Wednesday, November 11, 2009
18:10 – 5K (3.1 miles)
28th place overall of 225
Cross-country type course in park on roads.
The Indie 5K was a “Freebie” race for me. Any race I go into it with no nerves, no time goals, no second-thoughts as per its importance, and no taper required fits the bill as a Freebie race. A Freebie race is a glorified fun run with a starting and finishing line, a clock, and a bunch of runners looking to go as fast as they can.
And oh my was this Freebie FAST!
The race was a part of The Running Event (TRE) tradeshow and expo, an event set up for specialty running store owners and connecting buyers and retailers in related businesses. Attendees to the tradeshow raced for free, including many sponsored athletes and those fasties in the field.
As an Athlete Spokesperson for Earth Footwear, I was at the event promoting Earth’s Athletic Recovery Collection, so I got into the Indie 5K, too.
The event was quite special. I knew the field would be deep, with many at the starting line capable of going under 16 minutes, and maybe even one or two under 15! It was like being in a private road race filled exclusively with fast runners. And that’s exactly how it played out.
The 3.1 mile course was completely in Austin’s Zilker Park. The course went up a steep but shorter hill at .5 miles; this was also a point that was the start of a Figure-8 loop done twice. Although the course was entirely on paved roads and paths and some dirt, it reminded me of a cross-country course. And in cross-counrty fashion, we would pass that little hill 4 more times!
To the hill, still in the first mile, I settled in at about 25th place. Up the hill I charged, breathing hard, knowing I had gone out a touch too hard. A Freebie race, I thought to myself… keep pushing! Maybe it would smooth out.
Mile one came in just over 6 minutes (6:05). I knew by then that I had not warmed up properly. My breathing was way too labored, bordering out of control. But my legs still felt good.
By the time I hit the back side of the park, just before we hit the famous hill for a second time, 4 runners passed me while I passed two others. I figured I was within 30th place.
Up the hill, around by the start/finish to complete the Figure-8, and back up the hill to start the loop for a final time, my breathing stayed erratic and my legs lacked the zip. Although I was running smoothly and with good form, I could now tell that the 5K I did only 4 days earlier had robbed my legs of that added spring.
Through mile 2 and onward, I stayed in position, locked around several runners, noone quite able to pass, and a steady stream of runners ahead. A very deep field. I felt as if I were slowing, especially on the last time up the hill, but I knew it was just a feeling. I remained focused on energy output and varying it like a pilot controlling a plane so that I could come in for a steady landing while maximizing speed verses efficiency.
Down the final stretch I flew, passing one, then another, and then another, through the finish in 18:10, which was good for 28th place overall in a very deep field. I was a bit surprised by the time, for the fatigue in my legs, the feeling as if I had been slowing down, and the heavy breathing added up in my head as something slower. The feeling made sense: sitting in a plane for many hours, a 5K only days earlier, no taper, etc.
But I know why the legs just didn’t feel it even though it was a good (not great) race: Feelings are flighty. Speed is steady. You are what you are.
And it was what it was: A Freebie race with great handouts. Very fun!