Winter Season 5Ks

Since my body is in healing/recovering mode from the accident, I figured this would be a good time to recap my winter running season. This season I decided I was to actively utilize my Atlanta Track Club membership and try and compete in the Grand Prix series. This meant roughly one t-shirt free race a month, which I figured would be perfect for low mileage winter training.

Peachtree City 5K (29:54)
This race was the first of the season and honestly I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to compete in it or not. I had finally been cleared by the doctor to start running again but only had about a week to train. I had been consistently indoor cycling but taking almost eight weeks of running meant I truly had my work cut out for me. 

Adam, two of our friends, and I headed out early that morning for the race. They had all opted to do the 10K, while I was only going to do the 5K. As hard as it was to swallow my pride, I told myself I had to continue at a nice easy pace or else I was only going to prolog my injury. This was more of a training run than an actual race run. As always, I took off faster than I should have during the 1st mile and couldn't maintain during the second and third mile (this I have come to realize is a recurring theme as a result of not warming up).

My run/pace was slower than it had been post Chicago but I knew I couldn't expect to be back at that fitness level. Adam, Ryan, and Elise all had wonderful races so congrats to them!!

Hearts and Soles 5K (27:31)

Two more weeks of training had passed and I was feeling stronger and better about my running. My legs were starting to feel injury free and overall I was loving running again! This course was one of my favorite because I had done it two years prior while visiting Adam for Valentine's weekend. I LOVE races where I have already run the course and know exactly what to expect! I knew that in this course I could take off fast as it was primarily a downhill but also needed to conserve some energy as I'd be running right back up that same hill. 

Once again I was feeling wonderful for the first 3/4 of a mile and then I hated the run (notice this is becoming a recurring theme). I kept trying to push myself harder to try and finish in the 26 min range, but I just couldn't seem to do it. I managed though to finish in 27:31 which was 10 minutes better than I had two years prior so I'll count that as a win. 

That day "Team Awesome" took 2nd place in the couples competition for our combined age group! (It says 27:51 instead of 27:31 as they used my clock time vs chip time in these results)

Frozen Foot 5K (32:47) 
What better way to see my two best friends than running a 5K?! I was going to be in Boulder for the weekend hanging out with my mom and sister but got a Facebook invite to run the "Frozen Foot 5K". We figured we might as well get a run in during our visit and then enjoy some breakfast afterwards. Racing with Janelle is always great because it tends to be a benchmark test. She has always been the more athletic one of the two of us, but I'm  usually not far behind her running speed so it serves as a good mark of how our separate trainings have been going.
We decided to register for this race about a month in advance so we were locked in. The one thing we hadn't considered was what happened if it snowed...apparently it's not called the "Frozen Foot 5K" for nothing.
Sure enough race morning comes and there's a blizzard warning with four inches of snow on the ground. As much as we had wanted to opt out we some how convinced ourselves this would be a great idea.This race proved not only how much I disliked running at altitude but also how much I was starting to prefer Atlanta weather!!

The trend continued... I made it less than a mile before I was totally over running this race. The wind, the altitude, the snow, and the cold all made for one whinning, running Kimi. Right as I hit this corner by the B-School I heard someone yell "Go Kimi". Since this was put on by the tri team a lot of Adam's former teammates were out helping on the course and apparently one recognized me and that little bit of motivation definitely helped! I was determined to keep pushing along despite how miserable I was. By the time we made it the Atlas building I decided this was not going to be a PR race and it was time to just enjoy the course, the beautiful campus, and the snowy day in Colorado. I found a guy who was running to talk to and we proceeded to walk/run the rest of the course and it honestly made it so much more enjoyable! Once I stopped worrying about my pace and how far behind Janelle & Alex I would be, I began to find the run pleasant and manageable.  

Janelle and Alex had clearly beaten me in this race, but we were all able to cross running a race in a blizzard off of our "bucket list".

Rocks and Roots 5K Trail Run (30:42)

After the crazy conditions of the Frozen Foot race, I was excited that this one was back in Georgia, with "normal" running conditions. This race was exactly one week later and would be another interesting one as I had never done a true trail run before. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, other than slower times could be expected. It was a cold morning in Atlanta and there were actually snow flurries flying around. Adam, Ryan, Jerry, and I headed down to the race bright and early. We picked up our packets then as Adam & Ryan warmed up, Jerry and I decided to stay in the warmth of the car. About 10 minutes before the start Adam & Ryan came back and explained the whole course (it was their warm up run). They explained this one hill that was about 1/4 of a mile and a few false summit hills but other than that not too bad.

I wish I had seen this elevation chart PRIOR to the run....

Since it was 30 degrees at the start I had opted to wear running tights, a long sleeve top, a head warmer, gloves and long socks. I was warm at the start but within 5 minutes I was overheating! I had wayyy over dressed for the day! As you may have guessed I started to hate the run after about a mile. I knew I had about 0.5 miles to go until "the big hill". I had gotten up a smaller hill and felt great. I truly thought the boys exaggerated the hill so I wouldn't psych myself out. Unfortunately I turned the corner and found the real hill....

I tried my hardest to run the entire thing but that attempt quickly ended as I fell in line with the rest of the pack walking the hill. I tend to have a no walking in 5Ks rule but this hill was just a bit too much! Luckily for every uphill, there's usually a downhill and sure enough the next mile was all downhill. Since I was running without an iPod I found random people around my pace to talk with and make the time go by faster. We hoped to motivate one another and get to that finish line. While I wasn't the most pleased with my time, I realized that hill and lack of consistent training is what did me in. Overall, I need to be more consistent about my running and better about warming up for races! (Oh and maybe not do three 5K races in a matter of four weeks)

How do you warm up for short races?

Have you ever hit a standstill or decline in your training/performance? What did you do to get out of that rut?

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