St. Thomas 5K Recap: Finally Faster!

Hallelujah! I finally ran a decent (for me) 5K time!

The whole point of signing up for the St. Thomas 5K in Nassau Bay was for me to get a time I could use to base training paces off of. Thanks to some medical issues earlier in the year, my running confidence had been shot to pieces. And with the weather this summer being like living on the surface of the sun (but with more humidity!), I couldn’t just go for it.

Part of it was fear. Part of it was practical.

But when I signed up for the St. Thomas 5K, I knew I needed to drop the hammer and use it as a real time trial. I know I’m capable of more, and I wanted to use the results for my training paces. That’s how I found myself pinning a bib onto my shorts on Saturday morning just as the sun was coming up.

Even though I came in second in my age group at the St. Thomas 5K, it felt like first to me. Read on for how the race went!

The St. Thomas 5K is usually the last in the Running Alliance Sport 5K series, which includes Seabrook Lucky Trails, Yuri’s Night, Texas Heatwave, and Lunar Landing. New for this year, they’ve added a Boo Dash 5K, which I’m thinking about running.

I had picked up my packet the day before at On the Run in Clear Lake, so all I had to do was show up reasonably early to park, use the bathroom, and warm up. I ran about half a mile and did some active stretches, said hi to the Texas Beef Team folks, and tried not to be nervous. I failed at that last part.

Usually, at a race, I can just remind myself that it’s just a race. It’s not some sort of elite qualifying meet that my future hinges upon. I mean, honestly, I’m a mid-pack runner who loves the feel of my muscles and tendons working together as I move forward. I’m not even looking to Boston Qualify – I just want to run half marathons and have fun. But this felt different for some reason. I even mentioned it to Melissa; it wasn’t just a race. I was using this for training paces.

St. Thomas 5K Go Time

So at the start, I just went. I pushed myself a little too hard for the first mile – when will I learn? Every single time, no matter the distance, I go out too fast. This time, I saw that I was running a sub-8 minute mile soon enough and slammed on the brakes. I was able to mostly enjoy the rest of the race. The course is beautiful, right through Nassau Bay down to the water. And Running Alliance Sport always makes sure there’s enough course support with water stations and clear route markings.

Mile 1 went well, although I was starting to feel the heat and humidity in Mile 2. By the time I was running Mile 3, I could kick it up a tiny bit. Again, it was hot – it’s been so hot!

But finally, my watch let me know that I had one tenth of a mile to go. Hammer dropped. I floored it, even though I wanted to stay at my current pace. I kicked it up as much as I could. And I crossed, finishing with a very respectable 25:31. For someone who was running a 27:53 just a couple months ago, I was excited. I had set a goal for a sub-26 5K, and I met that goal.

So now I’m writing out my training plan, plugging in my paces for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. I’m pleased with the outcome, pleased with the medal, and ready to jump into training.

I’m planning to run another 5K next month as a race, just to gauge any improvement. I think I’ve found one, too. It will be right before my official 10-week training plan starts, so I’ll see if I can beat my time in hopefully cooler weather.