When I ran cross-country in high school, the 5K (3.1 miles) was the standard event at each meet. Back then I was typically in the back of the pack and I peaked at 25:42 for my personal best time. Since then I’ve run tons of speedier races at varying distances, but I just haven’t had many opportunities to race 5Ks. As a result, my PR has been 24:56 (8:02/mile pace) since 2007.
When I heard that the Prospect Park Track Club was hosting a bi-weekly summer speed series consisting of seven 5Ks for only $25, I signed up immediately. It didn’t take much convincing to get several running friends on board as well.
I came into the first race of the series planning to set the bar low since it was just four days after the Brooklyn Half Marathon. However, I didn’t think a small PR was a lofty goal since I know I’m in much better shape now than when I ran that 24:56 back when I was a college sophomore. Plus, I usually run the Prospect Park loop at least four days a week, so I knew exactly what to expect. I loved that this course started at the base of the giant hill that leads up to Grand Army Plaza. This meant the toughest part of the race was fueled by pure adrenaline, and I still had plenty of energy left to conquer the rest of the course. The stopwatch on my Garmin didn’t start for some reason, but I was still able to keep an eye on my pace, which alternated between 6:40 (!) and 7:30 during the race. I was pleasantly surprised to finish in 23:30, shattering my PR by almost 90 seconds. I also finished third in the 25-29 age group!
My initial goal for this series was to break 22 minutes by the end of the summer, but depending on how the next few rounds turn out, I might aim for below 21 instead. I also think it would be awesome to take second or maybe even first in my age group at one of the races. Stay tuned…