MarathonMaiden's Blog

September 20, 2010

I Made It

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 08:04

First of all: thanks to all the heartfelt congrats and wicked nice thing y’all said yesterday.  Maybe it was the endorphins but I smiled and laughed on all of them and teared up on some as well!  You guys are so supportive and nice!  You totally know how to make a girl feel good too 🙂

And now what you’ve been waiting for!

I really wish this song had gotten bigger than it did.  Because I am still a fan.  A huge fan. Like I’m smiling big watching this and listened to it the entire time I wrote this post.  Or I could still be on a high from the race  😀

So by now you’ve probably already seen my quickie update from yesterday where I said my watch time was 20:01.94. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a fantastic time.  But I just had my eyes on something bigger — or faster as the case may be.

Which according to my


official time I did hit it. Thank you very much 🙂

I was 206/5977 and 23/1974 in my division (Women’s Open 34 and under)

For those of you who are not as mathematically inclined as I that is top 3.4% overall and top 1.2% division.

Yes I’ve been smiling ever since they posted it.

Now let’s back up.

Pre-Race (I always take forever to set up the actual race hahah!)

The morning started by me waking up on my own and to a really pleasant morning: the temp at the start was probably mid-to-upper 60s and the sun was SHINING bright.  1115 start time + living in a small city = no early wake up calls.  I got to eat a leisurely breakfast and do some work.  Since I had been so scared (not totally terrified but more than a little nervous) I set about the apartment doing some research stuff for some things that I’m planning in the future (which — tangent — might just be the BEST thing about not being in school).  I basically was trying to make the day as “normal” as possible.

If only because I had two schools of thought on how the race was going to go.  Despite anxiety dreams on both Friday and Saturday night, in which people were telling me that I’d fail, that I couldn’t run well etc., I did think I had a shot at doing really well.  Some of you had thrown around the sub-20.  I’m not going to lie and say that it wasn’t something that I disregarded as out of this world.  But, like most races, I thought it was either going to go REALLY well or REALLY poorly.

I warmed up for about 3.5 miles.  Maybe a bit much but I really didn’t feel my legs “click” until I started doing my strides around mile 2.5.  After a mile of that, which was on the last mile of the course, I made my way to the starting line.  I was happy I chose to run on the course but it definitely brought back memories of how hilly Providence is.  AKA the final quarter mile was uphill.  And not just a gentle uphill: like UPHILL.  But at least now the fact that it was there was fresh in my mind.

Since I registered the day before and NOT online I was a really high bib number.  And since this is such a large race they put people in corrals according to said bib number.   I remembered from last year that bib numbers correlated to the approximate time you say you’ll finish when you fill out the online application.  Since I was shooting for a fast race I headed toward the front of the pack.  One good thing about this being a big race is that, the closer it got to gun time, the less people were checking bib numbers.  So I did get up closer to the front.

After about 5 minutes of a wait (while an announcer introduced famous runners that were there — like Joan Benoit Samuelson, Sarah Hall and Molly Huddle who is a local and the 2010 winner and I think the announcer said the current 5k American record holder? I guess this race is a big deal?!) the gun went off.

The bad thing about big races is that the start always is awful.  I felt stifled and ended up running on the outside of the pack which, when you take turns into account, probably added some distance to my race. But here’s the splittage breakdown (according to my watch) and some commentary from what I can remember during the race


Mile 1: 6:33

Not bad at all when you consider all the weaving I had to do.  I never found a rhythm because there were too many runners around! Normally this wouldn’t annoy me (because I’m a longer distance gal and there’s plenty of time to make up that stuff there) but in a 5k I need all the advantages I can get.  I do remember thinking, as I passed the mile marker, gahhh there’s still 2 more?! And then a few moments later holy #$%@! It’s really 2.1 miles more!

Mile 2: 6:25

This was probably the most painful mile.  It was the fastest but I think it was tough because from about mile 1.5 to 2.5 I was picking it up then slowing it down then picking it up.  My mind wandered A LOT during this mile too.  I was thinking about anything and everything.  Some race related but mostly not. Which is weird that it ended up being my fastest split.

