Sunday, February 24, 2013

Predators Fangtastic 5k

This was going to be my first real race of the spring season.  I ran this race two years ago and got dropped by Ryan Snellen in the last 1k.  I've been waiting to seek my revenge on him since then but we haven't ran the same race since (well, he ran with his old girlfriend once, so that doesn't count. And another time I ran a 12k, while he was in the 6k, so I can't count that one either).  But Snellen, don't think I've forgotten about you!

My competition this time was going to be Connor Kamm, which was going to be a fun match-up because he's almost the exact opposite of me: tall, knows a lot of Spanish, has lot of hair, is very "fast" and isn't very good looking. I'm just now starting my speed phase and he's at the tail end of his base phase, so I didn't know what kind of 5k shape we would be in.  I don't want to give away my tip-top strategy secrets in-case he is reading this, but I formulated my battle-plan based off each others strengths, weakness and current training (he has his training log online as well).

The course has a bit of a downhill for the first quarter mile or so, before having some tough climbs through two miles, before dropping again for a mostly downhill final mile.  I'm a pretty decent downhill runner but bad at uphills, especially in races like the 5k, where the pace is more intense and requires more power.  That had me a little worried but I was confident in my plan.

On race morning, the temperature was pretty decent at around 30 degrees, but the winds were pretty strong, which would play an effect.  I warmed up with Connor and Ken Sullivan and let Connor know that I would deactivate him on Facebook if he tried to draft off of me.  We jogged around for three miles and then got ready to head to the line, after throwing in a couple of hard strides to get ready for the intense pace.  Too many people sit around before a 5k.  Warming-up is really important, especially when the weather is cold.

Finally it was time for the gun and we were off.  Because I've been gearing my training towards longer stuff, I've not only lost a lot of speed but have taught myself to relax and not force things very much.  In the 5k, I have to continuously focus on putting my foot down on the gas pedal and not letting my mind drift, especially with a guy like Connor, who has a lot of closing speed.  I got out fast and looked at my watch and saw I was right at three minutes in the race.  I wasn't too pleased because it was already hurting.  What is this 5k madness?

I gaped Connor shortly after, which was much earlier than I expected. However, that didn't last long and he caught up to me on a steep hill, which was a swift kick to my confidence.  I was hoping he wouldn't drop me, so I didn't give him an inch.  Even with the hills, I expected to go through the mile marker in around 4:45 but was surprised it was 4:54.  Guess the wind played a bigger role than I anticipated.

Connor was still looking pretty strong and we passed Snellen and Scott Bennett on the side of the road. I really didn't want to get whipped by Connor in front of them, so that gave me some extra motivation.  Shortly before halfway, I was able to gap him again and put on 2-3 seconds.  I tried to make the most of it and stay strong on the hills because I knew I could get rolling the last mile.

I really wanted to look over my shoulder but with a runner as tough as Connor behind me, I didn't want to give him any confidence.  I gave a quick glance after the final uphill and saw I had about 10 seconds on him.  I went through two miles in 9:56 and then tried to run pretty hard over the next half mile, in hopes of breaking him for good.

Finally, I could see the three mile marker.  I heard people calling out my overall time but I didn't really paying attention because I wasn't really focused on it.  I crossed the line in 15:04 and felt pretty decent, and was able to recover pretty well over the last few minutes of the race.  Connor came through in second place in 15:22 and Ken was third in 16:21.

The post race awards was held at Honky Tonk Central, which was pretty cool because you got a free drink, and they had hot wings, bbq and some other good stuff.  Overall, I was pleased to get the win but wish I could have at least run under 15:00. I could definitely tell my speed needs a little bit of fine tuning before I go back into marathon mode again.

1 comment:

  1. I ran 15:04 once too, but I was doing a 2 mile warm up haha. Great read.