Sunday, March 18, 2012
Chasing the pack
Really started having doubts earlier in the week that this would even be a race and not a parade like so many of the races have become. I was only able to find last years times and they were pretty slow. No online map and no course certification. Worst case scenario, I brought the MP3 player so I could at least enjoy some tunes if it was a parade.
Standing around at registration it was really starting to look like the last parade at the zoo. No course map anywhere, but a couple of the fast guys from my age group did show up. Race on. Talked to JF for awhile at the start and headed out for my warmup. I'd even made a race playlist, in case this thing played out as a parade. Good tunes for the warmup. Slogged around for 2 miles and came back to put on the racing flats. Sure had been a long time since I'd last worn them.
The first part of my plan was to not look at my watch. It wasn't a hard fast rule. Didn't wear the GPS for the warmup only the Timex. For the goal race, I'll probably just go watchless, then it won't be an issue. Put the GPS on for this race, because I wanted the data to see if any of my training was actually working.
The second part of my plan was to start out easy. I placed myself back from the start line away from the 3 guys I was planning on racing. I wanted to keep them in sight, but not go out to fast. The gun fired and I was in the middle of the pack. This worked out well, the fast guys were ahead of me by 20 yards before we'd even started to thin out. Once the little kids started fading at a quarter mile I settled into a pace.
By the time the half mile mark came up, I was already within striking distance of my first target. Way to early to pass him, so I sat off the shoulder of the only young lady ahead of me. Well, not really on her shoulder that's just to creepy for an old fart like me. This was the first time I looked at my watch, 6:17 pace. About where I wanted to be, I was thinking 6:20 mile one, 6:15 mile two and then 6:05 or better for the last mile. Thought about just riding out another mile or so behind her, but went ahead and pushed on by. No one else seemed to be pushing the pace, they were holding steady.
I was only able to pass one more runner before the finish that was JF. Pushed by with authority so he wouldn't try to stay with me. Thankfully he didn't, because it sure seemed like I heard him breathing down my neck for the rest of the race. Never did look at my watch again until the finish. In hindsight, that was a mistake. I would have seen that mile two, I slowed down. Should have tried to stay with the one runner who did pass me, right after I'd passed JF. Spent the rest of the race trying to close the gap on the one runner in front of me that was catchable. Only got within 6 seconds at the line, and another plastic trophy.
Really surprised to see the clock at 18:xx as I approached. Pushed hard to the line and hit it at 18:50. Didn't seem like that kind of effort. It wasn't, short course 2.94 miles according to the GPS. I'll take it. Nice training effort, but it didn't hurt enough. That was the cool thing about the 5k distance, it sure is over quick. Now I need to decide what training to be able to push into the pain and hold it. 800 meters? Probably, 1,000 meter repeats, that's the one distance I seem to struggle at the most in training.