Mile 3: 6:31

I got to see some cute middle/high school girls dressed in bumblebee costumes somewhere during this mile.  It lifted me a little (especially since I had passed them during my warmup and they cheered for me then!) From mile 2 to 3 I kept thinking about how I had run this portion of the race during the warm-up and kept thinking that the end had to be near. But in a 5k, and at this point in a 5k, it’s not.

My legs definitely threatened to shut down but the thought of passing other runners (another perk to a big race!) kept me going.  I could actually feel my legs being sore.  I guess this is a good sign that I was running fast because I’ve never gotten this feeling in a race before.

last .1: 0:33 (5:30 pace?!)

I hit mile 3 with my watch saying 19:29.  I freaking took off.  I wanted that sub-20 sooooooooooooo badly at this point.  The harder I pushed the more I thought my legs were going to collapse and I honestly thought I was in danger of vomiting right there on the race course!  I didn’t of course but I’m not going to lie: it could have happened.

CVS Caremark Downtown 5k: 20:01.94 (according to my watch) which is a 6:27 pace. And according to official results I ran a 19:59 which is a 6:26 pace

Post Race:

After the race I remember wanting to puke.  Like I know I joke about it but I think this is the first time it was actually in danger of happening.  I walked and got some water and then somehow I ended at the end of the racing area.  I’m not going to say I blacked out (because I never have and I think if I had I would have ended up in the medical tent. Another good thing about big races is that there are tons of medical people around so I’m sure if anything serious had gone down I’d have been in good hands) but I don’t really have a recollection of the 10-15 minutes after I crossed the finish line. I do know that I ate a banana and a package of trail mix as evidenced by the trash I held in my hand.

Then I headed home and waited in agony for official race results to be posted.  Agony.

Overall Thoughts

My plan to go out hard and hold it (which actually I stole from Lacey who is my coach and running partner in crime here!) worked.  I went out hard and didn’t falter (although I really don’t run 5k races so to me the paces being all within an 8 second range seems good. Yes?).  Yes I wish I had gone out harder or at least not felt like I was doing the whole slow-down-speed-up routine in the middle.  Especially since I was able to kick that last .1 miles at such a blistering pace! And considering the speed session I had been doing were around that pace.

As far as my official time is concerned I spent the large majority of Sunday trying to convince myself that running a 20:01.94 was good and okay.  Once I saw my official time I was literally screaming and jumping all around my lovely apartment.  Crazy? Maybe.  But it just felt SO GOOD!

Whew.  That was long and since I ran it by myself I don’t have any pictures.  And by now I’ve probably posted all my racing pictures in the past! Whoops.  I know I love pictures in posts so I feel bad.  Hopefully my racing made up for it?! 😛

But this is a picture of the area where the course is.  Which was really nice, despite being uphill at the end.

Thanks google images

And, I think that I should say that this race is incredibly well organized and if you’re ever in the area next fall you should check out this race.  I ran this race last year as my debut 5k and if I made it my second 5k ever then you know if must be good. Plus, since CVS is the sponsor, the stuff they give in the race packet bags is really nice — and actually useful.  I got a toothbrush, face wash, almonds and trail mix, allergy tablets, sunscreen and air foam inserts just to name a few. And a hideous orange technical shirt.  It’s actually more burnt-sienna, but hey, I shouldn’t have gotten a technical t-shirt as I registered race day (those were reserved for the first 5,000 racers).  The non-tech ones were a nice red.  Oh well.

Moral of this post (because I got sidetracked in the last paragraph):

Clearly I am a faster runner than I give myself credit for. And it might still take a while to get used to changing my mindset.  Butttttt This is exciting. The Tufts 10k is MINE 😀


  1. CONGRATS KARYN!!!!! definitely took the race by storm. you really executed extremely well. your history/experience + your work ethic/training all combine for fireworks 🙂 i’m not surprised at all and i’m so happy for you!!! keep up the great work. you are riding the wave 🙂

    AND- i can’t believe that with your time you didn’t win something! RIDICulous. there must have been crazy fast on the edge of elite runners in the race?!?! your next race should be smaller cuz you’ll totally win it 🙂

    Comment by Lacey — September 20, 2010 @ 08:14

    • Yeah. This 5k is a national championship so the field was HARDCORE. I would have won the BC one if we had done it hahahah

      Comment by marathonmaiden — September 20, 2010 @ 10:29


    Comment by Matt — September 20, 2010 @ 08:38

  3. Congratulations! I think it’s true that not only are you a faster runner than you think you are, you are also improving all the time. You are going to to do a great job at Tufts!

