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.