5K to Marathon…and Back Again

Nearly a year ago, after completing three marathons, I needed a break from my nonstop training. I decided to run for me again: no goals, no races, just for my other countless reasons: fun, exhiliration, energy, freedom, head-clearing, therapy, etc. Of course, this didn’t last long and I was again searching for my next race. For someone who needed a break, it’s been a fairly busy summer of racing.d4dbdb4b

When I first started running in 2010, it was all about the 5Ks. Then I got this crazy idea to jump straight into the marathon distance, and it was “bye bye” 5Ks for nearly two years. I decided it was time to return to the scene of the 3.1.

My mom had been raving for awhile about a local “Running From the Cops” 5K, so in June, that’s just what we did. I was really nervous about how I would do given it had been nearly two years since I had run my last 5K. My body doesn’t even start to awaken until the three-mile mark…how was I going to sprint again? And then there were those seasoned runners who assured me my marathons most likely slowed my pace down. Whaaat??!! After researching that claim, I found that it was true:  studies show that many runners actually slowed in their 5K times because their bodies became conditioned to the marathon distance pace.

I decided to go for it and see how I did without stressing too much about it. Race day came, and despite the heat and humidity (my least favorite conditions), I busted out a 23:06. A PR, but not what I was hoping to see. I did place second in my age group, and my mom and sister took first in theirs.IMG_3544

Okay, so my marathon training hadn’t necessarily slowed me down, but it hadn’t really sped me up either.

Let me tell you how much I don’t love speed work. As in, I DO NOT do it. I want to get faster, but when it comes to sprinting during my training or regular runs, I just can’t bring myself to do it. In fact, I’d rather do hundreds of lunges in one workout than run sprint repeats…and I have. Then race day comes and that clock motivates me to speed, and I get a taste for it. I talk a good game about my need to do speed work, then never carry through with it. I did go out and run a mile as fast as I could back in July, so that should count for something.IMG_3533

I figured I would use races as my speed work for awhile and see how it went. I ran another 5K race a few weeks later, finishing in 23:18, placing first in my age group and second overall female. My sister got first in her age group.


Yes, my eyes are closed.

My third race, complete with a trek up and down a crazy gravel mountain, came a month after the second, and I finished in 23:28, taking first place in my age group, along with my mom, finishing in 24:14.  I heard her hollering “run Forrest, run” behind me during most of the race.  She hasn’t gotten the memo that I don’t respond to that.


Then came the GLO Run, which was mostly hills run in the dark with glo-in-the-dark shirts and Glo sticks. Despite the painful hills and late summer night humidity, it was an awesome experience I would absolutely do again. I finished in 23:41 and was the third overall female.


I wasn’t thrilled that I was losing speed with each race, but knew what was happening. Summer running was taking its toll again and slowing me down. I didn’t complain much because as always, I am grateful that I am able to run period. I set my sights on some fall races and was certain my PR days were nearing when the cooler weather hit.

Two weeks ago, I set out to run my favorite 5K. If you haven’t read about my pumpkin, please indulge yourself immediately. I always get the most nerves before this race because it gets bigger every year bringing with it a TON of competition. I normally don’t care about trophies and am more concerned with the clock, but this is one race where I DO care. They are that awesome! Like my marathon medals, this is one award that can instantly put a huge grin on my face.

I LOVE it!

I LOVE it!

Despite getting faster and always PRing at this race (the pumpkin really pushes me), after my first year running it, I have yet to score another pumpkin trophy. Two years ago, I ran a 23:45 and placed third in my age group, bringing home a pumpkin medallion.

This year, I did the same, only this time, I ran it in 22:10. Woohoo!


It was a day of PRs. My husband PR’d at 23:34, which is amazing considering he averages about two runs per week; my niece and nephew knocked several minutes off their times, with times of 23:35 and 23:20 respectively. My sister, Kim ran a 27:11, and last but not least, my mom ran a 22:35. Yes, the 63-year-old running legend who never trains passed me at the two-mile mark and ended up finishing a mere 25 seconds behind me. She also won her age group, as did my niece.IMG_4604

All in all, it was a great day. Now, as I’ve said a hundred times before, it’s time to get serious.photo

I’m torn between my running goals right now and am trying to find balance while determining which will come first:  improving my 5K time (aka breaking 20 minutes) or pursue my Boston qualifier. Both challenges are equally addicting, but I will say that I don’t love running as hard as I do in the 5K. That makes me want to run harder until I do, but then there is that not-so-little voice in my head calling out to me: “it’s time to set your sights on Boston.” I am going to achieve both goals eventually, but which will come first? Time will tell, but for now, I will be working on…both. 🙂

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4 Responses to 5K to Marathon…and Back Again

  1. Chris says:

    Great blog. I can just see it now, you and Wendy, “I’ve got the need, the need for speed”. Which one of you is Marverick?


    • livedreamrun says:

      Thanks Chris! Joge is Maverick (she’s fast), although I had to google that because I’ve never seen Top Gun. 😉 Speed hurts, but I love it. Then again, I feel the same about marathons. It’s a good pain though.


  2. Kelly says:

    Love your blog! Working on completing a 5K. Baby steps. 🙂


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