The weather Saturday morning was absolutely wonderful for running. There was a slight chill in the air, it was about 50 degrees at dawn and was about 53-54 degrees at race start at 8:00am. There was some fog that was coming off the river as I approached Island Home, but none of the fog bothered the race.
As the name suggests, the 5k race goes to benefit the Tennessee School for the Deaf and is run on the island home section of Knoxville. For those of you who ran the marathon, part of the marathon course is on the same streets, right around the 21-22 mile mark.
I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to do since I had ran hard on Thursday and just the fact of limited training. I went out and ran a warm-up one mile run to get my engine up and running. I did a variety of tempo run and 50m strides to loosen up my legs. I made it back to the race start so that I could line up for the race. The nice thing to see at this race is the number of people who are signing to one another… something that I do not know how to do. It is customary to play the national anthem before the start of our road races here in Knoxville. Well, at this race, they have someone signing the national anthem… very cool. During the milling around before the guns went off , I tried to size up my competition in my age group around me. There was a number of men who were obviously 45-50+ and not too many that looked close to my age group. And who am I to guess ages, I don't look like I belong to the 30-34 age group. There was one person who looked liked he “could” be in my age group, so I decided to pace behind to him and see what happens.
THe gun went off and we cruised down the downhill start, turning left at the guard shack, the rest of the mile would be flat right until the 1 mile marker. My “target” was right in front of me and was able to keep up pretty well for the first 1/2 mile until I realized that he was running alot easier than I was… this meant that I would be unable to pace with him.
One of the secrets to getting a PR time in a short distance race is to start out fast. I don't mean sprint, but I mean faster than what is comfortable. The reason is that you will be getting distance between you and other runner behind you so that when you do slow down your relative velocity will be such that the other runners cannot make up the distance in the short distance left in the race. Now, if you bonk and have to walk, that is a different story, BUT if you go out running quickly and the have a healthy jog at the end, you'll generally do better than being consistent.
Anyway, I started out fast. I turned the first mile in 7:03 min and the hill at the mile marker didn't help me much. I slowed down some on the long downhill and took water at the 1.5 spot. It actually hurt to take the water, since it threw my whole rhythm off but I recovered. At the mile 2 split my time was 15:05, mile 2 was a whole mile slower. I would have to crank out a sub 7 mile to get a PR for today. Well, I wasn't shooting for a PR at this race anyway… so to save the suspense… I did not PR.
The last 0.2 mile of the race is a uphill finish which is something that I enjoy because I know it is the end and I can crank out the energy if I need it. As I turned to go up the hill, I saw someone almost at the halfway mark and it was my quest to pass him. As I came on the 3 mile mark, I saw that the time was 23 something and now my goal changed to passing the runner AND coming in under 24 minutes. I was able to pass the runner with about 250 ft left on the course and not only was passing him but was accelerating as well. I locked my eyes on the timer and it read 23:54… 55… 56… 57… and I cranked up the juice. Focusing on the timer, trying to get to the white strip… 23:59… 24:00 (Crap!)… FINISH.
In the finisher's chute, I tried to catch my breath, give up my bib strip and get some water. I had to walk a bit to catch my breath, but I headed to the gym for food and the awards. It ended being that I won a door prize! WOO HOO! It was some organizer thingies that are definitely not very masculine… so I gave them to Jen, but I was happy to win something… after all it might have been the only thing I might be winning today.
Interesting enough, none of the local hotshots were there. The overall Male winner was a 15yo and the over all female winner was a 12yo.. go figure. Anyway, on to the 30-34 male group. So the count up went as follows: “With a time of 28…” SWEET… that means that I either came in first or second! “And in Second place with a time of 26..” OH HELL YEAH! I won my age group with a measly time of 24:01 and was the recipientof a NICE marble plaque and a certificate.
My Split Time:
|Location||Split Time||Pace per Mile|
Note: The split times are MY watch times and the Finish time is the OFFICIAL time, so they might (and are) off by a few seconds because I start my watch when I cross the start line not at the gun.
You can check out the photo album Here