Anyone who has ever chatted with me about running knows how much I hate anything that sounds remotely like ‘speed work’. 400m repeats, even mile repeats just suck. I know, I know, they are an important part of any training program for distance runners (even marathoners get benefit from such workouts) but that doesn’t change the fact I hate them. Maybe that’s why I have drifted from marathons all the way to 100 milers, just to get away from that fast crap.
Instead of doing such workouts on my own, I have decided to treat local 5K races as such. They are more fun (competition) and I get a t-shirt out of the deal. Yes, there is a cost, but this is a cheap hobby as it is :)
Again, I don’t train for these kinds of distances. I am a 12-18 mile/day easy pace runner. I have wonderful endurance, but little speed. It turns out, endurance is really important at this distance.
This race, in early February, is always cold. In 2007 when I ran it (a 4 mile distance then) was mid 30’s with freezing rain. Some of the worst race conditions I have ever run. In 2007, the temperature was 9 with a -8 windchill. Yummy.
This time, the conditions were quite nice, 18 degrees with a little wind. The course is partly on city streets, and partly on the Falling Water Trail. The conditions on the road were so-so, but on the trail, it was horrible. Packed down snow is slippery, which is fine when you are going slow and steady, but when you are trying to stay in the low 6’s, it is a little harder.
The race started and there was a pack of 4 people who shot out to the front, and I just tried to keep them in sight. I really had no idea how fast I was going to run, I was just trying to go as fast as I could (and hold). When I hit the mile 1 marker at 6:09, I was tickled, because I felt quite strong. When I hit mile 2 at the same pace, I realized I (finally?) have some stamina. I have run many many 5K races, and always crash around mile 2 and just try to hold on for the last mile. I managed to hold an even pace, picking off those speedy starters until all but one was in front of me. It was so much fun actually moving UP in the last 30% of a race. That almost never happens.
For only the second time ever, I finished ‘in the money’. Turns out, I got a $50 gift certificate to a local mall for my 2nd place finish. I promptly used it to buy more cold weather running clothes, of course.