Paced to PR: Freedom 5K Race, Deerfield Beach, FL

My former Spanish River athlete Nick French was in town for the summer…after finishing his freshman year at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN. He ran cross country and track at Vanderbilt this past year and did awesome – nearly hitting 15:00 flat in the 5K! While in town, he has been training alone as well as a little bit with the Spanish River high school cross country team (including me). We’ve been discussing running a race together and having him pace me for over a year now…and the time finally came at the Freedom 5K race at Quiet Water Park in Deerfield Beach on June 29.

Having someone pace you in a 5K is truly a great way to drop your time without having to do any of the mental work. I highly recommend it for all road racers, especially if you have hit a plateau that you can’t seem to get under. For me, I spent a lot of time last year trying to break 20:00 and finally did. This year, with much more training under my belt my goal switched to breaking 19 minutes. Hence, my reason for asking Nick for help.

Here’s how it went down:

The race started at 7:00 am. We first did a mile warm-up, stretched and did a couple of strides. I put on my racing flats and we spoke about running 6 minute miles straight through. Our plan was definitely not to go out too fast – as we knew I had done that before and gotten way too tired early-on. The other plan was to try and get faster and stronger as the race went on – knowing passing people would help with my mental state throughout the race.

The first mile was 6:04 and I felt good.

The second mile split was 6:25 and I felt a little slow/tired. Nick tried to push the pace this entire mile but at the same time didn’t want to lose me.

The third mile split was 6:12. I could feel the end coming, felt good and mentally wanted to be done as soon as possible…Hence the negative split.

I came through the 3-mile at 18:40 something. And then the 3.1 mile (or 5K) at 19:18. I did not break that 19 minute mark (but did drop about 30 seconds from my time the month before in the Run for the Ribbons 5K which was a good sign).

The plan is to go after that sub-19 minute 5K again on my return from Israel! Can’t wait!

Photo of me, Nick and Justin Levine, the men’s overall winner.

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