I ran the Franklin Classic a couple of years ago. Going into it, my goal was to run under 33 minutes so I could get free entry into the Rocket City Marathon. I really enjoyed the beauty of the course and ran much faster than expected, clocking a 32:14. While it's not a really fast course, it still is my favorite 10k course that I've run.
I was going to run the 10k/5k double for a good marathon workout but Mary banned me from it. She has banned me winning a race in a costume or winning both races if a "double" opportunity exists, because it looks cocky. I'm not a fan of cockiness and I like to keep the wife happy, so I had to choose one. Running the 10k as a tempo run would have been more ideal but that also meant a very early wake-up time. Since I enjoy my sleep, I opted to sleep in and run a hardish 5k at around 10k effort and sneak under 15:00.
I wasn't really sure what to expect because I've been out of commission since the Hood to Coast relay with a double ear infection. My body has been really run-down and I haven't been able to get in any solid training. However, I wanted to break the 15 barrier, so I was going to run a little harder than I planned, if needed.
While the weather was pretty ideal when I ran this race a couple of years ago, it was muggy for this year's edition with a 145 degree misery factor (temperature+dew point, since the humidity doesn't mean much when you run). But with the race being just a 5k, I didn't feel it would affect me more than 10-15s or so.
On the line, I saw Jacob Carrigan and Scott Bennett. Other than those two guys, I didn't notice anyone who could potentially push the pace. However, there were a few high school kids and of course those guys always like to start out way over their head and then back-off once the pain starts to settle in.
After the gun went off and I finally got past the high school kids, I was alone. I was hoping to run the first mile in around 4:45-4:50 and I went through in 4:49. It was in range, but I felt really off. My breathing wasn't bad, I just couldn't get my legs moving at all. Normally, my legs and breathing can find that powerful sweet-spot where they work in-sync, but this morning, they felt like there were in two different places.
I tried to grit down bit and stay under 4:50 but my second mile was only a 5:03. The second mile did include some short climbing, but I didn't expect to drop off that much. I tried to pick it up again but I knew I wouldn't be able to pop out a mid 4:30 mile to close it out, so I tried to run hard without overdoing it. The third mile had a nice, gradual downhill and I thought I would be able to make up some time before the short uphill. I was expecting to run somewhere in the 15:15-15:20 range, so I was really surprised when I saw the clock towards the end of the race. I ended up crossing the line in 15:29, with my last 1.1 miles at 5:05 pace.
Definitely a tough day at the office because I ran a faster pace than this for my nearly 20 miles of Hood to Coast running. Maybe the sickness is still lingering and I don't have my strength back yet. If anything, this shows I need to work on my speed a little more than I anticipated.
Editors note: Two weeks after this, my iron levels were in the tank, so I felt this may have also played a large role. When my iron is low, my endurance goes down, but my speed at 10k and under completely plummets.