Saturday, June 6, 2009

New 5k PR: 16:34

So, I took a break from training yesterday to rest up for a 5k that I was considering running today: The Finnegan's Get Lucky 5k Run (or crawl), hosted in conjunction with the World Beer Pong Championship. I ended up staying out until 4 in the morning hanging out with some friends, but woke up today and decided around 1:30 PM that I would indeed run it despite the torrential downpour outside (the race was at 3:30). I got there around 2:30 and found out I was the first person there (no surprise due to the rain). I hung out in the biker bar that was hosting the event until about 3:20 and finally went out and jogged a mile or so just to see how miserable it was in the rain. It did indeed prove to be horribly miserable outside, so I decided that since there were only 100 people or so and the competition didn't look too tough, I would just go for a win and do whatever I needed to do to get it. When we lined up, a few faster looking guys that I hadn't seen lined up near me, so I figured I'd actually have to run well to get the W. When we took off, some other guy and I ended up taking off about side by side, neither of us wanting to let the other get ahead. We did the first mile in 5:14, which sounded a little fast, but really didn't feel that uncomfortable. At that point, we were still matching almost exactly stride for stride and I was feeling fairly confident, but somewhat worried, because I had no idea what this guy's background was. He didn't have a watch and asked me about the first mile, so we struck up a conversation for about 20 seconds and exchanged PRs (he was very slightly faster, but I had only done 1 in the last 2 years and hadn't worked very hard for my PR since I had an easy win in that race, so I felt I had an advantage). I felt that we slowed down slightly after conversing, though we still remained together. The course was an out and back and I crossed around the cone at the halfway point in 8:20, right before he did since I was on the inside. After going around the cone, he didn't quite catch back up to running beside me, but I could hear his feet splashing in all the puddles right behind me, so I knew he was close. I made a conscious effort not to push too hard in the 2nd mile, since I was worried that he might have a kick and didn't want him to be able to surge past me if I ran out of energy. I ended up doing it in 5:30, for a 10:44 2-mile. One other point to keep in mind was that there was a very tall bridge that we had to summit and descend in both mile 1 and 3, but mile 2 was flatter and easier, so it really was considerably easier than mile 1. When we got to the bridge again right after the beginning of mile 2, I dropped the hammer and that's when I knew the race was mine. He had been around 2 or 3 seconds back at the 2nd mile mark, but I edged it to something like 5 or 6 seconds on the uphill and burned the downhill as fast as I could to increase the lead as much as possible. Shortly after the downhill, while sustaining a faster pace, I noticed that I couldn't hear his steps anymore, so I just grinded it out at that pace to the finish and hit the last 1.1o7 miles in 5:50, good for 5:16/mile after mile 2. My total time was 16:34, just a hair under 5:20/mile on average. I finished feeling somewhat tired, but sure that I had room to run faster if I'd have needed to. My nearest competitor that had run with me for 2 miles finished, I believe, 23 seconds back, so my smart race tactics definitely helped. This drops 28 seconds off what I ran at the Fiesta 5k back a month or so ago and I'm sure that I have room to run plenty faster. The rain was pretty painful, the wind seemed to be whipping everywhere but never really helping, and the 2 major uphills definitely did not help my time. I claimed the win in my last 2 5ks (and the only 2 I've done recently), so I think what I'll need to do to run the fastest time possible is to run something on a totally flat course in good conditions where a number of people are definitely going to be faster than me and I will have to run my hardest the whole way. I'm glad that I got pushed somewhat today because I honestly probably would've settled for an 18 minute win if no-one had been close by me. I'm going to have to pick another 5k or 2 throughout the summer when I get to Utah and if I can find something fast and flat with good competition, I'm sure that sub-16 will not be a problem whatsoever. For now though, I'm happy to have dropped to a 16:34.

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