Similar to the Disco Dash, I had no goals going into the Bastille Day 5K on Thursday night. I’ll be honest, my registration was free (and I’m very appreciative for it!), so I was just looking for a fun evening in the city, especially now that I’m a Chicago resident and evening races are suddenly SO much more convenient for me.

I expected it to be hot in mid-July, which is why I opted for the 5K over the 8K. Of course the weather ended up being beautiful (in the 70s, maybe even going below 70 when the sun when down). But given my low mileage lately, I was glad for the shorter distance.

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Bloggers pre-race: Amanda, Chris, Eric, Jennifer, me

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8K start

My plan was just to race it by effort/heart rate and see what happened. The start corral had paces to help us sort out, I lined up even with the 8:00 pace sign. I raced the Disco Dash, and finished with exactly an 8:00 pace. Of course it was much more humid for that race, but still, I haven’t done a lick of speedwork since … April? No need to get cocky.

Given that I started at the “front” of the 8:00 group, I was surprised at how many people I was passing, even with my heart rate  kind of low. I pushed myself to pick up the pace and get my heart rate where it should be. For a hot minute, I wondered if I might PR, but my first mile beeped at 7:31 and while I was pleased with that split, I reminded myself that the reality of my training would not yield a PR. (My 5K PR is a 22:16 which is a 7:12 pace.)

The course was a bit awkward, intersecting with itself in two points (meaning you went through a course intersection four times). Plus most of the course was on the Lakefront Trail, which is not closed to the public during races, so there were still other runners, walkers, cyclists and roller bladers out during the race. Although most of the first mile was on the street before going onto the trail, and I never experienced too much crowding.

Anyway, so pace-wise, I pushed myself and got my heart rate where it needed to be. I kept reminding myself during the last mile that 5K’s are supposed to hurt. My heart rate is supposed to be high. 190 would have been truly pushing it, but I got close enough.

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Final time = 23:02, 7:24 pace. With no speedwork (other than one 5K race) in three months, and sub-20 mile weeks for the past month … I’m pretty dang pleased. Still need to work on even splits, but I’m not really training, so whatevs. [Note – the “live results” last night matched my Garmin, but the official results today have me at 22:53 … weird. I was talking to Eric and he said his time also magically got 10 seconds faster, so I’m sticking with my Garmin on this one.)

Melanie caught a picture of me right after the finish, eating a giant bagel. But we didn’t actually meet. (I discovered this pic through creeping on Twitter.) (She did win my giveaway though!)

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Looking hot post-race with Britt, Eric, me, Amanda

After everyone split up to leave, I decided to run the mile back to the Fullerton L station. I discovered that it is possible to run after a bagel, banana, some water and 1.5 beers (Amanda and I split Britt’s, thanks!). It isn’t fun though. But it gets you home faster, which is good for a weeknight.

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