR is a PR!! Celebrate it and the fact that you didn’t give up when the going got tough earlier than you expected. And hello, podium finish!! Congrats!! xoxo

  5. Congrats on 2nd place & the PR! I had a similar experience with 5Ks in 2013-2014. My unofficial PR when I hit 3.1 in spring of 2013 in a slightly long race was something like 20:42, but I didn’t get my official time under that until November of last year. Irritating.
    But racing short & fast in cold weather is HARD. Great job hanging in there when the going got tough.

  6. susanruns says:

    Congrats on the PR! 5ks hurt sooooo good, right? I’m pretty sure I have plenty of post-cross country races with faces like your finish line picture. Something along the lines of “I can’t believe that just happened” mixed with “Thank goodness that’s over.”

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  8. elizabeth says:

    boom! finally catching up on blogs. nice work- i’ve decided getting PRs the faster you get is HARD. especially in a 5k- so nice work. you will kill the half in may.

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