This was only my second 5K (3.1 miles) race to participate in but I think I can safely assume that this was about the hardest 5K race I’ll ever run.

I have been training pretty seriously since Christmas Day 2011 so I only had about 5 months of preparation.

My goal going into this race was to beat my race time for my last 5K (and first race). Seven weeks ago, I ran in the LifeChoice Care Center 5K and did it in 24 minutes and 21 seconds. However, I failed to anticipate the differences in the courses.

My time for this race? 27 minutes and 14 seconds … almost 3 minutes slower! Here’s what happened:

For starters, I think I ate a little too much that morning. I had a bowl of cereal but didn’t realize until afterwards that it was still sitting heavy on my stomach when the gun went off. I’ll eat less next time and focus on something with a higher carb content.

Second, I made a mistake by getting postitioned toward the back of the pack at the starting line. When the gun was fired, we took off. In less than 100 yards, we were on a dirt trail winding its way through the woods. The trail was probably no wider than 3-4 feet and so passing runners was not necessarily impossible … but it seemed a little reckless. This narrow trail lasted for about half a mile. I only passed a couple of folks in that time span.

On the gravel road moments after getting off the dirt trail.

At the end of the first 1/2 mile, the trail emptied out onto a gravel road where I began to pass runners. After about 2/10 of a mile, we turned onto an asphalt road where we would spend most of the remainder of the race.

That’s when it got really physically tough … hills!!! I’m unsure of the hill incline or the distance up and then down those hills. All I know is that even though I had done plenty of work on hills here in Brooksville, I wasn’t ready for the ones on the course.

I had to stop a few times to walk. I tried to walk no more than about 5-10 seconds at a time. When I finally crossed the finish line on the driveway into The Arc property, I couldn’t have been more glad to see the finish line! I was exhausted. Even though my finish time was almost 3 minutes slower than my previous 5K, I knew that I had given my best.

Moments before crossing the finish line!

Now that summer has arrived, I plan to get even more focused on my running routine. When the Fall arrives, I plan to place in some of the 5Ks. It seems that I’ll need to be running about a 7 minute mile in order to do so. I’ll be ready for it!