Sunday, April 29, 2012

Earth Day 5K

Spoiler alert: I now own a 5K race pace that starts with a 6. Six!! Geez. R2 didn't know what to make of that because my Garmin has never seen a mile that starts with a 6.

I haven't raced a 5K in a long time. My PR was 22:46. One way to get fast is to do speedwork. But the other way is to run a lot of miles. Hmmm. Marathon training makes you run a lot of miles. I had a 30+ mile a week base from training for Shamrock and Gansett. I wanted to see if I could do something with all of those miles. I'd already ran a good 5K during my training for Chicago. I ran 23:30 the week before Chicago and it felt easy. No kidding.

When I found out about a 5K at the end of April that was pretty much in my backyard (wait, I don't have one), I figured I'd give it a try. I ran the course a couple of times with my morning running group. It was a mile downhill, a mile flat, and a mile uphill. Not exactly an easy course, but the hill didn't seem that bad. My PR was on a course with 2 very steep hills. I am gradually learning to make friends with the hills in DC. Hills ain't got nothing on me.

I signed up.  With a $5 off coupon from Pacers running store, my entry fee was $25. I picked up my bib (got another odd-numbered bib. I cannot make this stuff up) and T-shirt the day before. Race day logistics were so easy it wasn't even funny.

A little bit in the race, I glanced at my Garmin. 7 something on the overall pace. Then I looked again. 6:20. Uh, what?? I had to look again to make sure I wasn't seeing things. The first mile felt easy, but that was the downhill mile. I knew I was not going to be able to hold my first mile pace for the race. I was picking people off, which is a strategy that works well for me. I ran with a girl who would not let me pass. OK, so we work together. I still felt pretty good through mile 2. Then the uphill started. Just keep pushing upward. I stopped looking at the pace. The girl who was working with me trailed off. I was working harder, but no one passed me. C'mon. I can do anything for one mile.

I don't usually post splits, but these splits especially in combination with the elevation changes are interesting. It looks like I crashed after going out too fast. No. That's just the elevation changes. I sped up on the downhill mile and slowed down on the uphill mile by the same amount of time. Interesting. Then I think I ran a pretty consistent race.

Mile 1 - 6:25 pace with 0 feet elevation gain and 118 feet elevation loss
Mile 2 - 6:53 pace with 34 feet elevation gain and 20 feet elevation loss, probably the closest to my "true" 5K pace
Mile 3 - 7:30 with by 113 feet elevation gain and 15 feet elevation loss
Mile 3.1 - 6:30 pace with 0 feet elevation gain or loss
Overall pace: 6:57

So there you have it. A shiny new PR of 21:35 and a pace with a 6. Holy schnikes. I haven't seen miles in 6s since I was in middle school. Oh! I was first in my age category, so I won a gift certificate to Pacers. Woot!! I need new socks and more Nuun. Thanks, Pacers!! Not bad for my first race in DC. I would do this one again. Pacers knows their stuff.

The race T-shirt is an organic cotton shirt. Not exactly exercise-friendly, but it's pretty. I will wear it around the house and to bed. The National Guard was one of the sponsors. They gave out arm sleeves. I know what I will be wearing for the Marine Corps Marathon.