    Comment by Chelsea — September 20, 2010 @ 08:45

  4. Under 20… sigh. I’m very impressed! And so happy for you! Daaaammmmmnnnnn….

    Comment by Amy @ Second City Randomness — September 20, 2010 @ 08:53

  5. Awesome job, way to get in under that 20:00 you wanted, every second counts, and way to push it hard at the end!

    Comment by Stephanie — September 20, 2010 @ 08:58

  6. You broke 20 minutes …. amazing! You’re so fast … I’m jealous!

    Comment by Jaime — September 20, 2010 @ 09:31

  7. WOW!! Congrats…that is huge.

    Comment by Laura — September 20, 2010 @ 09:38

  8. WOOHOOOO!!!! You are SOOOOO BA!!!! Congrats, girl!!

    Comment by Jill — September 20, 2010 @ 09:49

  9. Great report!! I want you to do specific speed training soooo badly it is not even funny. You will astonish yourself. Also, that 5K is gigantic – I didn’t know you were running in the national championship race, ha! Usually 19:59 would at least get an age group award.

    Comment by sarah — September 20, 2010 @ 09:56

    • I soooo would do specific speed training. If I knew what that entailed! I have some printed stuff from online but I never know how much to trust that I pull of the web. Suggestions?! (I think you have my email? If that makes it easier to send stuff! I also want to pick your brain!)

      Comment by marathonmaiden — September 20, 2010 @ 10:30

  10. Yay! I loved reading your report! Not too many people can bang out a fast 15K and then a fast 5K only weeks later! You = badass = my hero! 🙂

    Comment by tmart — September 20, 2010 @ 10:56

  11. !!!!

    I just let out a big squeak at your official time. HOORAY for official times, seriously! Sub-20 club!! 🙂

    Comment by sweatykid — September 20, 2010 @ 11:18

  12. yay!! that is amazing – you must feel supa fantastic today (yet a little sore!) 🙂 Congrats man. I didn’t know this was the race you were running either – huge field! Sub-20 is very BAMF.

    Comment by Kelly — September 20, 2010 @ 11:34

  13. Ahhh I had a feeling you’d done it! Well done!! You are one speedy lady! 😀

    Comment by Laura — September 20, 2010 @ 12:00

  14. Congratulations! This is amazing but I am really not surprised – you are so dedicated to everything you do that I knew it was only a matter of time!

    Comment by Ameena — September 20, 2010 @ 12:25

  15. You are sooo fast! I KNOW I would have blacked out after that.


    Comment by shelly — September 20, 2010 @ 13:00

  16. There was this very interesting article years ago that this post reminded me of…unskilled people tended to be WAY overconfident of their abilities, and those that are actually capable sometimes UNDERestimate their abilities.
    I just re-googled it and found this:
    SO! morale of the story. You have a LOT of evidence showing how capable you are. BELIEVE it! And extend your running success into your life vision right now. STOP PLANNING and enjoy today.

    Comment by specialkphd — September 20, 2010 @ 13:47

  17. That’s a huge 5k! Two seconds makes such a difference…congrats again!

    Comment by Jess — September 20, 2010 @ 15:10

    • I have never been more thankful for 2 seconds in my life!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — September 20, 2010 @ 18:03

  18. WOW WOW WOW! Super-fast and awesome! Congratulations on a great race!

    Comment by Kim — September 20, 2010 @ 16:28

  19. WOW you are having breakthroughs all over the place!! HUGE HUGE congrats on the sub-20!!! especially in such a massive race..i didn’t realize it was so humongous! that’s totally crazy, you should run some local races b/c you will be raking in the AG awards with times like that 🙂 major props to you for dealing with the crowds and completely rockin’ it!

    i also second what sarah said…i think you could go sub-19 without a doubt with some 5K specific training 🙂 WTG again, you are awesome! and you are going to kick some major booty at the tufts 10k!

