Ah, the Valentine Run. A nice, 4 mile race in an out-of-the-way corner of Sacramento County, all to benefit our friends at Legal Services. This race clashes somewhat with my marathon training, but I went anyway to help raise funds for LSNC and represent the Buffalo Chips in a local race.
Since I am more accustomed to longer-distance races (I hardly did anything less than a half last year), I find it challenging to set goals for a 4 mile race. My last 5k was last June, and I did it in 7:20 per mile. I'm speed training now (wasn't then), so I should be faster, even over the longer distance. Accordingly, I decided to go for about 7:15 per mile, or under 29 minutes.
I started out well, hitting 7:08 and 7:09 for the first two. I was struggling, but keeping up. I did the third mile in 7:19, but picked it back up for a while at around 7:10. I even saw on my Garmin that I hit a bit more than 5k (3.17) in a bit under my current 5k PR (22:40), so that was a bonus.
The dreaded right-side cramp. I've been having these pains under my right lower ribs since our mile repeats at Chips two Tuesdays ago. Maybe I pulled something? This could have also been a cramp from not breathing correctly, due to over-exertion. Either way, for the last half mile, I was struggling to breathe. I slowed down. That mile took 7:35 overall.
Overall, I'm happy with my 29:20 finish. It is at my 7:20 pace from my 5k PR, which bodes well for my next 5k. I would have liked to stick with 7:10 to 7:15, but it didn't happen. It wouldn't have been good enough for 3rd in my age group anyway (that person came in just under 7:10 average, I think). Fourth in my age group is good enough.