race report: tour de pain – 5k road race & 1 mile sizzler {8.8.2015}

After a hot shower and a delicious meal of honey chicken, I got myself to bed. Day 2 of Tour De Pain was just hours away.


The 5K road race portion of Tour De Pain was going to held at the same location where I ran the Celebration 5K. It’s a perfectly reasonable 5K asphalt course. It’s flat and somewhat shaded. In fact, the only thing I don’t like is that the entire first mile is one long straightaway.

It feels like forever.

But once that first corner gets turned, the rest of the course is through lovely, residential streets, and it’s actually quite nice.

Once again, we lucked out with the weather. It wasn’t exactly cool, but the cloud cover kept things manageable.

I wasn’t gunning for a 5K PR at all. However, I did want to run this race faster than I did at last year’s Tour De Pain, and I also really wanted to beat my Celebration 5K time.

I chatted with a few running friends before the start, and then found my place in the crowd. The 5K is chip timed, so it’s a little less stressful positioning for the start. And off we went.

It was good, solid race. I keep my head down and just chipped away at the distance. Now that I was familiar with the eternal, mile-long straightaway, I didn’t feel so beaten down by it. This ended up making a huge difference.

As I said, I wasn’t on track for any kind of overall PR, but I was certainly crushing my time from last year and from Celebration. Whoo hoo! Normally, when I know that I am about to hit a goal, I fall to pieces. I can think of several times where I have actually hyperventilated in the middle of a race. I don’t know why, but I get so overwhelmed and lose it.

Today was not that day.

Right as I turned the last corner before the finish line, I saw one of my buddies go by. We see him at a lot of races and always chat and joke around, but it was only recently that we actually introduced each other and are friends on Facebook. He used to always ask a lot of questions about my intervals, and I laugh about it, because even though he runs straight through races, we always finish up at about the same time – sometimes he crosses the line before me and sometimes I finish first. It’s just how it works out.

But on that Saturday, something clicked on in my head and rather than sitting back in my pace, I tore down that course. I actually had no idea my legs could turn over that fast. Sprinting is just not in my nature.  I ran him down and we finished the 5K side by side. I think I scared the heck out of him, because there had been no one around him and then I was clapping him on the back and thanking him for inspiring me to push for the finish.

It felt really good. And I hit both the goals I was looking to attain.

My watch came up short.

Two races down; one to go.

I went home to shower, clean up and eat. Mr PugRunner and little man had plans for the day, so I had the house to myself.

The Mile Sizzler was in a new location this year, and I wanted to leave early enough to find parking and get myself situated. The concept of finding parking, especially in areas with which I am not entirely familiar, can bring me to my knees.

I packed a small cooler with Gatorade, water, a banana and a granola bar, set my GPS and headed out.

When I arrived in the area of Hemming Park, I was relieved to see that it wasn’t actually too far from the race’s original location at The Landing. I drove around until I found a little parking garage a few blocks away and hung out in my car for a bit. I noticed people parking for free in an empty lot right across the way, but I was nervous that it would be a tow zone or something similar so I stayed put, sipping on Gatorade and trying to stay hydrated.

It was hot. Ninety-five degrees felt like one hundred and three. Ugh. The air was absolutely sodden with humidity and the sun was out in full force. Not pleasant, especially beating off the streets and office buildings. Staying full of fluids was part of the game, but the side effect of that was the need to use the restroom. I finally had to say goodbye to the air conditioning and head off to the start line.

We were greeted with some bad news. There were plenty of portapotties. They had just been delivered to the original location, four or five blocks away. Womp womp. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it did create an issue for me. I didn’t want to expend the energy walking back and forth to the facilities, so after one trip, I had to cut the liquids. Boo.

The Mile Sizzler is broken into four waves: Master’s Men, Men, Master’s Women and Women. Which means I would run in the last group. At least for a few more years. I loathe the positioning because it gives me plenty of time to psych myself out, but I also get to watch some really amazing and talented runners go barreling through. I am always so impressed by the athleticism out there.

Fortunately, I met up with some friends and was able to distract myself with chatting and laughing.

In my head, I had a bit of a strategy. I had switched my intervals back to :60/:15 and I planned to just run like hell for the minute and catch my breath in the walk break. My goals were all over the place, but really, I just wanted to come in under ten minutes. As I have said so many times, I am not a sprinter. Speed has never been my strong point, and this mile is my nemesis.

I lined up to start, as far up as I dared. I was going to need every second on the gun-timed distance. We took off and I hadn’t gone 100 feet when I realized that with the air as thick as it was and the sun as hot as it was, nothing good was going to be happening for me.

The course was two loops around the plaza, but it was a rectangular loop rather than a square. When I turned the first corner, the road visibly sloped uphill and I could have cried. But there was nowhere to go but forward. It was just a mile, and I was going to finish, one way or the other.

I made my first loop and refused to even look at my watch.

I had almost nothing left to give

And then I was staring down the timing clock and I found just enough gas to squeak in under my goal. With a time of 9:58, I had PRd and broken 10:00. I was ok with that.

I was more than happy to celebrate!

There was plenty of pizza and beer, music and hanging out. I found a seat on the wall of a fountain and enjoyed the overall feeling of a job well done.

