Bear Paw 5K 2013 – Race Recap

Today I saw a dead bear as I was driving to the Bear Paw 5K in Eagle River, ran the 5K, ran 19 more miles after that, drank hot water because I was too thirsty to care, and enjoyed every minute of it.

What an absolutely beautiful day it was. If summer was always like this, maybe I wouldn’t complain about the weather so much. A perfect day to run a 5K. (This picture does not do justice.)


I got a late start this morning after a fiasco with my new cell phone that I will have to share about later. The race didn’t start until 10:30 a.m., which was nice because I was able to get a few things done at home before I had to make the 30 minute drive to Eagle River.

When I arrived, I was luckily able to find a parking spot easily and then jogged to the start to pick up my bib (which was a breeze). I wanted to give myself adequate time to warm-up because the shorter the race, the more time I spend warming up. I had about 30 minutes this morning to warm-up, which was sufficient. I could have used 15 more minutes, but 30 was okay.

Then it was time to line up at the start. (This is actually a picture from the finish, but you get the point.)

DSC_0001I really wanted to PR, but I wasn’t positive I would be able to since I am running 85 miles this week. I front-loaded my mileage early in the week, so I could do some easier miles the two days prior to the 5K. For the last three weeks I have been going to the track to run 400s in preparation for this 5K because I wanted to have the leg turn-over necessary to run a 5K.

I started at the front of the pack because I knew I didn’t have time to lose by starting back further. The first 0.25 mile was uphill—not particularly thrilled about this, but luckily it wasn’t too steep or too long. During the first half mile I was thinking, “oh man, I’m not feeling particularly speedy this morning; I don’t know if I can muster up the energy I need.” But I quickly settled into a 6:00 minute mile pace and my thoughts changed to, “I think I can maintain this for a while.”


I came through at 6:22 in the first mile. I knew my PR pace was 6:20 minutes/mile, which I ran at this race last year. I knew I had to pick it up a bit and keep pushing the pace. By this time we were running on a paved path along the highway, which was noisy with traffic, but I just pretended it was swarms of crowds cheering. (Not really sure what I was thinking here.) There were gradual downgrades, which was very welcomed, and I really tried to use these to surge ahead. Mile 2 I came through in 6:12. Perfect. I just have one more mile left to go. But oh, man, it was getting tough at this point. I looked down at my watch and saw I was averaging a 6:25 minute mile pace. I thought about foregoing my hopes of a PR because it was really starting to hurt. However, I knew I would be mad at myself if I did do that. I’ve read the mind gives up before the body, so I focused on my breathing and kept pushing. The last 0.5 miles were tough—and if you heard me breathing, you probably thought I was having an asthma attack. (I was not.) But all that effort paid off with a 21 second PR!! (That’s huge in a 5K!)


Garmin Results

Time: 19:17

Distance: 3.05 miles (The exact same distance as last year.)

Average pace: 6:20 minutes/mile


Official Results

Time: 19:20

Distance: 5K/3.1 miles

Average pace: 6:14 minutes/mile

I think the Garmin was probably off because we ran through a couple wooded sections where I might not have been picking up a good signal. DSC_0005My 1st place medal for my age group. I’m with the old-fogies now. (No offense to anyone in this age group.)


After I was done running, my right calf started to ache pretty badly and cramp up. I continued to do my long run on it because it never got worse, but it is still achy tonight.    DSC_0013

My left arm, right above my elbow, also felt cramped up and got really sore. It is strange because neither area has bothered me before. And I don’t know why my arm was aching. Maybe I was clenching my fist??DSC_0014 Anyway, it was a great race, and while it was tough, I’m glad I pushed myself so I was able to PR.

After the race, a fellow reader came up and said she reads my blog. I always get really excited when someone says they read my blog. She said her husband even tells the high school runners he coaches to read my blog for nutrition. How awesome!

Summer 2013 Race Schedule & Goals

Run this morning:

Distance: 4 miles

Time: 32 minutes

Weather: Awesome!

Comments: Legs felt like lead, but I still was able to maintain a decent pace—and plus the weather was beautiful, so I’m not going to complain.


Summer is really the only time there are races to be run up here, which means I have to take advantage of it and run as many different races as possible. I enjoy running all distances, so I will be running everything from the 5K to the marathon. So far this is what my race schedule is looking like:

Friday, May 31Twilight 12K

This race is run at 7 p.m. on Friday night and usually that would be approaching twilight for most areas of the county, but since we live in the land of the midnight sun, it was still be very bright out. Either way, I’m excited. It is a different distance and there are tons of people that come out for this event. I’m hoping for a pretty easy PR (personal record) at this race since it will be only my second time racing a 12K. Plus last year when I ran it with my sister, we didn’t push the pace too hard because she was injured.

Saturday, June 22Mayor’s Half-Marathon

This is the premier marathon and half-marathon of the summer for Anchorage. I ran the marathon two years ago but am not in marathon shape, so I am sticking to the half-marathon this year. I did run the half-marathon in 2008 but have been out of town running Grandma’s Marathon the other couple of years.

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 9.25.35 PM

Saturday, July 13Bear Paw 5K

I ran this fun little 5K at the Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River last year for the first time. I even set a PR, which I would love to do again.

Sunday, July 21Her Tern Half-Marathon

This is a new event in Anchorage and one that’s only for women. It was definitely a more expensive event, but there are extra perks such as: a hand-crafted bracelet for each finisher, a post-race pamper party, and a pre-race party fashion show and photo booth. I would love to be able to break my current PR of 1:31 at this event.

Saturday, August 3Alaska 10K Classic

I ran this 10K for the first time last year and had a very enjoyable experience, so I am looking forward to running it again.

