Race Recap: Irish Jig

This morning, I ran my first race of 2013 at the Spectrum Health Irish Jig in Grand Rapids.


In March 2011, I earned my 5k PR at the Irish Jig with a time of 29:34.  In 2012, I got one of my slowest 5k times at that same race.  I know that over the past few months, I’ve been getting faster.  Over the past couple of weeks, I felt pretty confident that a new PR was a very realistic goal.  The goal I had in mind was a sub-29 minute finish.  I knew it would be really tough, but if I worked hard, it was a very real possibility.

Since the starting line is only about a mile away from my house, I decided to just run there.  (Side note:  when did I become the girl that runs to a race?!).  I’m actually house-sitting right now, so I had to drive to my house to run there, but I knew from previous years that where I would end up parking, it wouldn’t be much closer than home anyhow.  As I parked at my house, I realized that my running shoes were right where I left them…at the other house. I didn’t have enough time to go back, get them, and get to the starting line in time.  Fortunately, I have a couple extra pairs of shoes at my house.  Unfortunately, they’re both brand new.  Breaking in new shoes on race day?  Not ideal.  But, I didn’t really have another option.

Off I went in my new shoes!  We got a bit of snow overnight, and it was a bit colder than it has been the past several days (mid-20s, with the “feels like” temperature in the mid-teens).  Not ideal conditions, especially shooting for a PR.  I reframed my goals knowing that I still wanted the PR, but given how the morning was shaping up, I couldn’t be too hard on myself if it didn’t happen.

I got to the starting line with about five minutes to spare, which was perfect.  Long enough to catch my breath and get ready to race, but not so long that my muscles would start to cool down.  I saw my friend Alicia, said a quick hello to her, and before I knew it, we were running!  Like most races, this one is always pretty congested at the start, but I got a spot near the front of the pack and off to the side, so I never got too bottlenecked.

The first mile, I felt really strong and confident.  I always thought the people that ran before races were crazy, but I’m starting to see why.  It worked out the kinks in my legs that I usually have at the start of a morning run/race.  I checked my pace a couple times and was on track to PR which bolstered my confidence.  The second mile was hands down the hardest.  Lots of gradual uphill stretches and just mentally a challenge to push through.  It was also slowest of the three miles, not surprisingly.  Around the halfway point, I had a couple points where I wanted to walk, but I knew if I did, then I would be kissing my PR goodbye.  I never needed to walk, but I’m learning more and more that it’s just part of the running mind game.  Once we got into that last mile, I just kept reminding myself “you can do anything for ten minutes, for five minutes, etc.” and somewhat obsessively checked my pace.  At about 2.5 miles, I caught sight of Alicia and made it my goal to pass her before the finish line.  I kicked it into high gear and was super pumped as I gradually caught up, and finally passed, her.

I finished in 29:16 – an 18 second PR!  Boom shaka laka!


My official time was 29:15, which put me at 95 out of 364 in my division, and 484 out of 1847 overall.  I was really happy with my splits, too.

Mile 1:  9:23
Mile 2:  9:44
Mile 3:  9:12
Mile .13:  0:55

All of that hard work I’ve been putting in lately with speedwork and just really pushing myself when it comes to my pace is paying off.  While the race was challenging, for sure, there is definitely a part of me that knows I could have pushed just a little harder and gotten that sub-29 finish.  Next time!

I’ve been running a lot without music lately, but I put my workout mix on shuffle today and got a great mix that really helped me keep up a solid pace, gave me a good distraction when I needed one, and helped me to remember to smile and just have FUN.

30 minute 5k PR playlist

All in all, I am extremely proud of how today’s race went, and as I head into some longer distance races this spring, it bolsters my confidence in myself, my running abilities, and my goals.

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