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 Fairport 5k Race Report
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Fairport 5k Race Report Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 3:19 pm 

OK, I'll start by sharing with you the super secret, behind the scenes email correspondence between Rickshaw and myself from yesterday:

"Re the race tomorrow, well, I ran this 2 or 3 years ago and drove the course again at lunch yesterday. There's a pretty big hill from around 0.8 to 1.1 miles, but other than that it's pretty flat. The last time I ran it I was totally unfamilar with the course and the hill caught me off guard. This year, knowing what the course is like, and given my recent tempo and interval workout performances, I'm hoping to break 22:00 (7:06 pace), which would be a 15-second per mile improvement over my race on 4/1. A 21:50 (7:03 pace) would put me at VDOT 45 according to the charts in Daniels (although the damn calculator on Runworks only calls it a 44.8!). I'm feeling pretty good, and ran 4 miles tempo on Tuesday in 7:08, 7:28, 7:35, 7:10 and definitely had effort to spare. It was probably worthless in terms of lactate threshold training, since I should have been running VDOT 43 7:42 tempo pace, but it was a good confidence booster for me. So, my fingers are crossed. My new mantra is a quote from a 2:21 marathoner who recently qualified for the Olympic Trials with that time: "Don't think you can show up on race day and do something you've never done before. A lot of people think they can draw on some special magic because it's 'race day,' but you need to be honest with yourself." I think I've suffered from those sorts of 'race day' delusions in the past, where I've expected results that had no foundation in my training performances. But I feel like my training's been very solid lately both in terms of mileage and speedwork (30, 30, 30, 35 miles last 4 weeks), and so I think like my expectation to break 22:00 is based in reality."

So, I was hoping for a 21:59 or better going into this race.

I warmed up for about a mile and a half with a few brief strides thrown in. From what I've read, I suspect that I haven't been warming up enough for 5k's in the past, nor have I kept my heart rate elevated enough right before the start, so I tried to correct that today. The gun went off and within 0.2 miles we're on a short uphill going over a bridge, and I'm breathing fairly hard already. I try to control my pace here so I don't go out too fast, but I don't want to be too slow because I know I've got that big hill still to come in the first mile. I'm pretty much holding my own with the people I'm running next to, although 3 or 4 breeze by me on the flat leading up to the hill. The hill itself wasn't too bad, and I pressed myself up it at as fast a pace as seemed prudent, but where there should have been a 1 mile marker somewhere right around the top of the hill, I found nothing. So I'm running blind now in terms of how fast or slow I ran that first mile, and don't know whether to be happy or sad. But I do my best to just roll quickly down the backside of the hill the way you're supposed to, trying not to brake myself at all as I go down. At this point I'm running behind a woman who I overheard before the start saying she'd just run a 3:40 at Boston, a young guy with tatoos on this arms, and an older guy who I'm thinking might be in my age group. I'm right with the woman, but the two guys are 25 to 50 yards ahead of me. I'm breathing hard, but without that 1 mile split I just don't know if I can back off to get back closer to even 2-2 breathing, or if doing so would cost me that <22:00 I really want. Soon I see the course's one water stop, and the 2 mile mark. My watch: 14:17. Damn...behind pace. I'm telling myself that there's just one mile to go, and that I should be pouring it on now because I can do anything for just a mile, but my mind games aren't working. Who am I kidding?! Maybe I can do anything for about 50 yards, but a mile? No way. I'm still breathing hard, but I've dropped 3:40 woman somewhere in the past 1/4 mile and can't hear her footsteps anymore. Instead, I'm passed (quickly!) by a woman about my age with pink trim on her shoes. I tell her she's looking strong, and she says she's been working hard for it. "Make it pay," I say. "I'm trying!," was the answer as she cruised away from me. Soon I'm back on the main stretch where we re-cross the Erie Canal, and I catch myself losing focus and slowing down, but force myself back on the best pace I think I can maintain. Tatoo guy and the older guy are still 20 - 25 yards in front of me as we all struggle up the incline before the bridge. At the top of the bridge there's about a 1/4 mile left, and I give it all I've got. Just before the 3 mile point I realize tatoo guy and the older guy are coming back to me...I have to admit I think they were slowing down, rather than my speeding up, and I thought "screw that!", I'm not slowing down 0.1 before the finish! I zipped passed them both, not having bothered to look at my watch since the 2 mile point, but I'm pretty sure I'm looking at 22:10, 22:15, something like that. I kick it in as hard as I could, blowing like a freight train as I gasp for air. As I cross the finish line I hear "21:50". Later, looking at the official times out to tenths and hundredths I read 21:49:97.

