Run Wild 5k (trail) Sesqui – August 2009

I ran yet another trail 5k this past Saturday, at the state park a couple of miles from my house. I actually ran most of the way from my house to the race site as a warm-up, though I was running late (literally) and it ended up being nearly a 2 mile tempo, which  is not what I had in mind. I had 5 minutes to spare when I got there. The race was tied in with a high school CC meet, which made it a pretty big event. The open 5k was just 160 people though. The race was about 2 miles of sandy trail and the last 1.1 of twisting single file running through the forest. Despite the vigorous warm-up, I felt pretty strong. It helped the temperature was in the 70’s for the first time in months. I started out fairly slow for me, 7:15 in the first mile, and then decided to up the pace and try to overtake people one by one. It was difficult to run fast in the sandy trail – a good part of it was beach like and I was constantly looking for any packed down areas. Finished the second mile in 7:08.  After the 2 mile marker, I decided to pick up the pace further though it was hard to pass in this narrow, winding forest trail section. I was pretty spent at the end but was able to sprint the last 200 meters or so as the trail opened up onto a grassy section for the finish.

Finished in 21:30, a time I was very pleased with for a trail run. I havent downloaded the data from my Garmin, but the last mile was significantly sub-7 minutes. I was 4th in my age group, 25th overall,  so no hardware. Still, I think I’ve made some progress the last few weeks focusing on doing more speedwork and core exercises.

My 15k is coming up on Labor Day. I have no idea how this will turn out – I havent even raced a 10k before – but at least I’ll have an instant PR!

Silver Fox Trot 5k (trail) Saluda Shoals Park – August 2009

Ran a trail 5K yesterday , actually 3.2 miles – the race director and others acknowledged it to be long. They said no one was going to PR on this course anyway, and that was certainly the truth. There were a good number of the local high school cross country boys and girls teams out there, as it was a fundraiser for their program. The course was muddy, lots of twists and turns, lots of ditches and one small mountain of a hill. There was little opportunity to pass, and few were doing this anyway, as the humidity was about 90+ percent and the temp around 80.  I signed up the night before on a whim – I figured I was going to be doing a training run that morning anyway, might as well make it more interesting. Trail running certainly is a lot different than the roads – I was always having to watch right in front of me to avoid trees/roots/rocks/etc. It was a nice change of pace, both literally and figuratively. No way to keep up a sub-7 pace here.

I used the big hill about half a mile into the race to pass a bunch of people and basically held my ground from there. I did pass one or two the rest of the way. Averaged about 7:30 pace or so and finished in 23:41. Everyone was about 2-3 minutes off their road 5k times, so I was OK with the time. I finished in 16th place, 3rd in age group. I was pretty happy with the place, as 8 of those ahead of me were high school cross country kids.

Hot Summer Night 5k – August 2009

Hot Summer’s Night 5k   Columbia, SC RR

This is a sizable race that had 400 something entrants. Winner has always been in the 15 minute range. I knew I had no shot at an age group award, as I saw the last few years 3rd place in the 30-34 has been 18 minutes or better. This was a very aptly named race – temps were mid-80’s at race time and what had to be 90-100 percent humidity. However, I was familiar with the course and knew it to be pretty flat.

I had a good time before the race – my 3 and 5 year old were entered in the kids races and both got  finishers medals for the 200 and 400m runs. They were pretty excited to participate in what they see daddy doing all the time. My wife and 1 year old were also there to cheer us all on.

I wanted to PR in this race pretty badly, given the amount of training I’ve been doing and  the flat course. However, I had been on vacation the last week or so and had missed speed days the last two weeks. The heat/humidity combo also made a PR unlikely.

However, I still bolted out of the gate at the start, trying to get a clear running lane. It was pretty congested, and I had yielded a couple of rows to the super fast guys. Everything felt good at the start, which is usually not the case in my morning races. This one started at 7pm so no having to shake the cobwebs out. I did a little bit of dodging in the beginning , so I hit the mile mark on my garmin a few steps ahead of the race clock. First mile was in 6:36, and I still felt good.

Halfway through the second mile I started to really feel the heat, like someone had thrown a blanket over me. I was beginning to struggle maintaining the previous pace. I had to back down some and saw the split as 6:50 or so. I was still managing to pass people though, I guess because everyone else was feeling it too.

The last 1.1 was just torture. Breathing hard, desperately wanted to stop, trouble maintaining form. Luckily the last quarter to half mile is straight and the finish clock was visible, which at least provided the carrot on the stick to keep me going. I had to painfully watch the whole 20th minute tick away. Split for the third mile was 7:10. I didnt hit the lap on the Garmin at the end, so I didnt get a time on the last 0.1. Overall, I finished at 21:36. A respectable time for me, though I hated the way I felt at the end and the ugly positive splits. Also disappointed I havent been able to touch my PR since May, after making huge improvements over the first few months I was running. I am definitely looking forward for the heat to let up and for me to make a real PR attempt at the 5k when it gets cooler.