It is now Sunday, I was busy yesterday and I guess not too enthusiastic about writing this race report. But while I'm disappointed I hardly feel crushed. Breaking 16 wasn't meant to happen for this race.
The race was out in Haddonfield. Rebecca and I went over the
Gun goes off and for the first hundred yards or so I'm perhaps a little ahead of the opening swarm. But not long after that various guys slowly moved ahead of me - guys like Ross Martinson, Ted Callinan, Tom Haxton and the like whom I had no business keeping up with. I let them go and then another wave of guys started moving ahead to form a chase pack. I made the decision that this group was also too fast and let them go ahead of me as well. Mile 1 passes in 5:04 and I have these two big packs, then one straggler with a big 614 on the back of his singlet about 10 meters back, and me about another 20 meters back in no man's land. I'll get back to this mile marker in a minute.
Taking stock at mile 1, the good news was that my pace just fast of being on target, but the bad news was that I was alone out there. The latter was not what I planned or expected, but at this point I was stuck. I was nonetheless encouraged as once I set a pace I'm pretty good at keeping it and I felt strong. Mile 2 had what hills there were on the course, but like last year there seemed to be more downhill then uphill. I gained a bit on 614 but the chase pack seemed to be gaining on us.
My heart sank as we passed the Mile 2 marker. The clock read 10:28, which I later figured translated into a 5:23 split. I did not feel that I slowed that considerably, and knew now that I'd have to really hustle to make up time. Felt like a quarterback in a 2 minute offense. Mile 3 turned back onto
So, if I had to do things over again what would I have done? I would have picked things up a bit and hung on to the chase pack. Despite all my exhortations to myself to be fearless I didn't trust myself pushing it up to their pace. As I result I was running a little more comfortable than I should have, and I was running alone.
I wonder how much more I could have pushed it. Of course after the race it is common to think you should have pushed more. I was very tired after finishing the race, but I wasn't fall on the ground, I am going to die tired either. I had some left in the tank - not in the sense that I was dogging it but in the sense that I did not push it over into the red zone.
And finally, the more I think about it the more I gotta believe that the first mile marker was short. First reason I feel this was intuitive, there is a big difference between a 5:04 mile (mile 1) and a 5:23 mile (mile 2), and I just didn't feel my pace drop that much. I've got to believe I would have noticed such a drop off. Second, nobody passed me from mile 1 on. Thus, would the 1st mile marker have been accurate the chase pack would have been going at a sub 15:45 pace at that point. Looking at the results, that would mean that a bunch of this pack, which I'm taking to be finishers 11-18, would have had their times drop off as well. To have that many folks go out too fast in a 5k is unlikely. Finally, in last year's race I had the same pattern, a 5:09 1-mile split and then slower splits afterwards.
So I'm going fairly comfortable at what I take to be goal pace, and in fact I'm likely going a bit slow. My guess is that I probably was more in 5:10-5:15 range for the whole race. If I had a more accurate 1 mile split, I could have made adjustments that were earlier and less gradual. But now I also know that I'm going to have to bust my rear alot harder to go sub 16. And to run more by feel than by what splits tell me.
Okay, I missed breaking 16 minutes. But there were still many positives here. Running a 16:13 means that I ran the race 12 seconds faster than when I ran it here last year and bettered my previous best (on an uncertified course) by 8 seconds. Like an old coach once said to me, a PR is a PR. I was also the first masters finisher, which got me $100, which Rebecca and I blew on a post-race Starbucks race and a good dinner later. There was also the joy of racing again, first time this spring, amidst lots of friends and an excellent set of competitors.
6.5 miles total yesterday, with warmup, race and cooldown.
GP says that it often takes knocking on the door a few times before it opens. This is true here. The question now becomes, what's next. I'm signed up to run the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon on April 29. This is a distance I'm more comfortable with and, I feel, much better at than 5k. But I gotta get a few higher mileage weeks in between now and then (four weeks) if I want to be in top form here. I also want to have one more crack at breaking 16 with the fitness I have now. I'm thinking my best shot would be at the Race for Clean Air on 4/22.
Had a relaxing, just run for the sake of running run this morning. Did a Tinicum figure 8, just me and my thoughts. It felt good, just for today, to just run with no goal in mind.
9 miles today, did not time it.