Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K [Fitness Friday]


As you probably know, I’ve spent the last 8 weeks training for a personal record in a 5K race. Specifically, I wanted to break the 23 minute mark. I would have been happy with a 22:59. My PR is 23:24 which I hit in April with no 5K specific training, just HIIT, some long runs, and lifting weights.

I had my eye on the Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K because it’s known as a fast and flat course. Basically, perfect for PRs.


Sadly, to cut to the chase, I did not PR at the race last Saturday and I didn’t break 23 minutes.

I honestly don’t know what happened. Was it my training? Did I not do enough fast runs? Did I not hit the right times on the interval and tempo runs I did? Did I do too much strength lifting and not enough power and conditioning lifting? Was it too humid? Was I too stressed out?

I do know that when my friend Annabelle ran alongside me towards the finish line, yelling encouragement at me, all I could say was, “I don’t know if I can do this.” And then I burst into tears.


Was it hormones? Was it not enough confidence building runs? Was it that I’ve gained some weight since April?

I cried when I finished. Several other runners asked if I was okay and gave me encouragement. But it still sucks to fail at a goal, you know?

Was I so upset because I’d told everyone about my goal and then I didn’t achieve it? Did I feel like I was letting everyone down?

Running is so funny. You can train and do everything you think is right and you can still not hit your goals on race day and you might never know why.

I’ve never trained specifically for a 5K PR before. I have to say, though, it’s really discouraging to do the training and see basically no tangible results. Jason kept saying that maybe I would have done worse if I hadn’t done the training (I finished in an official 23:44, by the way), but I’ll never know.

I’m debating doing another 5K race this fall. I just don’t know if I have it in me right now to set a goal time. I will say, I had much more fun earlier this year when I was just running with no time goals in mind and being pleasantly surprised when I PRed.

So, I have some things to think about. For now, though, I’m going to enjoy lifting and doing whatever cardio I want. At least until marathon training starts!


  • Monday 9/19 – Leg strength workout (easy & light)
  • Tuesday 9/20 – 3 mile run and upper body strength workout
  • Wednesday 9/21 – 30 minute tempo run (treadmill)
  • Thursday 9/22 – Leg strength workout (easy & light)
  • Friday 9/23 – Upper body strength workout
  • Saturday 9/24 – 5K race (with .8 mile warm-up)
  • Sunday 9/25 – Rest

13 replies on “Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K [Fitness Friday]

  1. Mike

    Aww, I’m really sorry to hear that you didn’t reach your goal, Erin. I know about that kind of disappointment. Not with running but with other things that I love to do passionately and sometimes I fail to complete them, or I feel like I didn’t do it well enough; it totally sucks right?

    Maybe it was just an off day that you had. We all have them every once and a while. But cheer up! You’ll nail the next race for sure! With all of the training that you do, you’re sure to do great on your next run! Don’t give up! You can do it! 🙂

  2. Anne

    This “Running is so funny. You can train and do everything you think is right and you can still not hit your goals on race day and you might never know why.” And you can also do NOTHING right and get a PR out of it! I’ve PR’d after getting no sleep and even while being hungover, yet sometimes when I’m really prepared for a race, it’s just not my day. It happens to all of us.

    I don’t think your training was for nothing though. You still finished pretty close to your current PR. Maybe try again when the weather is a little cooler and less humid?

  3. Kandi

    I’m sorry you didn’t get your goal but you still ran a fast race! I know I tend to do worse if I put too much pressure on myself before the race (I start getting GI issues that I think are stress related as a result of high expectations). Maybe if you try another race without putting so much pressure on yourself you’ll have better results? Or maybe you’ll finish around the same time. Who knows. But, based on your reaction to not reaching your goal, you definitely tried your hardest during that race. Try not to be so hard on yourself.

  4. Holly

    You were less than a minute off time…..
    I love you’re blog, your pics , your goals and training……
    Please keep up the good work & run on…..

  5. Emily @ Out and About

    I am really sorry that you didn’t get your goal. There are SO MANY FACTORS that go into a race, and it’s impossible to know or control all of them. If it were easy, all of us would be Olympic-caliber runners and millionaires. Even the elites have days when things don’t go the way they planned.

    I agree with the sentiments about the mental game. When I know I’m attempting to PR, it really messes with my head. Plus, in a 5K, there is so little room for error, too. Sometimes I’m already feeling defeated just after the first mile! It also sounds like the weather wasn’t ideal that day, which can be a HUGE factor. We are all human, not machines. And heck, even machines don’t work perfectly all the time!

    Be proud of yourself for stretching yourself to meet such challenging goals, and for putting yourself out there. I have so much admiration for all of your hard work and accomplishments! There is absolutely NO doubt in my mind that you can run a sub 23. You’ll get it the next time. Big hugs!!!

  6. Maggie

    “Was I so upset because I’d told everyone about my goal and then I didn’t achieve it? Did I feel like I was letting everyone down?”

    Who are you letting down???????? You running a PR affects no one else 🙂

    What were your splits? Were you running by pace, or effort? Have you ever tried training or racing by heart rate? If not, I bet you could easily PR once you got familiar with running/racing by heart rate.

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Haha, welcome to my anxiety! I don’t tell people things because what if, OMG THEY DON’T HAPPEN and then I’ve let everyone down. Shut up, brain.

      I’ve never trained by heart rate. My splits were, uh, not great, but everyone at this race tends to go out too fast. There’s just seems to be so little room for error in a 5K!

  7. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    Sigh. This makes me so sad, and not because of how you did, but because I know all too well how it feels to miss your goal, and that’s not a fun feeling at all – not something I’d wish on any other runner 🙁 Like you (and lots of other people here) said, running is so finicky, and sadly, doing everything right doesn’t guarantee everything will go right when it needs to, not by a long shot. But that doesn’t make your training any less worthwhile, and doesn’t make your performance any less impressive . No, you didn’t break 23, but you did break 24, which is nothing to sneeze at by any means – was this your second fastest 5K ever? It’s not as satisfying as a PR, of course, or as hitting your goal, but that’s still not a failure at ALL in my mind. Granted, I’ve never trained for a 5K PR, but I find it to be one of the more difficult distances to PR, so I usually judge my 5K success by how close my time is to my PR rather than if I PRed or not. Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better about Saturday and yourself now – I still think you’re great 🙂 Lots of hugs!

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      All excellent points 🙂 You’re correct that this is still my second fastest 5K. And I’ve never trained for a 5K PR specifically before. It’s definitely a learning process.

  8. Xat

    I’m sorry you didn’t make your goal or a PR, how disappointing. How long into the race did you know it wasn’t going to happen? This will be my first race season setting time goals and I feel uncertain about it. Finding a number that is challenging and feasible seems difficult.

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I was a bit concerned when my goal pace felt rough even during my warm-up. But I figured that the crowd and the adrenaline would help. However, I hit a wall during mile 2 and when I started seeing my pace creep over 8:00 I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

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