The forecast on Thursday and Friday FOR Saturday was a cold almost snowy forecast. I was beginning to wonder how that would play into the race and how it would affect my time. Luckily, it’s Monday and now the cold weather has hit the region, so for race day, it was near perfect racing condition.
The later start time (8:30) made it a lot easier to get ready in the morning. Somehow an extra 1/2hr really makes a lot of difference. I don’t know why… but it does. I made it to the race location with plenty of time to spare. For once, I was not pressed for time as I went to get my race goody bag and headed back to the car to drop off the non-race items. But hanging out at the car, I did look at my watch and realize that I better get to race start before I see the runners pass by while I was still in the car!
I made it to race start and listened to the standard fare of pre-race rules, sponsor list, etc. I was pretty ready to get the race started. I know the course pretty well (foreshadowing) and felt pretty comfortable with the layout. I was trying to see runners that I knew their typical pace as to set myself in the right location. Based on most of the guesses for my Guess My Time contest, I was expected to run somewhere around a 7:30 mile. Something I wasn’t sure if I could muster for 3 miles… but this is a race!
The gun goes off and I am jockeying for a comfortable place in the mass of runners. There were 250+, so the congestion was a factor for the first 1/4 mile. Most of the runners that took off too fast were being slowed by the first decent hill. Staying consistent, it feels like you are sprinting past these people when you know that really their slowing down.
Mile 1: 7:58
I knew right there that the 23:30ish would be out of the question. There were too many hills (foreshadowing) that speeding up would not be feasible for that strong of a finish under my current training. However, I knew that at my present speed, I was aiming for a 25ish finishing time and this just wasn’t acceptable. So, I increased my pace.
Going up the large hill, I moved over to the left out of the traffic and proceeded to churn up the hills. I knew there was a straight away reprise at the top that I could recover some before the hills towards the end of the course (foreshadowing).
Mile 2: 7:32
Oh there was a reprise… and I milked it for all that it was worth, BUT, I totally blanked on a small steep hill section before the hills in the residential section. Oi! that threw the race strategy a kink. So what do you do when your race strategy starts to fall apart during the race? That’s Right, you run to the side of the road, sit down and cry you size up the current situation and you make a new one. This is where Knowing The Race Course, is important.
Remembering this hill, I backed off my pace a little. Mainly to allow my lungs to catch up and adjust to harder workout. My plan was to back off slightly on my pace during the rolling hills and that I would save the rest for the very end, as a final burst of speed. The change here was that normally at this stage in the 5k, I am looking for runners ahead of me to over take at the end. This is a much more aggressive finishing tactic where The Kick (sprint at the end) is used to beat runners as opposed to time.
Given my current ability, towards the end of races, there are not a lot of people that pass me. But it does happen, and I don’t let it really worry me all that much. As I was nearing the final turn (about 0.3 from finish), a few more people had passed me than usual, no biggie.
Now in the final 0.3 mile, you start at the top of the hill, run down it, then a little bit up on the other side. The view from here is that you can see the finish the entire way from here. At this point, there was a huge gap between me and the two runners directly ahead of me. There wasn’t much of a chance to pass them because the first part of the downhill was recovery from the hills I just finished.
At this point, I still don’t have an idea of my time but I am trying to beat the clock. I’m coming down the hill with purpose. I’m now starting to let my stride widen as I try to increase my speed. The two runners are ahead of me, grouped together, they could be buddies or just running together to helping each other to the finish line but I was just starting the uphill and thought they were too far ahead of me.
Until this video popped into my head
And I let everything go and picked up speed. I’m not sure where I found the extra speed, but I found some. By the time I passed the two runners, I made sense of the finishing clock and it was just over the 24 minute mark. Official Finishing time 24:12.
I finished 9th out of 16 in my age group.
One weird thing from the race. My bib number was 69 (dude!) and so after an inner low-brow chuckle at that, I was surprised at the final results.
Place Name Gender Age Bib Time
69 Higgins, Terry M 36 69 24:12
I finished 69th out of 236 finishers…
Next Races: Ribbon Run 5k (April 19th) & Trideltathon (April 20th)