Hilton Head Jingle Jingle 5k #2
I am so glad that I was able to cap off my 2016 racing calendar with this race. It has been a favorite since the last (and only prior to this year) time I ran the race.
Like a lot of my races this year, I entered this race without any concrete goals aside from nailing a course PR and winning my age group. Both of those seemed eminently achievable since I ran this race five years ago and that race time would have put me on the podium for my age group then. My base fitness is at a much higher level now. Before the race I had no idea just how true that statement is. (Spoiler alert)
We arrived in plenty of time to make our way around the hospital complex to find the start line. (We parked in a different section than last time, around the bend as it turned out.)
Right at 9 o’clock we were off.
I knew the pace was fast from the start. I wanted to race smart and smart would not be holding a sub 7 pace, especially since I haven’t done short distance speed work in nearly a year. (I need to change that.)
I had to tell myself multiple times that I had no business running that fast even thought it felt like I was getting passed by a lot of fast people. (I will admit that I fantasized once or twice about being on the podium even with my lack of short distance training.)
I felt good though, really good. The pace didn’t feel hard and that kept surprising me through the whole run.
Mile 1: 7:12
I managed to slow myself down a little bit in this section but not much.
I remember two things from this mile. One, I kept being surprised at how easy this felt. Two, just after the halfway point in the race, a young girl – I think she won the 15-19 age group – moved to the other side of the path right in front of me with no warning. I couldn’t help stepping on the back of her shoe. I know that must have frustrated her but that’s what happens when you make a move like that without the slightest glance backward to see if anyone is behind you.
Mile 2: 7:19
The last mile is where I start telling myself to pick up the pace a little. You can do anything for a mile. Plus, this is a 5k. 5ks are supposed to hurt to make them worth your while.
I started looking ahead to see if any women were in range that I could try to pass to move up the standings. I was already fairly confident that I was at the top of my age group but it would be nice to be as high up in the rankings as I could get.
I’m not sure if people faded or what but my pace really didn’t change that much.
Mile 3: 7:13
For me, this was a remarkably evenly paced race. I managed to pass three women in the last mile which felt good and finished only 13 seconds behind the 6th place woman overall.
I had plenty left in the tank for the final finishing sprint.
.16 nubbin 6:23
Final time: 22:44
Yes, my PR is a minute and a quarter faster than that. However, the only other races in which I have run faster than this, I have felt like death warmed over at the end. Not so today. Today I felt great. I might have been able to get a surprise PR if I had gone all out on the course.
I am absolutely thrilled with my performance today and am already working on a 5k PR plan. It has been way too long since I have gotten close to that PR. Plus, that’s the only time I have sub 22 minutes. I need to change that.
The tentative plan? Make sure that my schedule allows for me to race this particular race again next year. The course is perfect for a PR. Plus, I will have finished marathon training back at the beginning of October not be right in the middle of it like I am now.
Here’s a successful end to 2016.