    Comment by hurdlingham — September 20, 2010 @ 16:49

    • The funny thing is that I consider this a local race! But I know what you mean, I wish there was more time between now and Tufts to do some winning 🙂 Aaaaaaaand sub-19?! You are far too kind. But I like it: new goal 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — September 20, 2010 @ 18:04

  20. Even more awesome! What a nice surprise from the official race results 🙂

    Comment by Lindsay — September 20, 2010 @ 17:13

  21. Congrats!! Sub 20 is awesome! I could only dream of doing that, teach me your skills

    Comment by BostonRunner — September 20, 2010 @ 18:22

  22. HOLY SPEEDSTER – are you kidding me? you are on fire right now 🙂

    Comment by aron — September 20, 2010 @ 18:27

  23. hot dang, lady! you are one speedy runner!
    you will own that 10k. own it!

    Comment by emily — September 20, 2010 @ 20:13

  24. Um yes you are speedy!!!!
    Below 20, so amazing, congrats!

    Comment by Kelly — September 20, 2010 @ 21:11

  25. congrats! glad to hear the strides helped. 😉

    p.s. that race is definitely a big deal — it’s the US road 5k championships! i am tentatively planning to go next year – hope you do too.

    Comment by paige — September 20, 2010 @ 21:39

    • I’m not sure. I’m hoping to be out of New England at that point! But if I’m still around then YES 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — September 23, 2010 @ 17:20

  26. I’ve been bad about blog reading (and will be a little while) but wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!! This was a major, major hurdle and I’m SO proud of you! You are getting speedier by the week. Nowhere to go but down from here! 🙂 Cheers, m’dear!!

    Comment by Flo — September 21, 2010 @ 07:25

  27. congratulations! GREAT time!! I will be doing the Tufts 10k as well, but most likely running it with some co workers and not for time. I’m guessing we live near each other if u ran the cvs 5k and also will be doing the tufts 10k.

    Comment by Bethany — September 21, 2010 @ 11:00

  28. Hey speedy lady, nice time!! There’s something so satisfying about getting under the 20 minute barrier. Excited to see what you can do in the Tufts 10k!

    Comment by Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) — September 21, 2010 @ 11:52

  29. Wow–smokin’! That is such a big barrier to bust–you are a stud! Can’t wait to see what you produce at the 10k.

    Comment by MissZippy — September 21, 2010 @ 12:18

  30. […] Sleep, Recovery, Weather, Fall, Goals — marathonmaiden @ 14:04 First: did you check out my race report for my awesome 5k? Oh shameless self-promoting […]

    Pingback by I Love Fall « MarathonMaiden's Blog — September 21, 2010 @ 14:05

  31. Congrats on a great race girly!! You did so well! I think that training at medium distances is the best way to prepare for 5k and 10k races! I agree that Lacey’s approach is the best for racing – I just usually die on mile 3 and go slow.

    Comment by J — September 22, 2010 @ 19:34

  32. Boom!!! Congrats!! You broke 20. Your strategy was perfect. Go out hard and pray to God you can hold it. 🙂 Awesome job.

    Comment by a marathoner — September 23, 2010 @ 09:25

  33. […] also realized on this run that, as fun as the 5k was last weekend and as fun as I know the 10k is going to be in 2 (!!) weeks or even a race as long as a half, that […]

    Pingback by Saturday Was A Good Day « MarathonMaiden's Blog — September 26, 2010 @ 16:07

  34. So I’m just now catching up on blogs from a couple weeks ago since I felt like I was on vacation forever….not that I’m complaining about that though. AWESOME JOB on the 5K. You’re my new hero. My 2 goals in running are to break 20 min in a 5K and 3:30 in a marathon. You are a serious rockstar.

    Comment by Jenny — September 29, 2010 @ 19:49

  35. […] Providence 5k: (click on the link if you want more than just the bare bones facts) […]

    Pingback by Monthly Recap: September 2010 « MarathonMaiden's Blog — October 3, 2010 @ 17:22

  36. […] thing RACING is hard.  Concentrating on one thing PERIOD is hard. Granted this worked out for me in my 5k where I really let my mind wander but I’m happy that for 6.2 miles my mind was on […]

    Pingback by Remember The Name. I’m a Racer! « MarathonMaiden's Blog — October 12, 2010 @ 12:46

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