Friday, June 7, 2013

China Grove 5k HUGE PR!

Win and run fast (sub 17:10)

3.3 miles warmup
5k in 16:36(!!!!!!!!) in 5:18, 5:23, 5:23, :33, 1st place Female, 5th Overall, $250, Results
Course Record
Road PR by 25 seconds (formerly 17:01)
Just 7 Seconds off my college track PR (16:29)
3.5 miles total for ~10 miles

If you've never been to the China Grove 5k, it is an event you must do.  Unlike most Charlotte "night" races, which aren't truly in the dark, China Grove hosts a race that is quite literally in the dark of the night at 9PM.  The post-race food is definitely something to boast about as they never run out of Pizza Hut pizza, watermelon, bananas and unlimited bottles of water.  I'm pretty sure that the allure of this race also comes from the fact that the course is flat and fast, featuring a nice out and back course that has a few small inclines that won't really affect your time.  It also helps that Vac and Dash puts this race on because I'm pretty sure all of their races are just badass.

At this race, every year it is typical for summer storms dwell in the distance, with lightning cascading harmlessly across the sky, far away in the distance.  This year was no different, except the storms were even closer and more of an imminent threat.  To give you an idea of just how close that lightning was, as David and I were warming up, we seemed to be running straight into a lightning storm.  One bolt of lightning appeared above us, which resulted in the natural response from me to simultaneously jump, scream, and grab onto David's arm in a panic.  I knew at that moment that if there was lightning during the race, that I would not be able to prevent this panicked response from occurring even while I raced!

Fortunately, the lightning and rain only kept on for about thirty minutes, forcing only a fifteen minute delay on the 9PM start of the race.  We hung out in a very expansive and fancy Fire Station during the wait.  I sat around and did some dynamic stretching until they announced that the race was indeed still on.  Thank god for that message because I really felt ready for the race at that point and knew it was going to be a special night.  By the time we made it to the start line, there was only a light drizzle, which actually felt quite refreshing on the skin.  The race director didn't make us wait too long and after one false start, the bull horn finally went off to signal the (real) start of the race.

I got off the line without any incidents and settled into a nice, relaxed rhythm.  I wasn't wearing a Garmin and really just wanted to run a smart race using my own pacing powers and competitive spirit.  After the first 800m, the competition had already thinned out considerably, but I was able to keep picking off several guys.  By the time I came through the mile in 5:18, there were really only 4 other guys for me to pass before making it to David Willis, so I focused on them to catch.  After the mile, I passed two of my four targets, and continued rolling on what felt like a great pace.  By the turnaround point, I had caught the last two guys and we ran together until just past the 2 mile point (10:40), in which there was a slight downhill that I really tried to push hard on to break my goal.  I really knew that I had enough time to break 17, but I wanted to make the most of every single change in terrain that could help me be even faster.  With just under a half mile to go, I was able to make a move on both of the guys and hold them off through the finish line.  They really helped push me to break 16:40, so I was really grateful for their company!  As I crossed the finish line, I did something that I rarely do, by lifting up my arms in celebration.  I was celebrating the time even more so than the victory because this is something that I have been chasing for over two years.  It was nice to finally see all my hard work pay off with a huge PR.

I'm definitely thrilled with this race and it shows that I'm doing something right with my training right now as I don't really have a coach. I hope it translates to a good half in just two weeks!!!!!  I feel like I need to run another 5k to validate that I'm truly a sub-17:00 5k girl now.

The race start.  I'm in the middle with a purple top
The race start - I'm in the middle, to the left of the line
Finished - 16:36
Two Records were Broken - Fam in 14:19 and mine in 16:36
David was close to a PR in 16:06!


Anonymous said...

Good job on the PR!

Dave Munger said...

Congrats on a great race. If you can do that in those conditions, you can do a lot more!

mfranks said...

Nice run, Caitlin!

Martin- said...

Thanks for coming to the race in China Grove. Rowan Runners love when runners from Charlotte come to town. Make plans to run Winter Flight 8K in January. It is the state 8K championship. It is usually the last Saturday of the month. Molly needs some competition as she has won it the last 2 years. If you want to get in a long run after the race, the running club can help with that so you get a great workout and race.

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