My Second 5K Bombed

It’s been almost a year since I ran my first 5K. That one was such an ego boost, I think I was almost afraid to run another, for fear that I wouldn’t be able to improve upon that one.

The funny thing was, I didn’t do a single thing to train for that — except run semi-regularly for a year or two. I had no strategy, but I ran it in 29.03.91.

My goal was to get it under 30.

For the past year, I have worked out with a personal trainer (TRX and weight lifting) and I have been running fairly regularly — usually 3-4 miles 2-4 times a week. I time myself and have learned more about pacing, but I still run about a 10 minute mile on a good day. I haven’t really been able to increase my pace, but I know I wasn’t habitually running a 9-minute mile before that last one so I hoped that the adrenaline of another race would help get me to my new goal — anything under 29 minutes would have made me sing and dance in the streets.

When I saw the Bringing Hope Home STOMPS CANCER 5K, I immediately decided to run it. I am all for stomping cancer, and I thought it would be fun to run in downtown West Chester.

I created a PSMM team, and 5 of my friends joined me, which made it super fun.

I’ve been timing myself and trying to push myself to get stronger and faster. I really wanted to finish this race under 29 minutes.

There were a few unknowns with this race — the most significant one being that it was an evening race. I always, always run in the mornings. And my first (and only) 5K was a morning race. There is a theory that you are warmed up and can run faster in the evening, and I hoped that would be the case for me.

We arrived early and registered. Here we are, all pumped up and ready to go!

psmm 5k

I debated and decided to run in my Nike Frees rather than my Vibrams, although I brought both. I was afraid of tripping and I’ve had some nagging plantar fasciitis that my trainer thinks might be due to the lack of support in the Vibrams so she advised me to run in the Nikes. I am much more comfortable running in the Vibrams, but I was afraid of not having enough support… it was a toss up, but I’d totally do it differently if I could go back and do it again.

I used my Jogger app to keep track of my time. It isn’t a fancy Garmin that tells me my pace every step of the way, but it does let me know every mile how I’m doing. I tried to pace myself and not run too fast to start.

I ran the first mile in about 9.40. I had been warned not to run the first one faster than 10 minutes, but it is hard to pace yourself, and I thought I was doing okay.

I crossed the half-way mark and it clocked me at 14.40. I was thrilled. I was right on the mark! I kept plugging along.

At the second mile, my Jogger app announced my time at 19.30 (or thereabouts.) If I could bang out a 9-minute mile for the third, then I’d be good to go!

I started passing people and was trying to pump it out for mile three. I thought I was right on target. I was getting tired, but I kept up my pace (or so I thought.)

When I turned the last corner and started down the home stretch, the friendly voice on my Jogger app spoke to me.

Three miles. Thirty minutes, 20 seconds.


I looked at the hill ahead of me, and I could see the clock at the finish line. I could barely make out the numbers 3-0. I knew then that I’d blown it.

The hill was steep, and I was tired and felt I had no reason to push myself at that point. I stopped and walked for a few seconds, but vanity got the better of me so I ran the last few yards and crossed the finish line. I wasn’t even sure what my final time was, but I didn’t much care.

Then the rest of the gang came pouring in. It was SO much fun running a race with friends, and even though I was disappointed with my personal performance, I enjoyed the camaraderie, and I was proud of Steph for running through her knee pain and for Heather for running her first ever 5K after just starting training a few weeks ago.

As for me . . . it was a long ride home. The kid were bickering in the backseat, and I was disappointed in my performance. Once home, my legs and feet hurt and I couldn’t seem to relax. I’ve never run in the evening, and I can’t say this experience made me a fan.

I’ve been thinking about the race ever since. Was it the evening race? Was it the shoes? Am I just destined to run this pace forever, and that’s all there is too it?

I know that my pace is nothing to be ashamed of. I get that. I am so grateful that I am healthy and strong and fit and that I can run.

So very grateful.

When the race started, after we heard from the founder of Bringing Hope Home — a man who  lost his young wife to cancer — I thought of the two young mom friends I have lost to cancer this summer, and I dedicated that race to them. I know how blessed I am just to be here.

And yet, I admit that this has really put a damper on my enthusiasm for running. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t at least match my first pace — a year later, after working out consistently for most of that time. I came home feeling like quitting running forever.

I know I won’t, but I had to have a little pity party before getting my head back in the game.

Robin threw out the idea of a redemption race, and I’m tempted. I think I need to run another race right away and {hopefully} get my confidence back.

I can tell you this much. The next race I run — if there’s a next one — will not be in the evening. And I’ll be wearing Vibrams.

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16 thoughts on “My Second 5K Bombed

  1. Great job! I always tell myself when I dont do as good as I wanted, “I’m doing more then those sitting at home!” I ran a 4.2 mile race today and couldn’t run the whole thing (major hills at the beginning!), but I finished. 🙂

  2. When you run, are you simply running or are you doing running exercises to improve your times? Something I learned in Run Club is that you have to train to be faster – sometimes running a SLOW 5K every 2 weeks allows your heart to train Anaerobically – also running sprints will get your long distance time down.

