17:57.31!

17:57.31 in the 5K at the Gustavus Alumni meet (just 5 seconds off a stadium record!). I am completely surprised I was able to pull that fast of a race off... I haven't done much VO2 max work, haven't tapered, and in general I thought all of my mileage would have made me slower.

My goal going into the race was a sub-19 5K, given all of my doubts above, so I wanted to go out in a 6 minute first mile. I don't race well if I go out too fast. So, when the gun went off I tucked into 4th or 5th place and just allowed myself to run easy. That also allowed me to draft, which was nice because it was pretty windy. We did the first 200 in 45 seconds. Perfect! That's even pacing for a 6:00 mile. We continued at that pace for another 3 laps. I noticed that the girls around me were starting to breathe hard. "Really?", I thought to myself. I wasn't hardly working, it felt like. Luckily, one of the other girls decided to break it up, and shot out of our front pack. I followed suit, moving up to 3rd. That lap was a 1:25 (5:40 mile pace). The second mile I basically cruised -- 1:25s each lap (weird how consistent I was, I haven't done ANY pacing lately). I passed the 2nd place girl, and had my sights set on #1.

We stayed about 30 meters apart until about a mile to go. That's when I could feel that I was just strong/fit. Yes, I was working, but not nearly as much as everyone around me. I came up quickly on Laura Edlund, leading, and was surprised she didn't hang with me. She's had a great post-collegiate season (also a graduated Gustie, class of 08), and recently ran a 30:04 8K (so fast!!).

From then on out I tried to see what I had left. I checked my watch with 2 laps to go and knew that I'd be under 18 if I kept up this pace, and might even have a chance at that stadium record. 2nd to last lap was in 1:24. The bell lap came... c'mon, Nichole, let's go!! I don't know what my last lap was in, but I think it was quick -- I was surprised to find that I had a good kick. I've never had a kick before! :)

I crossed the line at 17:57.31, and was super happy with it. 2 great confidence boosting races in the last 2 weeks!! Signs of good things to come at Fargo?

Now, I just need to trust in the next two taper weeks. I did my last "long" run yesterday, 17 miles. I actually felt great, and let myself go with it. For the last 12 miles I averaged 7:30s, and it felt effortless. This'll be my last workout where I let myself go if I'm feeling good (please remind me!! :) -- from now on out I'll have to keep it controlled. It's just so hard to pull in the reins, especially when I've come to love pushing myself day in/day out!!

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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