Happy New Year! This morning I kicked of 2016 by running the First On the First 5K. This race is run in a suburb of Columbus with the start/finish line at the community center. It was cold and windy this morning so being able to keep warm inside of the community center was nice & that is also where they had the post-race drinks and snacks. The race didn’t start until 11 which is a little late for me, but understandable considering it’s New Year’s Day.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this since I’ve never raced a 5K before. I knew it would be a good way to figure out where to start with my half marathon training and give me an official 5K pace to work with when doing speed work. I did a short warm up jog with my friend Tony before lining up for the start.
The first mile of the course took us down a straight away which was nice for getting into pace, but it was also directly into the wind. I clocked in my first mile at 7:22 and knew I needed to slow down a little because it wasn’t practical that I’d be able to hang onto that pace. During mile 2 I started thinking about how much I’m not a fan of short distance running. I really like having the first two miles of a race to get warmed up. My chest started to feel tight during mile 2, but I figured it was a short race so I’d be finished soon. I had thought about using my inhaler before I left that morning, but I haven’t been having issues in the past week so I wasn’t concerned. Mile two rang in at 7:36 which was closer to where I felt comfortable. During mile 3 I ended up having to stop for a few seconds to catch my breath and once I got going again I was fine. Unfortunately that stop cost me a few seconds and my third mile was a 7:49. My last .10 was a 7:01 pace for an overall time of 23:37.
When I was nearing the finish line, I heard someone yell my name and looked over to see my friend Cory who took this awesome picture. Don’t let the smile fool you, I was just happy to see Cory! I chatted with him a bit and was ready to go inside and get some tacos (the post-race treat!), but I was coughing/wheezing still so instead I headed home to use my inhaler.
At first I was a little disappointed in how it went, but I had to remind myself that I spent 2015 training for distance and not speed. As much as I want to say I’ll never do a 5K again, I actually am tentatively doing one in February (it will come down to the weather). At that point I’ll be 8 weeks into training with 6 weeks of speed work under my belt so it will be a good time to see if I’ve progressed at all.
This is the first year I’ve done a race on New Year’s Day and it was a fun way start 2016. I’d recommend this race to anyone looking for a smaller 5K that still has the bells & whistles of a larger race. It was also a family-oriented race with runners and walkers of all ages for a very relaxed and non-intimating atmosphere.