Monday, December 7, 2015

Frigid 5K Report

So after having such a good time at the Fox and Turkey 4-miler on Thanksgiving, I was anxious to find another race to run as quickly as possible! Unfortunately, the racing calendar gets a little slim this time of year -- unless you want to head into Chicago, as they have races almost every weekend of the year, but Sunday I was lucky to find a 5K in Lemont, which is about 40 minutes from my house.

The Frigid 5K is one of those runs hosted by a park district that are small in size but are kind of nice gems in their own right. Normally they are pretty well-organized and are a good way to get in a competitive run in a low-key environment.

We have been fortunate in terms of weather around here so far this winter, and Sunday brought more of the same. When I woke up it was 30 degrees and had to scrape a pretty hard freeze off the car, but there was absolutely no wind and no clouds, so when the sun came out it was going to be pretty workable.

I wore workout pants and a hoodie to the race, but ran in two long sleeved shirts, a hat and gloves and...shorts! Yeah at first it seemed a little crazy but by the midway point of the race it was a wise decision. Besides, the race was held at a gym/community center and we were allowed to congregate and warm up in the fieldhouse, so really the only time we'd be outside was to run the race.

I had made it there with plenty of time to get ready, so it was nice to be in the gym to get stretched out and run some strides on the basketball court. The race started at 8 a.m. so the race organizers didn't even call us to the line until about 7:55.

When we got outside the sun was all the way up so it actually felt pretty good. Once at the start line, I guesstimated there were only a couple hundred runners and walkers in the field.

After having so much luck with Episode 264 of Paul Oakenfold's podcast on Thanksgiving, I queued that up again and soon we were off! In terms of race tactics I was going to follow the same thing as on Thanksgiving, run within myself and don't obsess over splits (although I did look at the first two mile markers). My goal was sub-30, which seemed workable after the 4-miler.

It was a good thing the field was small because after the first half mile on a road, the rest of the race, except for the finish which was on the road as well, was on sidewalks and a small running path that wound around some ballfields. We actually made two loops of the property, with a couple of wrinkles through a parking lot to add up to the race distance...which was very accurate! Since the crowd was so small the narrowness of the course was no big deal.

I hit the first mile in 9:38, which I was very happy with as that roughly translates to 30 minutes or so for the race. So I focused on just trying to hold that pace the rest of the way.

That got a little tough about midway through the race when my hilly 7.7 miler in Central Park Friday started to catch up with me a little bit. My legs started to feel a bit heavy and my stride felt like it shortened up a little bit. So I was uncomfortable but my breathing was OK, so I just worked at hanging in there.

Surprisingly, mile two clocked in at 9:18! I was still feeling it but at that point there was less than 10 minutes of running left, so I just tried to hang on. The course was pretty much flat, but there were a couple of small downhill slants where I focused on staying relaxed and let the hill do some of the work for me.

The last mile felt like it went by rather quickly, and we made the final turn to the finish with about 200 meters to go. I tried to pick it up a little but just wasn't feeling it, but then I took a long look at a guy just in front of me and had a quick thought -- there were a lot of women and kids in this race, is an age-group award possible?

Hey, whatever it takes to get motivated!

The guy in front of me looked about my age, so I put my head down and just started turning my legs over. It didn't take long to pass him, and I picked off a couple of other people on my way to the finish. As I got within a few yards of the finish, I was pretty excited to see the first two numbers on the clock read "29"!

The race was a "gun-time" race, so they had me officially at 29:17, but by my watch I was at 29:09 after running mile three in 9:17 and going at an 8:06 pace for the final tenth to the finish. I ended up 75th overall and fourth in my age group! Oh well, the guy that finished third was 30 seconds ahead of me, so no big deal.

After the race it was back into the gym for some hot chocolate and snacks. Overall, I was so happy with the run as I accomplished everything I'd wanted: broke 30 minutes, ran within myself and got faster as the race went on.

And, as an added bonus, I realized that a year ago Sunday I had run the Chilly Chili 5K (you can read about that here) in 29:51, meaning that I'm faster than I was a year ago. That gave me an even bigger boost!

I begin working with my coach, Vince, tomorrow, and with a good month of running hope to line up again on New Year's Day. Can't wait!


1 comment:

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