Saturday, March 21, 2009

2009 Snake Chase 5K

Despite a few minor hiccups in the beginning (race planner forgot safety pins, everyone was lined up in front of the start line which wasn't actually the start line, etc.), this really was an ideal set-up for a race and a lovely, fairly fast course.

The day was a little on the chilly side and a bit of a breeze generally out of the south. I jogged around for about 20 minutes warming up, peeling layers and then finally into a few striders.

I lined up near the front with less than 5 minutes to go. When the gun went off, we went surging, and a few familiar faces darted way, way ahead of me. I looked at my watch and we were running in the low 5s. I knew this wasn't good, so I let them go and thought, "See you later."

Dozens of runners passed me at this point, and I continued to roll back my pace until started to see 7:00, which felt unimaginably slow at the time. So slow, in fact, I was deeply concerned if my watch were correct. Two runners in particular continued to drive a wedge in between me and them, setting what seemed to be an impossible distance to ever make up. I wasn't sure what to trust--their pace, my feeling or my watch. I decided it was best to mind the watch, as it was the only scientific thing I had. I continued to pull back and it felt all wrong.

But then, things seemed to normalize, and those who sprinted ahead... a few stayed there, but then I found myself gaining on them with no increase in speed whatsoever. Before I knew it, I was past those two (along with many others), and was only to see one runner again. I turned 1 mile in 6:50.

I hit the turn around point at exactly 11:00 minutes, meaning... if I could keep up the pace, I quite possibly could hit my 22:00 goal. But what I wasn't expecting was the wind in my face (nothing major, but still notable when I was a bit fatigued), and I was already beginning to suffer. It was slightly after here that one runner passed me, but I was not passed again, and I pretty much hung on behind him for the rest of the race. He finished just a few seconds ahead of me, and when we crossed, he turned and shook my hand. Somehow, I managed to not puke on him.

It was a good race, and an official new 5K PR of 22:17 (21 seconds off my previous PR of 22:38 on a slightly easier course which I ran in January). I also took an age group first place win by nearly two full minutes.

Looks like I still have some work to do, but I'm getting closer to my goal. My average pace was 7:05, which at exactly 3.1 would have gotten me there. But we all know that's never the case in a real race, so I will have to work harder. The good news is, I am consistently and measurably getting faster. And I still have a few months to go for the season!

Route:--Elev. Avg:753 ft
Location:Kansas City, MOElev. Gain:-4 ft
Date:03/21/09Up/Downhill: [+370/-374]
Time:09:00 AMDifficulty:2.4 / 5.0
52 F temp; 66% humidity
52 F heat index; winds SE 6

Distance: 3.15 miles

Speed:8.5 mph

Pace:7' 05 /mi


Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
16' 50-0' 158.8+0.30 ft
27' 04-0' 018.5+0.0+16 ft
37' 13+0' 088.3-0.2-27 ft
end6' 52-0' 138.7+0.2+6 ft
Versus average of 7' 05 min/mile

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Rick said...

Great job, Alex! Congrats on the PR! Way to run your own race and let the others blow themselves up!

laryssa said...

Great job Alex! I LUV how you chose to run *your* race & trust your gut -- pardon me, your watch. :-) know what I'm saying -- wisdom pays off in the end.

Travis said...

Very nice work. You'll be at your goal soon.

Sharneysrun said...

Every time you race, you PR!! Way to go :-)

runner-grrl said...

Rick, Thanks :-) I thought if the numbers were accurate they probably were going to blow up. But I was surprised at how early it happened and how severe it ended up being. One finished 1:58 behind me, the other almost 3:00 behind me. It was a good lesson for me. :-) --Alex

runner-grrl said...

Laryssa, As always, you are a huge inspiration to me! Thanks so much for the visit :-) I wish you the very best when you face your key opponents in two weeks, God Speed!!! I will be waiting anxiously to hear all about it :-) Now that I've had a night to think about it, I actually realize that there were some real valuable lessons I just took home. And I was thinking it was a boring race... it really wasn't. --AG

runner-grrl said...

Travis, Thanks :-) I am counting on it. And you will too! Best wishes in Olathe next weekend!! --Alex

runner-grrl said...

Sharon, I'm really happy that it seems clear I am still getting faster and stronger and have a few years of improvement ahead of me. I refuse to accept my age as a limiting factor (though many others around me are talking like that about themselves). Thanks for the visit! I'm anxious to hear about your running. Please write soon :-) and tell me all about it! --Alex