Saturday, August 21, 2010

RACE REPORT: Michelin 5K

I had sort of given up on the idea of racing in the summer heat. I'd be slow, and it'd be discouraging. The Michelin 5K was only $5, though, so I thought I'd just do it and try my best. At worst, it would be a good training run.

The 2 weeks before the race, I probably averaged 5 hours/night. It was rough. I did get in some decent training on the 2nd week before, running w/ LD and just feeling really strong. The week before, I worked some major overtime, so work was the focus. I figured with the race coming up, the lack of running would help with a taper anyways.

My family came up to GVL on their way to dropping my sister off at college, so they'd be able to watch! Due to the likely heat and sleep debt, I wasn't expecting much. Just try my best. I didn't do much to prepare. No stretching the night before. Nutrition-wise, very un-carby. Tofu in tomato sauce for dinner. Didn't try to go to bed early. Woke up 30 minutes before, with no usual shower to warm up. Had some pasta and brown rice and a wee bit of chicken for breakfast. Iced my right TA, which felt a little bit inflamed. Stretched my hammies, which always feels really good, and a few other things.

Drove off for an 8am race, getting there 30 min before gun time. Numer pickup was fast, and went to the bathroom. Usually, I wake up early to rehydrate, but since I woke up so close to race time to maximize sleep, I only replenished some of the water lost overnight. With 20 minutes to go, a warmup of maybe 4 minutes, then dynamic stretching. At 10 minutes to go, went out to the starting line, found a spot behind about 50 people, figuring that would be my approximate place. I did one stride out, which really felt good. I wasn't super tired and heat-beaten, like I as before the last race. I wasn't feeling super fast, but I was comfortable. Oh yeah... decided to go with the new Fastwitch, which I've thus far only used on the treadmill for intervals work. I almost went with the tried and true Brooks Trance 8 with arch supports, but my sister and dad recommended that I try the new shoes. They felt so light!!!

At the gun, we went off. It turned out to be a fairly hilly course. Moderate, I'd say. With hills, your pace is deceptive, since it may be reasonable for you to be going faster than your average expected race pace for a while on the downhills. So I was going fast, but I thought it was just the downhill. When a mile had passed and my Garmin still suggested a super fast time, even after some uphills, I was like, "uh oh, screwed myself, stupid me". And rather than back off, I kept at it through mile two. In a longer race, like a half, I'd try to back off to save myself for later, but I didn't back off, maybe because you don't get much of a chance within a couple of miles to make up for it, and I felt like I had to keep going forward, even if the pace was dangerous.

It was an out and back course, too, which is fun to have every once and a while. Some people hate it, but it's fun to see the fast guys on their way back, and you can cheer them on, and on the way back, you cheer others on. Lots of cheering, and you get the full race experience, seeing everyone out at different stages in their race. You see people struggling, people just enjoying themselves, people running with friends or family or little kids, etc. You also get to look for your friends. Two co-workers were at the race, one maybe 20 seconds ahead, and one maybe 6 minutes behind.

After the two mile mark, I figured that I'd just take it with medium effort, cruise control, and just cover some distance without over-straining myself. Then, when I got closer, I'd have something to kick it in. This worked well, hanging in there. The final 0.15 was sooo painful. Probably always is, but at every race, it always feels like it's the most painful ever. What made me want to push hard this time was my dad and sister being there, though, and I didn't want to let them down. They cheered me on as I finished. I saw the clock, and it was ticking up towards 21:00. Would I break 21? I didn't think so, but man, I was close!!! I think I ended up with something like 21:02. Given the fact that I probably didn't cross the start ine until 0:00:02, maybe I chip-time would've broken 21. I think it's probably a PR, though, and given the 75 degree moderate heat (although overcast, which was nice) and the hills, I could do even better. That's pretty exciting.

Afterwards, I was hungry and ate a banana and two apples. At the awards ceremony, the usual people won (downside of the monthly-ish races where the same companies' employees compete against each other... same people will pretty much always win). It's fun to hang around and just take in the excitement and race experience, though.

Post-race analysis. Hard to tell why this went so well. Sleep deprivation, heat, hills. Not ideal. I think doing intervals a couple times in the last month or so helped. The light shoes probably also helped. So, I'll take that and rock the races in the fall and winter. I'm excited to see what's possible. Maybe breaking 20:00?!?

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