Hah!!! For the first time in what seems like ages, I ran a good race, and not one where I'd be rationalizing, "well, if the course were flatter, if the weather were cooler, if I weren't just getting over a cold," fill in the blank with whatever excuse is convenient. For the first race in ages I can be happy that I met all my expectations, having first done the work to justify those expectations.

13th place out of 64, I think, but 5th in my age group. Being a mid-40's runner is not a good thing if you're looking for age group placement!

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Fairport 5k Race Report Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 4:41 pm 

Yeah baby! Awesome race report. Way to go! I did some internet sleuthing earlier today to try to discover how your race went, but I wasn't sure what race you were doing, and so I found some other 5K in your area that was also today. Doh!

Sounds like you paced it pretty well. 7:09/mi average for the first two miles, and 6:46/mi for the last 1.1, according to my figuring. Any time you can squeeze it down hard at the end of the race like that has got to feel great. And running a little bit conservatively in the first two miles, even if it wasn't intentional, probably helped a lot. And you've also got to give credit to tattoo guy and his buddy-- chasing them down must have felt great, and given you that little kick you needed to push hard at the end.

Wow, I can't believe you improved your 5K pace by 15 seconds per mile in the space of only a month. You haven't boosted your steroid dosages, have you? :-) In the whole time I've been running, I think I've only improved my 5K pace by about 30-40 seconds per mile. 15 seconds/mile in a month is tremendous. Congratulations.


South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Fairport 5k Race Report Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:33 pm 

Way to go OldManRunner! That sounds like the type of race that sticks with you for a while; one where you replay it over in your mind as you're drifting off to sleep at night. Or am I the only one does this? I bet it was fun to zip past tatoo guy and the older guy as you came into the finish. How about "pink trim" lady. Do you know if you made up any distance on her. I love it when someone zips by me with a mile to go and then I pass them with about 1/10 of a mile to go.

That's definitely one of the best parts of running a race....passing people who passed you earlier. In fact, I sometimes try to make note of the people passing me who look like they may be pushing too hard too soon and I look for them again in the last mile. It's great incentive to really gut it out near the end of the race when you want so badly to pass those people.

Good job, man!

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Fairport 5k Race Report Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:46 am 

Thanks Rickshaw. Unfortunately, I think that 15 second per mile improvement was the easy part. Since first reading Jack Daniels and becoming familiar with his VDOT tables a few years ago, I've always hovered around VDOT 45 when I'm pretty fit. It seems to be my readily obtainable plateau, so I guess now I'm back there again. The hard part is improving beyond that level, which I've really only done once before, right before the Des Moines Marathon. Even then I couldn't honestly say I'd made it all the way to VDOT 47...only if I threw in a few "if only it were less hilly, cooler, warmer, less windy" caveats. So now the hard work begins!

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Fairport 5k Race Report Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:49 am 

Mfox I finished right behind pink trim woman...not sure by how much, but she was still getting the tear-off portion of her bib removed as I came rolling across the finish line. She trounced me square and fair, though, and clearly had been "putting in the work"! And yes, it felt great to zip past tatoo guy and the older guy, although I just remember wondering why the heck they were slowing down with a tenth of a mile to go!

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