2007 Alaska 10K Classic

Sunday, August 18Moose’s Tooth Marathon

I have decided to make my next marathon the Moose’s Tooth Marathon, which is part of the Big Wild Life Runs event. I have run the half-marathon many times but never the full. The course is on the Coastal Trail and the Chester Creek Trail, which I am very familiar with, so I am hoping that will help me. This will be the focus for my training this summer and what I will peak for. I would love to be able to PR at this event, so I hope and pray everything goes well.

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 9.30.36 PM

Sunday, September 29Kenai River Marathon

I normally wouldn’t run another marathon this soon, but this race has a very small field and I think it would be fun to run it and place high in the field. But who knows, maybe I won’t have recovered from the Moose’s Tooth Marathon and will dog it.

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 9.32.34 PM

As you can see, I don’t care what the distance, I enjoy racing period. I will be running:

1 – 5K

1 – 10K

1 – 12K

2 – Half-Marathons

2 – Marathons


I’m excited!! I think this is a good mix of distances for me, and I’m hoping to set some new PRs. I would love to achieve the following:

- A PR in the 5K.

- Break 41 minutes in the 10K.

- A PR in the 12K.

- Break 1:30 in the half-marathon

- Run 3:15 in the marathon.

I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me. I am starting my training much later this year than I would have liked, but I’m hoping the base I built last fall will carry me through and help me achieve my goals. But whatever happens, I am excited to run some races!

Bear Paw 5K

Nothing like signing up to run a race the night before at 10 PM. I’m so indecisive!!

Saturday morning I raced the Bear Paw 5K, and I am happy to say I PRed and broke 20 minutes!! So exciting! And this was all in the midst of a 60 mile week for me. :) That means I have broken my PR in the marathon, half-marathon, 10K (unofficially—in a training run), and now the 5K all within the last two months!!

Flowers post-race from my sweet, sweet husband!

So, yes, it was Friday night, and I was trying to decide if I wanted to race a 5K the following morning and then finish my long run afterward or just do my normal Saturday long-run routine and be good with that. But since the racing season is so limited up here, I decided I’d better take advantage of as many races as I can.

I was so nervous Friday night that I didn’t sleep very well because I really wanted to break 20 minutes. I figured I would be able to PR, but I didn’t think I had it in me to break 20 minutes—especially when I found out I would need to average 6:25 minutes/mile! (My previous PR was 20:49.)

On Saturday morning, once we got to the start, I had to wait in line to pick up my bib. And while waiting, a fellow reader came and introduced herself to me. (Hi, Lauren!) I love when people come and introduce themselves. . . .that’s what makes blogging so fun and worth it—the social interaction whether it is online or in person.

Prior to the race, I did a 1.5 mile warm-up. I jogged about one mile and then did some dynamic stretches and accelerations. The shorter the race, the more time I spend warming up.

Since this was just a 5K, I made sure to find a spot at the front because I knew I wouldn’t have time to waste dodging people and getting boxed in. When the gun went off, I took off at a pretty fast clip—much faster than I anticipated. About a quarter mile into the race, I looked down at my watch and saw 5:41. Yikes! No wonder why I feel so out of breath already!!

Overall, the race went really well. It was tough, but I kept pushing myself to try and stay as close as I could to a 6:25 pace. My first mile was 6:25, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain that the rest of the way. I did my best not to let myself slow down, but the second mile was 6:33, and the third mile was 6:28.

I did not think I had a chance of breaking 20 minutes after seeing those last two split, but then I saw the finish was not that far away and my watch said something like 18:45. I knew I could run the final stretch in less than 1:15, so I pushed as hard as I could until the finish.

My Garmin and the official results don’t quite match up, but I’m going with the official results. ;)

Garmin results:

Time: 19:43

Distance: 3.05 miles

Average pace: 6:28 minutes/mile

Official results:

Time: 19:41

Distance: 3.1 miles

Average pace: 6:20 minutes/mile

Overall place: 42/906

Female placing: 7/581

Age group placing: 3/169

After the race, I had to run an additional 10.5 miles to get to 15 miles for the day. Those 10.5 miles actually went really well, and it wasn’t until the last mile that I started to feel fatigued.

Since we were still in Eagle River, I thought it would be fun to check out this Bear Paw Festival.

It was your typical carnival rides and vendors with the booths set up selling various homemade goods. (The mountains in the background are very beautiful.)

Craig and I walked around a while enjoying the nice day. We don’t get really excited about events like this, but it is fun to do something different every once in a while.

After coming home, it was straight to the tub for an ice bath for me. But then it was time to get fancied up for some date-night action.

I bought a Groupon to Ling & Louie’s which we had heard good reviews about so we were interested in trying it out ourselves.

My handsome date.

The inside of the restaurant.

I ordered the Evil Jungle Princess Chicken.

I really liked my dish, but it was mostly just chicken and rice, so I wished there would have been more vegetables. I also requested brown rice but ended up with Jasmine rice instead. It looked like Craig got the brown rice instead in his dish.

Craig ordered Ling’s Seafood Hot Pot.

Craig really liked it, but it was too spicy for me.

For dessert we ordered the Chocolate Volcano. It was good but not good enough to order again.

After dinner, we rented the movie Big Miracle. I really just wanted to see this because it was filmed in Anchorage and we saw Drew Barrymore at a local cafe while she was in town filming it.

Overall, it was a pretty cute movie—definitely a good family-type movie. It was fun to try and figure out where some of the scenes were filmed around town. I think we got the biggest laugh when Sarah Palin showed up in the movie as the sports newscaster. Ha!

Time to go to bed!