    1. No, I am not training to run. My training sessions are strictly strength training, although my trainer is a marathon runner and has given me advice. She told me not to run the first mile any faster than 10 min, and I really tried to pace myself, but it was more like 9.30 so that could be part of the problem. I guess if I am serious about getting faster, I need to focus on training for running, huh?

  3. My second marathon was more than an HOUR slower than my second…talk about depressing…yet I’m back out there for Goofy this year (although I’m doing that just to finish, not for a specific time…NOBODY does Goofy for time, lol). Don’t let it get you down forever…some days we have good days; some bad…it’s the nature of the sport, and if you haven’t been training specifically to run, then you can’t expect to be faster, b/c that is a really good time for a first timer!

    Strength training is going to make you stronger overall, but not necessarily help your running speed. My husband is a cycling coach, and rides probably 200 miles/week, on average, and can go ride a century without training, yet if he goes out and runs 5 miles, he can barely walk the next day. It’s bizarre…the man has some of the best legs I’ve ever seen, and is in excellent cardiovascular shape, yet I can run the same distance and not feel a thing. If only I could beat him, lol…

    And different things contribute to it, too…have you ever run the course before…that can make a difference from running your normal course, or on a treadmill…hello, hill at the end?! You are probably right on the time of day, too…I never run at night…ever…and I know that if I did, I would be so tired from the day that I probably wouldn’t do very well.

    Congrats on finishing your second 5K!

  4. Jo Lynne- Great effort. Hang in there and please don’t be discouraged. It is frustrating, but this was just 1 race on 1 night. Happy to give lots of running training advice to you but I can tell you that as someone who has run 100’s of races – sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. Good days and bad days are totally part of it – just like on a regular run. Somedays you feel great and other days from the start you know it’s just not a good day. Forgetting the training advice that might make a difference – and race strategy for your pace too – just on any given day anything can happen. Plus every course is different. So run a few more and I am sure you will break that 29 minute goal – I will help you do it if you want – let’s sign up for a 5K together. I’d love to run one with you! We can do a practice run together and then do a race to get you to your goal. And this would get me running more too! xoxo

    1. Somehow your comment went to spam. I rarely check, but I’m glad I did! I would love to run together. I definitely need to try to do some longer distances. I rarely run more than 4. Maybe if I get to doing 4 and 5 regularly, the 5K won’t be so hard.

  5. I really can’t offer anything. I actually went on an unplanned run yesterday, at 4:00 in the afternoon, and ran 6 miles in 61 minutes. That was not my usual running time. And it was pouring rain. But I started my run with an attitude of just get out there and start and see what you have. Maybe that made a difference. And as I said in my email, I have made huge changes in what I eat. I would assume you are getting that kind of stuff from your trainer too, but maybe it is time to change things up. Keep running!

    1. Yeah, I think I’m too easy on myself and I just haven’t improved much this year. Which sucks, but, I guess it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t see your email. I’d love to know more about what you’re eating!

  6. I would not consider this race a “fail” by any means! It is par for the course with running races. Some races u hit your goal time, sometimes you don’t. 5k is also a tough distance in that since it so short, you don’t have enough time to correct yourself if one mile took a little longer than the rest. I really think with running, you train to run(especially to be faster or for longer distances). You rocked it girl! Be proud of yourself!!

    1. Thanks, Julie. I know there are a lot of factors and I need to give myself a break. Maybe my expectations weren’t realistic. I guess I need to get more intentional about training for running if I want to keep improving on my time.

  7. Just be glad that you got out there and did it! I’m thankful that you got me out there to do it! Like others have said, at the end if the day, you finished and helped to raise money for a really worthy cause. Don’t beat yourself up over the time – you beat me! 🙂

    When are we doing it again?

    1. I am actually looking at some coming up in the next few weeks. I want to do another one soon, otherwise I fear I will start procrastinating and never do another one again, lol.

  8. You absolutely did not bomb the race! And, I’m so glad that so many of us showed up.

    What I’ve noticed works for me for improving my pace during the week is weight training for my legs. Specifically, I’ve been working the hips and butt. I haven’t done much for my calves, just the hip and butt. Maybe that would help?

    Are you used to running up and down hills? I think there were 2 up hills and 3 down hills each lap around. I run slower going up hill. I did a trail run with lots of hills on Sunday, and averaged 10:58 minute miles.

    Now that I’m doing 3 mile runs, I’m building a longer run into my weekly mileage. I use the longer runs to build strength (hills), endurance (5 miles flat can seem like an eternity…), and for the mental game.

  9. You did not bomb the race!! If I agree to you bombing, then I totally bombed since I was behind you! I look at the average mile time over the actual time… I ran a 10:10 which is faster than I usually do so I was happy even if it wasn’t under 30. And wasn’t yours still under a 10 minute mile? That sounds pretty good!

    And you’ll get the next one if it’s really important to you! I’m actually really motivated this week but more about length than time… I really am thinking about a half. Crazy I know. Will see if I get the balls to actually register or do it but I’d love to run longer distances.

    You did awesome! Like I said, you were my Joneses’ so keep it up!

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