Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Fox 4 Love Fund 5K

I awoke shortly before 4 AM to lightning, thunder and pouring rain. I worried that the race might be called, and never fell back asleep. By 5 AM, I decided it was time to get up, eat and head out the door. I ate two servings of Cream of Wheat, had coffee and packed a cooler.

Arriving at the race about an hour before the start, the rain had dropped of to a mere drizzle, although lightning threatened in the distance. Even though I had chosen to run the race on a whim, I wanted to do just that; run the race. I really needed this.

I enjoyed walking around; watching the people show up. Soon, I shed my waterproof jacked and began my warm-up at 7:35 promptly, 30 minutes before start. I felt sluggish, slow.. and my watch seemed to indicate my slow, easy jogs were well in excess of 10:00 / mile. How on earth was I expecting to run sub 8s? For a mome
nt, I wondered if there were something wrong with my Garmin. But, no, probably not, I really was running that slowly.

Soon, it was time to line up (I'm 1734 in the picture). I didn't do this until nearly 8 AM, and discovered, to my dismay, there was no chip timing at the start. This would be my singular complaint about the race organization. No chip timing at the start incents bad behaviour, and encourages runners to line up close to the start when they have no business being there. This is exactly what happened
, to my frustration.

The gun went off, and I spent the first half mile moving around runners who were far, far slower. I was several seconds back from the start line. I didn't look at my watch for a pace; I simply searched for a pace by feel. My hopes of doing well had long since eroded. I glanced at my watch just as I turned the first mile, surprised to see it complete in 7:26. I was feeling better than I thought I would; either at that point, or at that pace. It was uncomfortably hard; but sustainable. I thought at this point I would probably break 24 minutes. I began to do the math to count backwards to remaining minutes / seconds
. My iPod declined to fire up in the car; so this math was my only entertainment.

My goal for the rest of the race would be to hold on to this pace. With light to no drizzle, a flat course, I found m
yself doing just that. Mile two was in 7:37 and mile three was in 7:43. I sprinted the last 10th, and was thrilled I finished in 23:38, beating both of my "PRs" for the 5K. This was enough to take a firm second in my age group, and I'm quite pleased.

I now have a new 5K PR! And I'm sitting down, about to watch the mens' Olympic marathon finals, sipping some champagne; I'm feeling quite happy.

1 comment:

Jesse said...

Wow. I really enjoyed your report. Great job! I've run 2 5K's with a PR of 00:26:01 done last October and I have a goal of hopefully shattering that at the next one! Thanks for the inspiration :)