Downs Freedom 5K – July 1, 2017

Downs Freedom 5K

July 1, 2017


72 degrees, 9mph wind

21:34 official time, 6:56 pace 

1st in AG 

I’m changing up my race writing approach…hoping to jot down a few things the evening before race day.  So here goes:


It’s Friday night and this week has been a busy one. Just lots of commitments and things happening, and a couple of hard effort workouts. Tuesday was tempo and avg pace was 7:28 for 25 minutes, which for me is great, and I didn’t feel like I was completely killing myself to make that happen. But Wednesday my legs were heavy and feeling it. Thurs I had 800 repeats, reduced it to just 4 and gave myself three minute rest intervals, race is this weekend. Those were HARD. Legs still heavy. Yikes. Friday RESSSSSSST! 

This race has a lot of fun memories, as I’ve done it for a few years now and it’s my current ‘hometown’ and where my kiddos go to school. Lots of locals come out for it and it’s a lot of fun.  The people that put it together are awesome and it’s great to see everyone mid summer.  And one of my sweet friends has a sweet daughter, Alex Reinhardt with some great talent, and they come and we all have fun together.  Paul B is Alex’s coach, and Alex ran in nationals earlier today.  Can’t wait to see what she pulls out tomorrow! 

Going in, this course is pretty flat and wind isn’t supposed to be bad, temps at 70.  My goals are as follows: 

Goal: sub 22 5k, I’m sitting on 22:07, which was run in near perfect conditions this past March. 

Stretch Goal: sub 7min pace, which would be 21:42. 

Rachel asked if I wanted a pacer. 😳 I’ve never done that before, and told her no, not wanting to take away from her getting a PR as well.  But she said her plan is to run with me and/or Amber, and not race hard, with P2P in a couple of days. So the plans came together and Rach was going to keep me at 7:05s. 

RACE DAY (Saturday)

Had decent sleep + nutrition, still a little worried that my legs were still heavy, and the humidity started to make me wonder. But we warmed up and got ready. 

This race is one that Tim does too and pushes both kids in a single stroller (they get off and on and run here and there).  It’s kind of funny to see but it’s what they like to do. Proud of Tim who had a calf injury and has been having neck issues but kept at it and started training again for this 5k. 

Did my normal 5k drill, oatmeal, banana, coffee, warm up mile, gel… Saucony Fastwitches are so light and great.  

Great to see everyone and before you know it we are at the line with the “ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, GO!” 😊

Mile 1: 6:59

Rachel and I get side by side pretty quick, and off we go. Gabe has a pinwheel tethered to his stroller and it’s cute to see him playing away. I looked down at my watch about a half mile in and it appears we are a little quick, but such is the start of every 5k. I can tell that my breathing is labored pretty early on, thanks humidity, but just decide that I’m not letting that change my goal. Try to focus on all I’m thankful for and that I’m even out here running sub 22 pace.  We run thru Dooley Park and cross to the other side of the village. Mile 1 dings and I look and feel good about that.  

Mile 2: 7:03

Working our way thru the neighborhood, passing some people. We pass a water station and Rach offers me my water. I don’t WANT a drink, it doesn’t sound good, but I know I should. It’s warm and humid. I’m starting to really work and so at this point it’s not like I feel amazing anyway and would risk messing that up 😂  In addition to Rach offering me water she is catching toys Gabe is throwing out, encouraging me, telling me we are on pace. There’s a portion that loops back and we see Tim and the kids and they’re hilarious!  I love the boost!  We see some slight elevation and we work it and she tells me we are gonna push the downhill.  BAM 💪💥

Mile 3: 6:54

I’m really feeling barfo and working hard at this point. No talking, no smiling, just keep moving.  There’s a part of me that wants to give myself a small pace break and hope that we banked a few seconds and won’t screw up the plan. BUT NO. I stay as close as I can to the stroller mama and don’t let her get more than two strides away. We have another slight hill and downhill by the cemetery and we work it the same way. Rach starts giving me the countdown of 3 track laps to go, etc. I haven’t looked at my watch other when the mile splits ding in. I’m telling myself to keep this effort until we get to the school…Once we get there I know it’s slight downhill and then a fun track lap and I should be able to pick it up.  Just. Keep. Going. 


.11 was 40 sec, 6:04 pace 

Coming into the track for the finish was great, seeing so many friends and hearing the cheers. There was a small gaggle of teenage girls ahead of me, Alex included (as they should be) and then Rachel and I bringing in the adult women. I could hear Clint yelling “Let’s go H-R!!!”.  I pushed as hard as I could and the last straightaway I got on my toes and sprinted in for the finish.  I actually didn’t know the protocol…should I have let Rach get ahead of me?  She wasn’t speeding up so I took that as she wanted me to finish in front of her.  Once in a lifetime opportunity to be in front, so I took it 😂 Also great to have Merlin + Meg working the finish and cheering me in! 

Of course I forgot to stop my watch.  I knew the finish line clock was right around 21:35 when I came in and I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT.  Once I heard the official of 21:34 I was ecstatic.  Unreal. I thought I could get under 22 but I didn’t expect that much under. Just going to smile and enjoy and not let any 😬 coulda woulda shouldas even come in. 


I caught my breath and a water and cheered Amber in.  We went back out on course to run Tim and the kids in. They were about a mile out and so it was fun to catch them and join them.  And Jack (4) ran about half the time Tim said!  


It was a fun day, with a kids’ fun track lap, and some other festivities.  They do ten year age group brackets for awards, which puts Rachel and me together, and so she didn’t get a medal 😢 which bummed me out since clearly she earned that age group award (and wouldn’t take mine!).  Annual fun pic with Alex, my last year of her not being taller than me!  She rocked her race with a 20:53! 


Shoutout to other teammates that raced and joined in the fun: Gary, Clint, Amber, Rachel. Team Often Running looked great + represented at this event!  Thanks, Mitch, Often Running, and Saucony!!!!  You have a standout team that I’m grateful to be a part of! 

Clearly Clint’s coaching since last winter is paying off… in 2016, I was 22:58 at this 5k and it was a season PR. And I wouldn’t have come that far under goal without Rachel’s consistent pacing!  Many thanks for your selfless service!!  I’m still smiling, two days later 😊 Steamboat whaaaaaa????? 😂😂 



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