Sweet Pea 5K recap

As promised, here’s the recap of the 5K PR I ran a few weeks ago. My old PR of 28:11 was from almost 4 years ago, so this should be “easy”. Except the “running hard for 27ish minutes” part.

The Sweet Pea is an annual local race that starts and finishes downtown on Main Street. There’s a 10K as well as a 5K, with the 10K race starting 10 minutes before the 5K. Since it’s August, I was a bit concerned that it would be too warm for me despite the early (7:25) start time. But a cold front came through just in time to bring us 50-degree race weather. The only downside was that it also ramped up my allergies.

I left home relatively early, anticipating parking chaos; but actually there were plenty of open spots. I had more than enough time to find a bathroom and do a full warmup. Like, a warmup that even included running, which I don’t think I’ve ever done prior to a race before. I watched the 10K runners take off while I finished my warmup, then wandered towards the 5K start.

Mile 1

I’m sure I started off too fast, but I settled into what felt like a maintainable pace within a minute or so. We turned off Main Street to a side street after about a quarter mile, then from the street to a paved path that turns into a gravel trail. I run this path/trail often, and it’s a very slight uphill that I can’t really feel but I always notice a slight slowdown when I run intervals here. I thought the race day adrenaline might negate the hill effect, but no such luck. It was also still crowded by the time we got to trail. I felt like I kept getting stuck behind people who were going slightly slower than I wanted, but not slow enough that I could comfortably speed up and pass.

We passed the 1-mile marker shortly before the end of the trail. 9:01 – juuust barely PR pace. But I knew it was uphill, and the downhill was coming up.

Different run, but same trail.

Mile 2

We turned from the trail to the road, then made 4 or 5 more turns during this mile. I was starting to feel tired, plus we had moved from the shaded trail to a sunny area. It still wasn’t warm by any means, but the difference was noticeable. I don’t remember much about this mile except that we turned onto the street that goes downhill to Main shortly before the mile marker and I started to pick up the pace a little.

9:00 – still just barely hanging on to a PR.

We ran by this park, not through it. (Also from a different day.)

Mile 3+0.1

This is probably my favorite street in town – it’s a wide street lined with huge trees and Victorian houses. And did I mention it’s downhill? I was able to hold my increased pace without too much trouble, even though I was also starting to feel the allergies more. I was momentarily demoralized about halfway through this mile when 3 guys blew by the rest of us like we were standing still. How are they doing that? Oh, duh, they’re the 10K winners.

Shortly before the 3-mile marker we turned back on to Main Street. I tried to pick up the pace again, but only managed a little faster. In retrospect, I think I tried to speed up too soon. There’s about a quarter mile left after the turn, which is too far to sprint! It didn’t matter though – I had picked up the pace plenty during the last mile.

Mile 3 8:15, last 0.1 41 seconds (7:50 pace).

Official finish time: 27:07. (This doesn’t compute with my mile splits because there’s only a timing mat at the finish and I didn’t start my watch right when the race started.)

Post-race thoughts

Almost as soon as I finished the race, I thought I could have gone faster. (I think this after almost every road race, which is why trail running good for me.) It’s a reasonable assumption, though; I only trained for this race for 4 weeks. I ran the first half pretty conservatively because my “peak” workout was 4x800m at race pace, and I wasn’t confident that I could sustain that pace for more than 2 miles. In the final stretch, I felt like I was pushing harder but somehow not moving any faster. I don’t know if that’s because I had truly run as hard as I could for the first 3 miles, or if my legs were dead because they’re not used to running that hard for that long, or if my allergies caught up to me. Or some combination. I usually have a good finishing kick, but that’s the only part of my race that didn’t go well today.

What I’m saying is, this PR was set to be broken. But honestly, where’s the fun in finishing a race and thinking “that was my absolute limit, there’s no way I will ever run faster than that”?


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24 Comment

  1. Way to go!! I honestly have no idea what my 5K PR is because I tend to run 5Ks with non-runner friends and just want to enjoy the experience with them. One of these days, I’ll have to sign up to really race one and see what happens.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Yes! 5Ks are so fun to race. Just when it starts really hurting, it’s over.

  2. I agree! After every PR I usually say, “I’m good with this PR for a while” and then start thinking down the road that I could go faster. My 10k PR HURT when I ran it so I said I was ok if that was the fastest I got…but then I signed up for another one in January to run even faster. Oy vey.
    Montana @ Pretty Lil Mudder recently posted…Space Coast Marathon Training Week 3 & 4: 7/29-8/11My Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      It was too cold when I ran my 10K PR for me to notice if it hurt!

  3. Congrats on a well run race!

    I dunno, most races I feel I’ve given it my all. 🙂 But yes, so far, there often is more . . . I absolutely love a downhill finish. Who am I kidding? I just love downhills!

    It’s a nice feeling to feel you could’ve gone faster. PR’ing a 5k just eludes me. Which is kind of funny, because I don’t think endurance is my strong suit!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I think I always hold back a little because I don’t want to crash and burn at the end (done that before too).

  4. Laurie says: Reply

    Congrats on the PR! Way to go!! The race sounds like a good one. I think 5k is my favorite distance.
    Laurie recently posted…A Billion Stars Held SteadyMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thanks! It is a nice course.

  5. I often burn myself out with bad pacing on a 5k. Nice job on that PR of over a minute.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I have done that too! And now I feel like I held back too much. The pacing is hard to figure out for sure.

  6. I can do relate
    I think that is my 5k PR too, I’ve set at a local race 4 years ago. I’ve been trying to break it but ya know…age! Congrats to you. That’s awesome. Oh and I love the name of this race! -M

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thanks! I’ve really only actually raced a couple 5Ks…so I feel like there should be more there.

  7. High-5!!!!! For so long (after I started doing half marathons) I shunned the 5K’s because they were just “short races.” It’s only in recent years that I have a new respect for them…they may be short (in comparison to the 13.1’s that I adore), but they are essentially a “long sprint.” I finish most 5K’s feeling like I still have gas remaining in the tank, which translates to STILL not quite having figured out how to pace myself (without burning out too soon) or holding back for too long (when I should be gunning it). Alas, running (and racing) keeps me most humble 😉 Great job on your PR!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I haven’t quite figured out the pacing either. Thank you!

  8. Farrah says: Reply

    Congrats on your PR! I like your attitude on that–I’ve never run an official 5K before so not too sure on what mine would be, but I like the idea of always improving!

    1. Hannah says: Reply


  9. Congrats on your PR! I have a love and hate relationship with 5Ks. 🙂

    1. Hannah says: Reply


  10. Nice job! I will likely never PR the 5K again – I like long distances too much and don’t focus on faster paces.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thanks! I’m trying to balance speed with long trail runs now – it’s tricky.

  11. Well done on the PR! I love the name of this race.
    Patrick@looneyforfood.com recently posted…Back to School Meals you can Make Ahead of TimeMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thank you!

  12. Way to go on the PR! I love that you’re always setting the next goal.
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recent Things: A Very Shocking WeekMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply


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