Hey everyone, Assistant Coach Amy here. Today I’m writing about how my 5 kilometer races have improved over the past 5 months, with the help of Coach Anissa’s guidance.
Leading up to Run Scream Run, a Halloween themed 5k at Wiard’s Orchard in Ypsilanti, I followed an 8-week training plan that I found online. The beginner program was pretty good for me, and as this was my first 5k, I was just happy to have something to follow. I nervously showed up to the race super early, watching other runners warm up and admiring the plethora of Halloween costumes. When it was finally time to start, I was a cold bundle of nerves. I took off way faster than I should have and just set a goal to survive! I almost walked at one point, but managed to stay focused on running. In the end, I squeaked in under 25 minutes with a time of 24:59.9. I was thrilled with this time and started looking forward to the next race.
I talked to Anissa about my program and what kind of progress she thought I could make in a month — I wanted to prepare for a Turkey Trot in November. She excitedly told me that if I incorporated some speedwork into my week and increase my running to 4 days per week (up from 2-3), I might be able to get down to 22:xx. I was skeptical but went with her suggestions.
5 weeks later, I dragged my husband and baby to another race. This time it was like 12 degrees outside and we were all freezing. Luckily, there was a heated brick building at the park so we were able to stay warm before the race. My strategy this time was to go as fast as I could for the first mile and then try to maintain that for as long as possible. And not die. It was HARD. I got off to a fast start, stayed with the 22-minute pacer (there were pacers!) for the first half of the race, and then ran into some difficulties. The route was hard for observers to access, so it ended up being pretty and peaceful on the back half of the course. This was nice, but I was really relying on the pep of people with cowbells and smiling faces. With freezing hands, I waved to the photographer and smiled (and my face was so cold that I wasn’t actually sure if it looked like I smiled), and got a pretty good picture. I finished this race with a time of 23:42. I shaved off more than a minute in only a month of training!
I planned on running another race in December, but ended up with travel plans and family visits that interfered. So, my next holiday themed race happened in March 2018, at the Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5k. Again, my preparation for this race included a lot of guidance and support from Anissa! Starting in January, we upped my training to 5 days per week, including speedwork, weights, and injury prevention exercises.
I have really got to plan ahead with the costumes — there were tons of people dressed up at this race! I knew it was going to be a tough course with a long hill and several shorter hills. Even so, I was hoping for a new PB. Luckily, I like to work hard on a hill, so I was able to pass a lot of people who might have been more psyched out by the hills. I pushed myself so hard throughout the race that I didn’t have anything left in the tank for a kick at the end. The end was the end for me. I finished in 22:52, which ended up being 1st in my age group (what!!).
I’m amazed and excited with my progress over these past 5 months!