Run For All Ages 5K
Saturday, November 8, 2008
5K – Flat
18:07 (5:51 min/mile)
9th Overall of ~400
1st Age Group
*Earned $25 by winning age group – race paid for itself, and then some!
So many of you know that I don’t exactly do the short stuff when it comes to road races or triathlon. It’s not that I’m not interested but rather that, well, I usually have some long training session to get in instead, or because I’d rather go out for a social long run with LRR, the Diesel, and the Andyman. I mean, if you ran with those hooligans, you wouldn’t be able to resist either. But the short of it is that I don’t race the short stuff very often.
On top of that, I haven’t done proper speed work on the run since early this year. That’s a long time away from quality running. So I was very curious to see where I was with regard to my pacing in a 5K. Could I crack an average of 6 minute miles? I had no idea. Whatever would come would come, and I’d take it and use it to build on for the next few months as my off-season goal. On top of all of this, my last standalone 5K was, like, back in 2004 or 2005. The Nashville Hangover Run. I’ve done a few 5-milers over the years, but if I counted only enough to fill the digits on one hand.
So this morning I toed the line of the Run For All Ages 5K in nearby Wakefield, Massachusetts very curious what I could do. Having run the Manchester City Marathon last Sunday and put in a 9 mile run the day before, I wasn’t exactly hopeful for a fast time, but I was excited because I knew it would be fun and I knew I’d get in what would be the beginning of speed work for me — only my start would be during a race.
Gun went off and quickly I found myself up with the leading pack of about 20. There were probably 400 entries in the small town race, so I was feeling good about it considering the number of runners.
Mile 1 came very quickly in 5:45. I promised myself if the first mile was slow or fast, or regardless of time, I wouldn’t freak out. I would simply run by feel. By this time I was on edge and sitting in, maybe, 15th place.
From Mile 1 to 2, which I did in 5:5x, I set sights on a runner friend, steadily trying to close the gap. As I did I passed another 5 or 6. At that point I could still see the lead pack of 4 not too far up but far enough that I knew I wouldn’t catch them.
At mile 2 I caught my friend and one other. At this point I counted that I was sitting in 10th place. At this point I also saw the lead pack, battling for first place, break apart when one guy started falling off, followed by another, followed by the other two pushing even harder.
From mile 2 to 3, still under 6 minute pace, I started feeling the fatigue of the 9 mile run the day before. Where I would normally be able to hold on and even push a little more, I only had enough energy to hold on, maintain position.
During this stretch, I watched my runner friend pull up 10 seconds on me as we both came upon a few other runners. One dropped back just enough that I knew, if I wanted to be within the Top-10, like to finish in the single digits, I’d have to push even harder. I tried. But all I could do was maintain pace. But surprisingly to me, that was good enough to climb into 9th place. Meanwhile, up ahead of me, my runner friend caught another. But for me, I ran out of space. That’s where we all finished.
I crossed the line 18:07, 5:51 pace per mile, good for 9th place overall of, maybe, 400, and first in age group. None of this effort was any good for hardware. It was good for something much better! Cash! I earned $25. It was the first time I have EVER won cash.
So the motivating part here is that without speed work training or even doing these sorts of races, I clocked a decent 5K that, if I were only 15 seconds faster, would put me squarely in 5th or 6th place overall. And not only that, I was only 1:27 behind the winner. That’s about 25 seconds per mile I’d need. I know at this pace 25 seconds per mile is a lot to take off, but I can surely eat into that by 10 seconds or more with some quality speed work. And so maybe from here until February, just maybe, I’ll run a few more of these. Because this race, this race was a freebie, paid for itself with 1st in age group!