Yup, a 5K – not a marathon. Those freaking things are really hard. I’m completely serious. Nothing about a 5K is easy for me – mainly because I feel like I have to sprint the whole thing. Three miles should be a walk in the park compared to my regular, voluntary encounters with the big 26.2. But those three miles seem to last for an eternity. The 3.5-4 hours spent running a marathon fly by in comparison to those 20ish long minutes in a 5K. My lungs want to explode, my legs feel like they are being beaten up by baseball bats, and I look like I’m being chased. They. Are. So. Hard.
A few weeks ago, I learned that a few local runners (a husband and wife) planned to organize a 5K and the proceeds would go to The One Fund. The One Fund is a charity for the victims affected by the bombings in Boston. I was just testing the waters with my injury but I signed up anyway – it was such a good cause. I had to participate. The icing on the cake? It was on the Saucon Rail Trail, my most favorite spot to run in the Lehigh Valley.
It was truly a special day. The weather was ideal and it was absolutely gorgeous for a 5K. It was warm with a slight breeze, and the trail is shaded. There was plenty of parking, and the cotton t-shirts are adorable. They are a soft, heathery shade of blue and adorned with the yellow BAA unicorn logo. Most people wore some sort of Boston related item to the event, and many wore blue and yellow to support the Boston Athletic Association.
It’s no shocker that I loved the course – I run there a few times per week. I usually hate out-and-back trails but there is something about that particular trail that I just adore. I made my way to the front of the pack for the start, since the race wasn’t chip timed. When the gun went off, I tried to keep pace with one of my faster friends but was only successful for the first 1.5 miles. I passed a few girls, and only saw men in front of me but didn’t really know what was ahead of me. At the turnaround, I realized I was the first female. What??? I had my headphones on and people on their way to the turn around kept smiling and waving at me. I was so confused. I actually thought they were saying hi to me and then I realized that they were cheering me on because I was the first female.
I came through the finish line at 20:49, about a 6:42/mile pace. Missed a PR by about 25 seconds, and about a minute slower than time I was aiming for. Somehow, someday, I would love to break 20 minutes in a 5K. But yesterday, I didn’t care. I still won first overall female, something I’ve never done before. It was a small 5K with a relatively small field, but I was excited because the event was personal to me. Winning was pretty exciting, though. I got a really nice medal, and a $25 gift certificate to our local running store, Aardvark. Just in time, because I’m feeling like I want to buy another new pair of Newtons before I start my fall training.
After the race, I concocted a recovery smoothie to celebrate. It was filling and gave me lots of energy for the 20 mile ride I ended up going for with Emily.
Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender:
- 1 cup of non-dairy milk (unsweetened almond, hemp, rice, or soy milk)
- 1 Frozen banana
- 1 Cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup or 1 medjool date
- 1 Tablespoon of organic, dutch processed cocoa powder (sequoia cocoa)
- 1 Tablespoon of raw cashew butter
- 1/2 Tablespoon of chia seeds
- 1/2 Tablespoon of hemp seeds
- 1/2 Tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil
- 1 Teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or half of a vanilla bean
- A handful of ice, if necessary
It’s approximately 450 calories, so it’s really more like a meal. It’s packed with antioxidants and protein, making it the perfect recovery drink. It gave me lots of energy and kept me full long after our bike ride. I used hemp seeds to make homemade hemp milk recently, which is absolutely divine and my favorite base for smoothies lately. It’s easy to whip up and has a nutty, sweet flavor. Hemp seeds, water, a pinch of salt and some agave or pure maple syrup in a blender for 1-2 minutes. Yum!