Sunday, January 5, 2014

"January Joiners" and the time I accidentally PRed 5k

Starting about mid December the regulars in the spin and step classes I go to started to lament the approach of January. They were groaning that every bike would fill up early and the group fitness classes would be packed. The New Year's Resolutioners would be flocking to the gym, "January Joiners" they labeled them.

I reminded them that I was one of those January Joiners last year and here I am, sticking around and one of the regulars. Everyone always replies "Well you're the exception, hardly anyone sticks around past January". Well, when you welcome them with THAT attitude, why would they want to come back?!? This January I'm trying to be welcoming to the new folks, hoping they feel welcomed enough to join our crazy gym family that would rather be working out than at happy hour and who wake up early on the weekends so we don't miss a class. We have fun, laugh, sing, and get healthy together every week.

So. If you're thinking about venturing out to the gym to kick off your Resolutions, don't be shy. March right into the class and work your butt off. Get there a few minutes early to get set up and introduce yourself to the teacher. Take class at your own pace, there are always alternatives to every move.

So how does this have to do with me accidentally PRing 5k? Well, like I said a couple of weeks ago when I went out to start my training for the 1/2 marathon I'm doing with Hubs in the spring, the run went so well, I surprised myself. All these months of 6-7 classes a week has improved my endurance and overall fitness beyond my expectations.

After my first couple of runs went so well, I signed up last minute for a 5k on New Year's Eve. I thought, what could be a better way to close out 2013? It was a 1:00PM start, so I was thrown off from my usual pre-race rituals of oatmeal or english muffin and banana. It was a local race with about 600 people running the 5k and about 350 doing the 10k option. Once we got started I was feeling great. I was sticking with intervals I knew I could maintain the whole time, 4 mins running/1 min walking. I clocked the first mile in 11:39 and the next two miles at 12:32 pace. The last 1/2 mile I was losing steam and feeling a bit discouraged that I wasn't going to do as well as I had hoped.

My previous PR time was 41:15 (13:16 pace) and I knew I could blow that out of the water. My secret, would be amazing, I'd have to really work for it, "A" goal was anything starting with 37:00. My "B" goal was anything with 38:00, "C" was 39:00 and so on. I was getting audio cues from RunKeeper with my pace and time. I had about a 1/4 mile to go and if I picked up my pace I could make my "A" time goal. When I crossed the finish line I had given everything I had in the last 1/4 mile and thought I might have been able to squeak out 37:59. Once the results were posted my official time was 38:03 (12:16 pace). I'm kinda bummed I missed my "A" goal by 4 seconds, but am completely over the moon that my pace went down by a full minute. I know I'm still not the speediest of them all, but I'm slowly moving up from the back of the pack and can't complain about being able to run a race with only 4 days notice!

So lessons from today: Go to classes, get a faster 5k time.

How is your year starting off? Are you joining a gym or just looking to try something new at one you already belong to?

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