Sunday, July 05, 2009

Race Report

OK, time to cover yesterday's race. It was a lovely area, a beautiful day, and a good turnout. Assuming they have the I-Can again next year, I plan on registering.

Let's get the pressing question out of the way: I didn't medal.

Oh, that wasn't the pressing issue? I guess not. So, how did I do in "my own race"? I ran it well enough. Well, most of it, at least. See, I knew there was a risk when the description said, "relatively flat neighborhood streets," because the question remains: Relative to what?

The start was on a hill.

Upon the starting... um... yell, I trudged upward, optimistic that this would be the worst of it. The truth is that that little hill was the steepest portion, but that wasn't the only hill. We made a quick left and found... another hill.

A woman beside me panted, "I thought this was flat."

I smiled and nodded. I then replied, "It's OK. The hills give me permission to walk," which I then proceeded to do in a short while. I walked only occasionally and only uphill. (I scratched my head a little at the people who ran uphill and then walked at the top; I figure that's a little backwards, but whatever works for them, I guess.)

I lost sight of most of the pack early enough, dropping off from most of the runners and leaving the walkers behind me. I caught back up with a few runners who didn't understand the importance of pacing (or, it seemed for at least one couple, training). That's OK, I was running my own race. You understand.

The odd thing was that, every time I looked at my watch, I was maintaining a pace between 11:00 and 12:30, or thereabouts. I must only have looked when I was really booking, though, because my overall pace doesn't reflect those speeds.

Somewhere around the middle of the course, I fell in line with a young lady (or, perhaps, she fell in line with me). She didn't have much stamina, but made up for it with moxie. She'd run at a decent pace (not sprinting, but faster than me), and then settle in for a walk. To her credit, she didn't seem to do the "stay ahead of the fat lady" that I spoke about here from my last 5k (about two years ago). She was simply racing her own race, a little at a time. But we were leap-frogging.

We were until we got near the end, that is. I like to kick it up at the end, so I did. The instant she saw me right behind her shoulder, she kicked it up herself. Now, this was probably the wrong attitude to take at this time, but I figured: Hey, she's not in my age group, I'll let her have this, and steadied myself. No, I didn't slow down, but I didn't push as hard as I could have right before the chute.

In retrospect, I regret this. I also regret not pushing hard enough for most of the 5k. I should have been much more worn at the end, so I was clearly holding back too much the entire time. Sure, I probably would have walked a bit no matter what, but I think I could have done better, gone just a little faster. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the run immensely; I just suspect I could have done better. So, what to do? That's right, I already signed up for two more 5K events.

My time? I don't know my official time yet. I didn't see a clock at the end, and we weren't using chips, but I did see someone with the little hand-held doo-dad which I suspect was used to record official times. I know I wasn't last overall, but I may have been last for the registered 5K runners. (I couldn't tell walkers from runners on their board.) Well, I'll find out soon enough. I should have been able to approximate my time with my Garmin, but, unfortunately, I clicked it off a little late. It reported 40:37. (Argh! Close enough that I could have easily beaten my PR.)

Honestly, considering the (mild) hills, I'm pretty happy with how I did. Now I'll really have to get going on the interval work so I can pulverize my PR at the next 5K (in late August).


Arnþór L. Arnarson said...

I have no doubts that you will improve greatly.

And a note on hills, for further racing. The distance in meters you can gain up hills will translate into more time on the flats. So a good time to gain on others is in hills. But of course it can bite one in the butt, because one needs to be able to recover to set pace again. That's the hard part. :)

Karen said...

Hmmm.... I had not thought of that as an advantage. Good point. I do have to get some hill work in at some point, and I expect that it'll benefit me in many ways. Well, by next year I'll be sure to be ready to tackle those climbs. ;)