Final kick to the finish.
So, last night a few things came to my mind that made me decide to essentially “buck up” and run a 5k this morning. I had decided I wasn’t going to run, but I am grateful that I did.
A while ago, Rob Murphy wrote a list and 2 things came to me last night: 1 – Don’t be afraid to race when you are not 100% ready. It’s good for you.; 2 – Sometimes you have to be satisfied with being 80% fit. Next, Josh told me a while ago that I needed to race more. He once said, “Practice makes perfect, and training is not practice.” Finally, I remembered my own goal to race more to become more comfortable with racing.
I showed up at the rec center and ran the course once as a warm up. I had not seen it previously and it turned out to have a little more elevation than I had expected. The first mile and a bit is a very slight downhill going north. A right turn sends you east up a gradual incline that is about 1/3 a mile. Another right turn sends you back south up a long gradual incline until about 2.9 where you turn back west down a slight downhill and into the finishing chute.
After previewing the course, I determined I would shoot for 6:00 for the first mile and then likely slow on the climb and give a kick the last .2. I had low expectations and figured I would be happy with anything close to 20 minutes. I have not run near the 6:00 pace since September and have just run easy since St. George as I have been dealing with a few nags and niggles. I felt good after my run on Tuesday, but didn’t want to push my luck.
I led down for the first .1 and then had a pack of high school kids pass me. I knew some were running the 10k but would have to wait until the mile mark to see how many peeled away when the 5k and 10k courses split. First mile came in at 5:52 and there were 5 of the high schoolers in front of me. Just before the first turn, one of the kids cramped up in the calf and stopped. I started up the first hill with 2 other high schoolers next to me. One faded and the other pulled ahead of me by 5 feet. I eased off the pace but held the effort.
Right after the turn back south I caught up and was side-by-side with the one high schooler that pulled away a little on the hill. I had talked to him before the race and he had told me that he would like to run somewhere between 18:30 and 19:00. Half a mile later I was feeling pretty good and I decided to pull away from him. I glanced at my watch once on that stretch and saw 6:15, about what I had expected. I decided to keep pushing seeing I was feeling surprisingly well.
I managed to clip off 2 more youngsters up the final climb and kicked to finish. I had not looked at my watch in almost a mile and had no idea where I was. I came in at 18:39 and surprised myself. 3rd was good enough for a 20lb frozen turkey.
Lessons learned – Rob and Josh are smart. Listen to them. Also, listen to yourself, go out and race and have fun. I got tired and was ready to be done, but it was the best I have felt in a 5k and it was a respectable time, especially considering my recent training.
A perfect frozen bird for third!