this morning i was out to break 18 in the 5k. i thought it was realistic given last month's 18:24 with multiple stops and wrong turns. i really thought the fitness was there, but i was way off...
i picked up james at 4:50 am. there is no better time to be awake, especially if you are driving. no cars. no stress. quiet. we made it to layton in good time. we drove past the large parking lot with large cones and orange-vested volunteers only once before we realized it was in fact the place we were looking for. we pulled into the
lot mud/weed/pothole field and i was immediately reminded of striders half '09 -- aka the mudfest.
we went to pick up our bibs and then went back to my car for a bit to stay warm before james had to warm up (he was running the half). james was having some sort of allergic reaction that caused his lips to start swelling up. he knew he could combat the swelling with a claritin, so we decided to venture off to the store to buy some.
we i accidentally drove into a ditch on the way out of the parking lot. i blame the volunteers for not being there to shine their lights on the hazard. okay, i blame myself for not following the road and for trying to drive over the curb in a jeep that i apparently don't know how to operate. we got stuck, but only briefly (we were in a jeep, after all), and then i intelligently kept going forward instead of backing up and finding a different way out of the lot. so yes, the back wheels went through the ditch as well. we heard big, terrible sounds that you should never hear in a car. thumps and bumps. we finally made it to the road and immediately had to pull over because i thought my front tire was flat. it turns out it was fine. good. however, i am now planning that my wheel will fall off on my way in to work on monday morning.
we found claritin at our first stop -- a gas station! perfect. we then made our way back to the start line and ran a big square around the park to warm up. james lined up for the half, which started at 7:00, and i went back to my car to be lazy and stay warm.
just after 7:30, i met up with my dad and sister who were also running the 5k. i jogged a bit more with them and then made a visit to the POPs for the second time. then i continued jogging around the start area to try and stay warm. somewhere along the way i misplaced my gloves, and my hands were freezing. just after 7:45, they told us to line up for start. five-four-three-two one...someone said "go!" and i went out fast. all alone. no one else was there. no one.
i ran alone the entire race. all alone. it was like i was out on a morning run by myself, except it was much more painful than usual. it was an out-and-back course, and it was honest. there were very slight grades along the way, but for the most part it was flat. no significant uphill or downhill in this one.
the first mile marker was actually at 1.2. i noted my 7:10 split. i was mad. i knew i was putting in more effort than that, so i figured it had to be off. even so, i realized that just by the way i was feeling at this point in the race, i was off my goal of sub-18 and would never recover. i reached the turnaround at 9:19. no hope.
i was discouraged. it was a lame effort wheeze-fest all the way back to the finish line. my spirits were lifted briefly when i saw my dad. he was in second place. cool. about 1/2 mile later i saw my sister (she was a bandit). they were both running well and looked like they were having fun. i wished i could just relax and have fun as well, but i was frustrated that i could not find a way to generate more energy or motivation to speed up and give more effort. i was waning and didn't care. okay, i did care, but i wasn't doing anything about it.
my watch hit the 17:00 mark and i still had .3 to go. not happy. about 50 yards from the finish, the first 10k runner sprinted past me and i was startled. another human! i crossed the line in 18:48 (according to my watch). slowest 5k since may of this year. i am not sure what happened, but i obviously am not doing as well as i thought post TOU.
i ran back along the course to find my dad and run with him to the finish. we started chatting, but then i looked back and realized that there was another guy coming up on him, so i told him he should probably push it a bit. he really picked it up here and finished with a strong kick, winning the overall male race. i was very happy for him.
after all the 5k fun, i waited for james to come in from the half. he did well today, especially considering his ailments. at the awards ceremony, they announced my official time as 19:06. i always take my official time over my watch time, but 18 seconds is way too big of a difference to be accurate. i am not convinced that the 19:06 is correct. i talked to the timing guy afterward and he confirmed that the official results clocked me at 19:06. he also mentioned that if you stand too close to the mats before the start, your chip will activate and start timing you. there is no evidence that this did or did not happen, but i will just assume that it did because i cannot imagine how the two times could be off by so much. there is not a lot of human error that can occur with a simple stopwatch. start. stop. then again, maybe i should just go with the 19:06. but that would only add salt to the wound.
needless to say, i am still frustrated with this distance. but i probably wouldn't be frustrated if i would have been realistic in the first place. i do not train properly for shorter distances. i don't put it the time or effort to get faster for the 5k, so i don't know why i expect that i should just magically break 18 minutes when i never do any speed work. i think it's time for me to stop being lazy.