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 Race for the Future 5K Report
Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Race for the Future 5K Report Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:50 pm 

I ran my first post-Boston race today, a local 5K along a dead flat course through the SF Bay marshlands. Marathon recovery has been going well, and if there's any lingering damage from the pounding my quads took, I can't detect it. I arrived at the race this morning feeling rested, strong, and raring to go.

Outside of the marathon, 5K is the race distance I care about most. It's been 18 months since I had a strong 5K result, but I hoped to post a good one today. My recent 10K and half-marathon times predicted a 5K somwhere in the 20:10 to 20:40 range. I hoped for something at the fast end of the range, maybe even challenging the 20:00 barrier in the best case. Breaking my 5K PR of 20:26 seemed like a reasonable goal, especially if OldManRunner could send me some of his mojo from his great race yesterday. I also wore my Nike Triax speedometer, to help check my pace in the early going and avoid starting too fast.

It was a pretty warm morning, with temps around 70, full sun, and little shade. The race got off to a chaotic start, as at first nobody knew where the starting line was, and then it turned out a car had parked in the middle of the 10K starting line. The car was duly moved... into the 5K starting line. Doh!

I knew that most of the 200-odd people in the 5K were joggers and walkers, with relatively few faster runners, from checking past results and checking the people around me. The 5K course went through a pinch point at a gate about 100 yards from the start, and then on to a narrow bike path, and I definitely didn't want to get stuck behind a crowd of slower people.

To keep away from the walkers, then, I toed the actual starting line. But about a minute before the start, 50-some stragglers came and planted themselves right in from of me. They were mostly little kids in identical school t-shirts, and older folks wearing sweatshirts and long pants. Grrr. At the start, I bolted out like a madman to reach the narrow gate before the crowd. Mission accomplished, I then cruised up the bike path, before glancing down to see that I was running at 5:10/mile pace. Yikes!! After about 300 yards, I settled back to a more reasonable 6:35 pace, which would translate to about a 20:30 finish.

The kids quickly faded, and I found myself running in 9th place, as far as I could tell. There were three guys way ahead of me, another group of four maybe 50 yards ahead, and a lone woman right in front of me. The first mile was 6:27, a little fast. I passed the woman, and started very slowly closing on the group of four. But at that point, the course went off a paved bike path onto a bumpy, gravel-filled trail, which threw me off a little. I felt like I kept a constant effort level, but the group of four started to pull away.The second mile was 6:58. Dang, how did I slow down that much?

Near the end, the course merged with the 10K, which had started 30 minutes earlier. I passed a lot of people, but I couldn't tell which race they were in. I was really feeling the burn, but every time I felt myself starting to slow down, I made another effort to hold on to the pace. Finally the finish area came into sight, and I tried to give it one last extra effort, but I didn't have much left. I could tell I was off my goal pace. I finished in 21:04, in 14th place overall. I don't know where those other six people came from, because I never saw them!

So I'm a little confused, and unable to explain why I missed my goal by as much as I did. I felt good and strong, and despite the early sprint, I think I paced it pretty well. In fact, reviewing my HR data, I kept an amazingly consistent effort level from mile 0.5 to the finish. The course was flat, and there wasn't any wind. That can only mean I'm just not as fit as I thought I was. I won't dwell on it though... I just need to keep working to get faster.

A couple of things boosted my mood after the race. I won 2nd place in my age group, which was great. And my HR data showed that I ran a really hard race, with an average HR in the three miles of 182, 187, and 189! That is a seriously ripping heart rate for me. Knowing that I gave it a really hard effort and ran the best race I could made me feel better about the whole experience. I'd rather gut it out and give it my all, and take my time as it may come, then wimp out and back off the pace when the going gets tough near the end.


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

Re: Race for the Future 5K Report Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:09 pm 

Great effort Rickshaw, and a great race report! Rather than faulting your fitness, I'd still chaulk your performance up to post-marathon recovery. It's only been two weeks, and that Boston course really wore your legs down. Try again in another two weeks and I bet you'll kick some butt, just like you kicked the butts of those elementary school kids in the matching shirts! Congratulations on the 2nd place age group finish. Someday I'll win a top 3 age group finish. Did you get any trinkets?

mfox

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

Re: Race for the Future 5K Report Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:11 pm 

Nice job RIckshaw! I agree with OldManRunner, you couldn't possibly be in your best 5K race shape after a Marathon only a week ago. I'm impressed you did as well as you did. You beat your VDOT predicted time based upon your Boston Marathon time (21:15).

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

Re: Race for the Future 5K Report Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:02 pm 

OldManRunner, I'm actually surprised you've never placed in the top 3 for your age group. You should run some races out here with all the walkers! Your times would be good enough to win you something in many of the smaller local races like this one.

For my 2nd place today, I did win a rather ugly medal with a picture of a brain on it, since it was a race to benefit brain cancer research. I think the race t-shirt may win the prize for ugliest shirt ever: a brain with legs, running, in lime green color.


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