Saturday, November 6, 2010

Run For Runaways 5K

This race in the beautiful Duke Island Park was one DH and I ran in 2008. I remembered it being flat and fast. So, when I was looking for another 5K in the general timeframe, I landed on this one. Now that I do trackwork with the group most Tuesdays, I have sorta gotten over my repulsion for running fast with tongue hanging out, and gotten more comfortable being uncomfortable all through a race...heck, I felt like the ground was giving way under me during the entire 15K I ran 2 weeks ago, so 3 miles of discomfort is right up my alley. The chachkis are great at this race...and so is the food. The fact that it is USATF certified made a teeny difference, not because I am one of the stars vying for a top spot on the prestigious USATF scorecard (and boy, does it get competitive), but because I got a couple of dollars off the registration fee.

So, I arrived shivering (it was in the mid 30's and despite years of practice, I have nary a clue of how to dress appropriately in cold weather), did a 2.5 mile warm-up, by which point I was quite toasty, stretched and strode (strided?), then trotted to the start line where there was a diligent group stretching session in progress. Marc from the track group was scheduled to run this race, but at the start line, he told me he decided to drop out because of a pulled calf muscle (the darned muscle decided to act up less than an hour before the race). Poor Marc! He was so looking forward to this race. But he took it like a man and stayed on to cheer Bob and me. Glenn had also decided to show up and race, despite being signed up for another race tomorrow. Ugh! 2 races in a weekend. These compulsive race fanatics!

Anyhoo, the race itself was not too exciting. Pretty course, but as usual, didn't pay a mite of attention to the scenery. I went out too fast, was wheezing the entire time, muttering curses...you know, the whole 5K rigmarole that is becoming very familiar to me at this point. It was a tad demoralizing that a number of little kids were cruising along ahead of me. But I plodded on, and picked a woman in a pink jacket as my rabbit. She was running about 6:30-6:45 pace, and so I was forced to run that pace. Here's where a little strategy came into play. She picked up the pace a bit, so did I. She dropped the pace, and despite being sorely tempted, I held back. I stayed a few paces behind her throughout Mile 1 and 2, because I knew if I had to pace myself, I was toast. Everyone who knows anything about how I race, knows I ABSOLUTELY SUCK at pacing. So there we were, wheezing along (actually, I was wheezing loudly, she was breathing evenly and quietly...she was probably dying to shake me off just to clear the air around her of the aggravating, choking noise I was producing) till the water stop at Mile 2. That is where I spied Marc, yelling and pumping his arms. Now, Marc has this huge pep and vigor about him that is overwhelmingly contagious...and that is the kind of thing that coupled with endorphins, make a runner do crazy things...like speed up when you are already running a pace you shouldn't be running at. So I heard Marc yell something like, Only 1.1 miles to go, you should have nothing left in the end (Marc is also a professor, so even in such intense moments, you can count on him to be accurate to the tenth of a mile). I scooped a cup of water from the hand of the nearest kid, spilling some of it over her, most of it on the road and choking on the last drop (ah, if you are looking for finesse, you will not find it here), while passing my rabbit. We proceeded thus for a half mile, with me barely managing to stay ahead, and her hot on my heels. The final half mile is annoyingly deceptive. Just as you are ready to burst gloriously through the finish chute (or crash unceremoniously into it), you discover that there is a rather long, winding stretch of park road that you have to maneuver to get to it. By this point, I had put some distance between Pink Rabbit and myself, but I sent a whisper of thanks to her for helping me stay on pace (a much faster one than I had dared hope for). I finished somewhere between ceremonious bursting and unceremonious crashing. The official clock says I finished at 20:41:6, a 6:40 pace. 23/241 overall, 5/112 women and 1/9 in my age category. (Frank Forerunner timed my miles at 6:33, 6:41 and 6:36 - 20:42 overall for 3.14 miles, a 6:36 overall pace). A 3.75 mile cool down crawl, and I was ready for the goodies.

My secret stretch goal was less than 21 minutes. You will appreciate my need for secrecy when I tell you I have raced 3 5Ks this year, the first one in June (22:41), the second less than a month ago (21:33). 20:41 on my record counts as a miracle, so I wasn't about to declare it, until I actually ran it. And now for the speech. I've got to thank my race rabbit Joyce; my illustrious track-buddies, especially Coach Spook and my regular pace bunny Doug; and a huge thanks to Bob, who knocks sense into me every now and then when I try to foolishly run too much or push through pain. I can't help being awed by the fact that I am the youngest of them all and by far the slowest. But I am ECSTATIC...2 minutes off my 5K in one season! Time to rest on my laurels...no more 5Ks this season!!!

11 comments:

Joshi Thomas said...

Congrats !! That is really fast.

Abby said...

Hmm... not sure I'll be able to keep up with you when we get together for a run :) AWESOME race! Think a sub-20 is in your future next season?

Emily said...

awesome job! sounds like a great race. :) i hate 5ks, too...i have no idea how to pace them, and i feel like death the entire time.

Mica said...

Wow, that is a speedy-as-crap 5K, congratulations! I am also terrible at pacing, and I haven't run enough 5K's to have a good strategy yet.

Mica said...

Wow, that is a speedy-as-crap 5K, congratulations! I am also terrible at pacing, and I haven't run enough 5K's to have a good strategy yet.

Irene said...

Congrats! Those are some nice stats!

It's amazing that no matter how fast you become there are kids that go faster. What are they eating? Haha.

Regardless, you did beautifully.

rawbanana said...

I love your sense of humor. I actually SIRL (smiled-in-real-life) at your discription of wheezing and your antics at the water stop. I am the same way only I am STRIDES behind your pace. I have only been running since July so I have hope that in time I can run a 20 minutes and change, 5K!

desi said...

Kavi You Rock!

chris mcpeake said...

congrats on getting your goal. Excellent time

I Run for Fun said...

Thanks, all! Abby, I look forward to running with you.

rawbanana, thanks a lot for stopping by. Love your blog!

Scheri said...

Great job! You've really done well this year!!! I'm always intimidated by 5ks. After my next marathon, hopefully a PR by 11+ mins, I'll want to tackle a few 5ks :-)