For the past year and a half or so, I've been running one race a month. My main objective was to simply stay in shape and to challenge myself to improve on both distance and speed. I ran three longer races in the past year - the St. Pete Women's Half Marathon, the Peachtree Road Race (10k), and the Atlanta Marathon 10 Miler. The rest of my races have been 5k's, so about a year ago (after the half marathon), I set some goals for myself to get faster - first to get back to a 10-minute-mile pace, and then to run a 5k in under 30 minutes, before I turn 30 (which is exactly 30 days from today!).
I have a good group of friends here in Atlanta who have been running with me on and off during that time. It has been a great way to hold each other accountable, which is extremely motivating on days when I really don't want to run. It has also made it much more social and enjoyable when we have a delicious brunch planned after each race. We all run at a different pace, so even though we start together, we run by ourselves and meet up at the finish line.
That is, until a few months ago when Adrienne, one of my old college running buddies, moved to Atlanta. She and I started running together regularly again and I was back to my old pace pretty quickly. After our 10 miler where we nailed exactly a 10 minute mile, I knew if I trained a little bit harder I could reach my second goal. Adrienne unfortunately had really bad shin splints so I was back to
running by myself. I mainly worked on speed, with interval training. I only found one race in Atlanta that fit my schedule, but it's not until January which was cutting it pretty close to my 30th birthday. So I convinced my mom and Leslie to run a Turkey Trot with me on Thanksgiving Day and I'm proud to say I achieved my goal - under 30, before 30! I officially finished the race in 26:32 which is drastically faster than my usual time. It was a great race and I was so excited!
It was freezing cold that morning, Leslie and I were a weeee bit
hungover, and I was pretty sure she and my mom were going to kill me for
making them run this race. But in the end it was probably the best race
I ever could have picked to meet my goal, and we all really enjoyed it.
So much so that we might make it a new tradition whenever we are in
town for Thanksgiving.
Now there are a few caveats - I've been training in Atlanta's humidity and hills, so it played in my favor BIG time to run a race in Florida in late November when there was a lovely ocean breeze, no humidity, and definitely no hills ;) After the incredibly hilly 10 miler I ran the month before, it was a nice relief when a spectator warned me about the "hill" up ahead, which was a meager speed bump :) The other caveat is that it was only a 3 mile race, so it wasn't technically a 5k. But I am totally counting it. So thank you to all of my running buddies for helping me get there!! Looking forward to another year of racing ahead of us!