I also took a moment to appreciate the yarn bombing. I had never seen it person before and thought it was pretty cool.

I was ready for a good, hot shower, dinner and some mindless TV on the couch.

Looks like I will probably be in Tour De Pain for next year, too! 🙂

What’s the distance that challenges you most? Are you built for speed or endurance?

Is there a race that you always say you are going to skip, but then register for anyway? What keeps you coming back?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

41 Responses to race report: tour de pain – 5k road race & 1 mile sizzler {8.8.2015}

  1. Marcia says:

    Jen you ripped up these races! Way to finish strong despite the ridiculous heat/humidity! My most challenging distance is the marathon as I am made for speed, not endurance.
    Marcia recently posted…Stay Healthy, Train Healthy with Zarbee’s NaturalsMy Profile

  2. WOOHOO!!! You rock!!! I’m definitely built more for endurance than speed, but I have been trying to get a little faster. The Run Less, Run Faster plan has been great!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Stretch Your Knowledge: 7 Fun Facts About Me!My Profile

  3. Darlene says:

    I still find them all challenging but of course I want a faster time in a 5k.

    Good for you tackling 2 races.
    Darlene recently posted…August RecapMy Profile

  4. What a fun challenge.
    I’ve never raced a mile before. I’m also not a sprinter, but I think it might be fun to do once.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Never Say NeverMy Profile

  5. Yay on your finish of these races, way to dig deep and keep pressing on too! I am not made for speed so therefore I guess distance is it! 🙂
    Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin recently posted…AccountabilityMy Profile

  6. I sometimes get overwhelmed when I think I am going to hit a goal and end up messing it up somehow. Running is so mental isn’t it?! Or maybe runners are 🙂
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Reset & Refocus SeptemberMy Profile

  7. Congrats on your PR! You definitely earned that pizza and beer!
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Sole Sister Run Virtual 7 Mile Race RecapMy Profile

  8. Great job girl!! I am definitely built for endurance rather than speed. I can jog long distances for a long time, but can barely sprint the length of half a track, haha. My husband is the opposite – sprinter and triple jumper, but does not like the long stuff.
    Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers recently posted…My Favorite Workout Shirts + Tank Top Giveaway!My Profile

  9. Impressive that you ran the mile after a 5k AND in heat and humidity. Sounds like a fun time though!
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…Unstuffed Freekeh Cabbage Rolls + GiveawayMy Profile

  10. Kelli says:

    Races with straightaways like that are tough. I did one on an old airport runway and it seemed like it would never end! Nice work! (And congrats on the PR!)
    Kelli recently posted…Woman Crush Wednesday – Sarah TalleyMy Profile

  11. Great job on the races! And breaking the 10 min/mile mark! That had to feel awesome, considering the heat. The heat is a pace killer for me.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Staying on trackMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I feel like i say it every year, but this was a HARD summer. There was just no getting away from it. It was 80 at 4AM. Who can manage that reasonably? But, I just keep plugging because i know it will make the fall and winter so much easier.

  12. way to go! anytime i’m on the track, i’m challenged. speed work = so hard!
    courtney @ eat pray run dc recently posted…What to Look for in a Running CoachMy Profile

  13. Ariana says:

    Congratulations!!! Sounds like a super successful weekend between your three races. Those PRs are definitely pizza- and beer-worthy 😀

    My first half marathon was the BMO Vancouver marathon. I said I wasn’t going to do it the year after, but I did. And then the year after. And then this year I VOWED not to do any races before my triathlon, especially BMO. But a week before one of my clients needed an extra teammate for her marathon relay team so I joined 😉
    Ariana recently posted…Get back on track with me with #FreshStartSeptember!My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Ha! Isn’t it funny how certain races keep sucking you back in? I will say there is one half here that I will NEVER do again. And I kind of thought about it for a minute because the medal is so much better this year, but then I came to my senses.

  14. Priya says:

    After reading your stories, one thing is obvious that besides the body one needs to be really tough in the had too.

  15. Natalie says:

    I am definitely built for endurance. I do like running 5Ks and would like to whittle my time down. Great job on the 2 races!! Especially because it was so hot and humid! You rock!!!
    Natalie recently posted…Siggi’s Yogurt Giveaway!!My Profile

  16. Toni says:

    great job., I just moved to Florida and haven’t raced in hot & humid weather, I am def nervous about it.
    Toni recently posted…Savory Breakfast with #FreekehMy Profile

  17. Awesome job!!! I love reading about this race, I really wish we had something similar up this way. Congrats on your PR!
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…Thursday’s ThreadsMy Profile

  18. Nice job on the PR!! Especially in those conditions. This looks like such a fun race series! I’m actually running a 1 mile race Sept. 13 soooo…we’ll see how it goes!
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak recently posted…6 Healthy Foods To Keep In Your Dorm RoomMy Profile

  19. Angie says:

    Congratulations on both races! The mile during the afternoon is what stops me from registering for this race. Maybe next year…
    Angie recently posted…Back to schoolMy Profile

  20. Woohoo! Great job on the fast finish and on hitting your goals.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…How to Host An Instagram GiveawayMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.