Saturday, March 18, 2006

Race Report: MDA Stride and Ride 5K

Last night I looked at the Clemson Track and Trail Club website and noticed a 5K in Greenville today. I did my long run on Thursday so was going to do a 5K run today anyway, and I decided I wanted to do the race and see how much I have improved. Actually, I haven't done a 5K running race by itself before, but the triathlons I've done have had 5K runs, and I've done those faster than I run in practice.

Sometime between when I tentatively made the decision and when I got up this morning I got mixed up about when the race started, plus I felt I needed to be there early because I had not preregistered. So I ended up at the race site at 7:45 for a race that didn't start until 10. I thought about walking the course but it was so cold I just sat in my car and wrote. I did go out about 9:30 and run nearly a mile slowly to warm up and then stretched. I also ate a bagel, which I usually can't eat, and then was impatient when the race started a little late.

I had done my warmup on the first half mile of the course, so I knew it was uphill and then down. I started fairly far back but a few people passed me right away. I tried to keep a pace where I was breathing fairly hard and go faster (though my level of effort was lower) on the downhills. I kept looking for people ahead of me to catch up to and was usually able to do so, though the man with two large children in a jog stroller I could catch up with on the uphills but then he would pull ahead when it was flatter. I did walk the one water station and drink some water, and the steep uphill right after it.

That was at two miles and there was a person there with a watch who said my time was 17 something (which I can't believe was accurate, as neither by perceived effort nor by my GPS did I slow down the last mile). I realized then I had a chance of breaking 30 minutes, which was my dream time (my more realistic goal was 34 minutes because my fastest 5K in training was at an 11:57 pace). With about half a mile to go a volunteer said "it's all downhill from here," but that turned out not to be true. I slowed down on the uphill but I pushed that last half mile breathing very hard. I was foolishly a little disappointed when I saw my time was 30:24. Then when I caught my breath I looked at my GPS and found it said a pace of under 10 minutes a mile, which was really what my dream time was (that extra .1 mile keeps throwing me). I was so happy I had done it.

I don't think my GPS gave me very reliable readings but 30:24 for a 5K is a pace of 9:48. Amazing. Last September I was thrilled to achieve a pace of 12 minutes a mile in a 5K, albeit in a triathlon. My previous personal best 5K time was 36:02--that's a 15 percent improvement in six months! Last May, also in a triathlon, my 5K run time was 40:27.

Today was a small race with mostly young people and I was first in my age group because I was the only one in my age group. I hung around for the awards and was happy to get a medal. Actually it is the first medal I have received--the other races where I placed in my age group gave hats instead and I haven't done any races that gave finishers medals.

Update: The official times are up and I corrected the time above by a couple of seconds. Overall I was 70th out of 83. Turns out I was second in my age group--I can see looking at the official results there were other errors as well when they announced the age group awards.


Joann said...

I hope you put that medal someplace really visible. I hope that somewhere deep inside you can rejoice in your accomplishment too. I can remember when you first talked about trying to jog for a few hundred feet.

You know, you do some extrordinary things. REALLY extrordinary! Take some pleasure in your accomplishments. It's ok to feel pride in inprovement. Honest, it's ok. Hell, I could only run a 5K if someone were behind me with a gun! You do it and are frustrated that you didn't break your record more perfectly. I'd wear the medal to work this week and then frame it!

Shelley said...

hey..congrats to you!! BTW Sheila a.k.a. crackhead.. and myself will be in Greenville, SC next weekend for a 5 day training camp...self created..we'll be riding Fri/Sat/Sun next week....can you ride too???