Saturday, May 22, 2010

Great Harvest Bread Co. 5k

2.5 mile w/u + strides
Target: 5k race "uptempo"
Actual: 17:37 (5:45, 5:40, 6:12 for 1.1)
2.5 mile c/d
Total: 8 miles

I woke up surprisingly easily at 5:30 this morning--possibly because I was already awakened at 4:30 by Weezy and again at 5:00 by Jordan--and hurriedly dressed for the morning's race. A quick glance at the weather forecast showed that the thunderstorms should hold off until at least 9am, which
would be plenty of time for us to clear out after the 7:30 race. Yes, the race started at 7:30. Yes, that's waaaay too early to contemplate running fast under any other circumstances. I was hoping the race atmosphere would kick up enough adrenaline to get my tired old legs moving at go time.

Tanya, running under the assumed name Sheepers McSheep, arrived at the apartment at 6:00 sharp. She and I would be carpooling together, while Jordan opted to drive separately since I had to hustle to work post-race. Tanya and I hit the road and were at the race location just past 6:30--plenty of time to grab our chips, take in a leisurely warmup and stand in line for the bathroom (note to self: the Starbucks line is not always quicker than the port-a-pottie line). At 10 minutes until race time I approached the starting line and found Caitlin. (Tanya, who did her uptempo yesterday, would just be running "for fun," i.e. for the free bread.) We did our final strides, reaffirmed our 5:50 plan and waited for the starting countdown. I may or may not have also slapped Caitlin across the face in an attempt to fire her up for the race. You'll have to ask her if it worked or not.

Start of the GHB 5k. Jordan is out front to the left of the frame, while
Caitlin and I are far right.

A few seconds later the race began, and immediately Caitlin and I were almost run over by some dude who probably went out in 5:20 and then finished in 19 minutes. I swear, it happens every time. At any rate, after the first hundred meters we were able to hone in on our pace--sort of. The first mile was very rolling, and it seemed like Caitlin pulled away from me a bit on each uphill, only to come back to me on the downhills. We played this yo-yo game for at least half a mile before Caitlin began to pull away more definitively. She was probably 5-7 seconds ahead of me at the first mile marker, but after seeing my 5:45 split I didn't want to push the pace any further. This was supposed to be an uptempo effort for me, not an all-out race, and I didn't want it to turn into that. Consequently, I ran most of the next mile by myself, with Caitlin firmly planted about 20 meters ahead of me. She wasn't really picking up any more ground, but I wasn't exactly reeling her in either. Plus, the mostly downhill nature of the second mile meant I still split 5:40, which was plenty fast for what I was trying to accomplish. At this point I figured I was a lock for second place.

Me running solo up the final (I think) hill on the course

And then came the third mile. After the race I kept hearing people complain that this mile was all uphill, but seeing as we were retracing our steps from the beginning of the race this simply can't be true. I thought the first mile was rolling throughout, which means the last mile must've had an equal amount of downhills and uphills. That said, it sure seemed to be the toughest section of the course. About a quarter mile in, I began to notice Caitlin coming back slightly. At 2.5 I pulled up alongside her and we exchanged encouraging words. I still felt quite comfortable maintaining pace on the final uphill section, and with a few minutes to go I knew I would be able to finish strong. I broke the tape in 17:37, with Caitlin to follow about 10 seconds back. I learned in the finish chute that Jordan had won as well, holding off Caitlin's roommate John for the victory. Fellow blogger and CRC member Paul Mainwaring snagged third, and Sheepers McSheep pulled off a sheep world record by taking the 25-29 age group.

L to R: Jordan, Paul, John, Caitlin, me, Danielle. Top 3 CRC finishers
with our loot: aprons, chefs hats, loaves of bread and lots of cookies!

In reflecting on the run, I'm extremely pleased with how comfortable I felt. Both the level of difficulty of the course and the sky-high humidity suggested that I would've run much slower than this for an uptempo effort. Instead I was able to keep both my legs and my breathing relaxed and run even splits throughout. With all this in mind, the race definitely served as a last-minute confidence booster heading into next week.

And yes, I ate a lot of bread.


Unknown said...

maybe it was the yo-yoing that caused me to hurt? perhaps i was practicing for the hills in Twin Cities in the fall. hhaa. the slap in the face geared me up...but i got passed by the guy who slapped his own face in the last 200m. damn! all in all, good job meagan! it will be nice to have someone in my time range to compete against once you finally get done with this whole college running thing in t minus five days