07 June 2009

Benjamin-Ross Memorial 5k Race Report

Local races are my new favorite. This 5k was held at a high school that is only two miles from my house. It was an easy decision to run there as warm up and run back as a cool down.

After a very easy run there I signed up and then stretched. I then did a couple of laps around the high school track with a few sprints in there to get my fast twitch muscles awake and ready to go. I have been itching to set a new PR and break 30 minutes for a long time, and I was now very confident that I would be doing it today.

Something in me sounded an alarm when I saw that the start line was at the bottom of a pretty steep hill. Short... but steep.

At the start I was keeping a steady pace with the rest of the group, and since we were going up hill it helped me to stay at a slow pace to start. But the top of the hill brought out some speed. For some reason I kicked it up a notch and was going pretty steady. It felt comfortable, and I refused to look at my watch, but toward the end of the first mile I was feeling winded. The mile split came up and I could not help but look at my watch.


Not good.

That is about two minutes faster than I wanted to do the first mile. I think that triggered some mental block in my head, because I now felt even more winded and it was hard to get into a better pace. I slowed it down, but now it just did not feel right.

Despite slowing the pace I was still going pretty hard. The course was extremely hilly, which was a surprise to me since I have never run this course and could not find a map of it before the day of the race.

Throw in the heat, 70+ degrees, add the hills and the fact that I started way to fast, I was starting to bonk. It took just about everything I had to keep pushing hard. My HR went up pretty high and maxed out at points.

The end of the run was downhill, then a slight uphill onto the high school track. When I turned the corner and got onto the track I saw the clock. The first number on the clock was a 2! I could not believe it... Not only was I going to set a new PR, as planned, but I was going to break 30 minutes, as hoped.

I sprinted into the chute and finished in 28:30. The run killed me. I was totally spent and as I slowed down I felt like I needed to lay down. I got some water and forced myself to walk for a few minutes in order to cool down. I started feeling really good.

Even runs that take everything out of you, and feel horrible during the run, feel so great when they end... not because they are over, but because the body has reached a peak and pushed itself the way it was designed to be pushed.

Some of my first thoughts after finishing were "how will I ever be able to run a marathon when I almost committed suicide in a 5k?" but those thoughts only lasted a few minutes. My mind quickly shifted gears and I started thinking... "I almost killed myself running 5k, can I push it harder to get through a marathon?"

As for the race... the registration form said that it was an informal race in keeping with the Ross tradition. I expected that this would mean no frills and only the basic essentials. But I was wrong.

It was well organized and very well run. The t-shirts are pretty nice and the bibs actually had the name of the race printed on them. This is definitely a race that I will be doing again, and at $18 on race day is a great deal!


Running through Life said...

YAY!! Congrats! You did an awesome job! $18 on race day? Wow! Keep up the great work!

lindsay said...

congrats on the pr!! :)

5k's are just as hard as marathons. mentally i am like "oh it's only 3(.1) miles, i can go all out effort". riight, cause i am in sprint-for-3-miles shape. it's hard to hold back and pace yourself in them. so, don't take the mentality of wondering how you would survive 26.2! i'm sure you wouldn't start out as hard knowing you still have 25 miles to go :)

Some guy named John said...

Congratulations on a great race and breaking a significant barrier!

That experience of freaking out a little when you see that you've run the first split too fast is something I'm familiar with ... I do it in danged near every race I run! The upside is that you bank a few seconds when you do that, and I've run a bunch of PRs off a pace that was too fast early.

Reid said...

Nice run! I always start out fast, too, but I justify it by an article I read in RW a few years ago. It was basically a study with a college cross country team. They had some of the runners start out at normal pace, and others at a faaster pace. The faster pace group finished their races with significantly faster times. It's tough, but it works. You got to get out of that comfort zone if you're going to progress and get faster. Looks like you have done that. Way to go!

Sonia said...

what a great race! It's proven that starting fast in a 5K race is the way to go and you just prove that again! What a great PB! Congrats!