I ran my first race, the Caldwell-West Caldwell Run for Education 5K, since The New Jersey Half Marathon this past weekend. It was the perfect race to help me rebound from the half marathon and get back into a few months of shorter races.
The Caldwell-West Caldwell Run for Education 5K starts at James Caldwell High School which is right up the road from my house. If you could ever have a “home” course for a race, this is it for me. I run parts or all of this route on most of my training runs. I feel like I know it inside and out and could do it with my eyes close. I think it is a good thing but a bad thing as well. With knowing where the tough areas are, I think it can mess with you mentally. However, knowing that exact thing can help you. I knew once I hit a certain point, it would be a fast course back to the finish.
I ran this race two years ago. This was the third year for it. Two years ago, it was and still is the fastest 5K I have run. I finished in 24:46 for a pace of 7:59. It’s the only race I’ve broken 8 minutes so far. Going into the race, I realized this would probably be the first repeat race I’ve run where I wouldn’t be beating all of the previous results. I was OK with it as long as I ran the best I could. When I ran that race in 2015, I was focusing on 5Ks. Having just come off of training for the half marathon, I was training more for that and not the speed for a 5K.
The last 5K I ran was in March and I ran it at an 8:20 pace. I thought I had an outside shot of a PR but I knew this race was a lot tougher due to it being half uphill.
I decided the night before I was just going to attack it as fast as I could out of the gate. If I ran out of gas, so be it. I figured it was time to test out a new strategy and I was just going to have fun no matter what. Knowing I was running in this race with other friends also made it more enjoyable and the perfect first race after the half marathon.
I attacked the first mile which was all uphill. I ended up running about a minute or so more than I normally run it while training. I was happy and knew it could be a good run but I still had to get through two hills on mile 2. Oddly, my mouth went dry within the first 1/4 mile. I had hydrated plenty, I don’t know if it was nerves or something, just odd. It ended up going away though.
I hit Grover Cleveland Park and caught my breath but kept my pace going. I identified a few runners ahead of me that were keeping a great pace and stayed with them. A couple of runners passed me in the park but I knew with the two hills coming up, it wasn’t a big deal I wasn’t running any slower.
I battled through the two hills and picked it up. I’ve noticed that I have been pretty strong on hills during races as that is where I pass runners. I don’t really pass many runners on flat areas, but hills I do.
Finally, I hit the return downhill. I knew this was the time to kick it in high gear and just go. Let the course help me. I was totally breathing heavy so I knew I was pushing it. My legs felt good and I was trying not to look at my watch too much as I just wanted to enjoy it.
Finally, the last quarter mile I looked for my family and didn’t see them. I hit the final turn for the last few hundred feet and there they were cheering on. My daughter was with a couple of her friends too. It was so cute and I pointed and smiled as I crossed the line. I saw the time on the clock and was really happy with my run.
Time – 25:15.3
Pace – 8:07
Overall Finish – 83 out of 456
AG Finish – 6
I knew I beat the 5K time in March. I couldn’t remember what I ran in 2015 but I knew it was 24 something, so I hadn’t hit that. I was happy though. I knew it was a good time and I have breaking 8 in my sight again.
When I got home, I figured out this was actually the second fastest 5K I’ve ever run. That really made me feel good. I was very proud of my run and the effort I gave.
Looking forward to running this race again next year. It benefits my kids school system, so it’s a great cause. Hopefully, more people will run it next year.Loading Likes...