HELLO! Today I ran my fifth 5K of the year, the Mitten Run 5K in West Hartford CT, which starts and finishes at a local upscale outdoor shopping center . I ran this last year in 22:20, which was a PR and turned out to be a much tougher PR to break than I had anticipated. At the time, I had been running for less than a year and just assumed my PR time would continue to improve as I continued to run. I spent most of this year focusing on marathon training, which meant lots of slower miles and running hilly routes, while almost completely neglecting speed workouts. Turns out that is not ideal for setting faster 5K times.
My four prior 5K's this year were good runs, all in 23: xx. No PR though. Having been unable to PR despite running those 5K's as best as I could, I decided I would work on my speed starting in November once I was recovered from my Oct 13 marathon. So, I've been doing two speed workouts a week since Nov 1. I've also kept the mileage up (November was my highest mileage month to date). Back in late October, I raced a duathlon relay with DW and ran those five miles faster than my 5K PR pace. That, combined with a month of speed workouts, gave me confidence heading into this race.
DW is still limited to spectator duties due to her stress fracture, which sucks and is a major bummer. We met our friends Emma and Shawn before the race. Today would be a record size field for this event, being 2100 strong. I figured I had a chance for a top 100 finish, so after a mile warmup I lined up with Shawn close to the front, about five rows back (he is faster than me). My strategy was to just hold my pace below 7:00. I knew that'd be tough since my fastest mile had been 6:57, but I thought I could do it. The weather was foggy, 37 degrees, and wet roads. After a 15 minute start delay due to so many race day registrations, the gun sounded at 10:45.
Mile 1: 6:46. A new fastest mile for me. The race started with about a quarter mile of gentle downhill, so my strategy was to open up my pace right from the start and take advantage of the downhill. My pace was creeping close to 6:00 during the first half mile but I felt strong and in control, going fast but keeping myself in check. After that initial quarter mile of downhill, the next 1.25 miles were mostly a gentle uphill. I knew I'd slow down a bit during that time.
Mile 2: 6:57. The gentle uphills weren't bad at all, but they were enough that I felt them and they made we work. For most of mile 2, my pace was hovering around 7:10 thanks to the uphills. Not where I wanted to be but I wasn't too concerned. Once I got past the halfway point of the race, the course flattened out. I picked up the pace. I was expecting this. The race was unfolding pretty much exactly as I had planned: Fast start, slower middle of the race, pick it up during the last mile-plus.
Mile 3: 6:54. Well, what goes up usually comes down. Those gentle uphills during the first half of the race were now gentle downhills. I was starting to hurt though. These were the fastest two miles I had run and I was feeling it. My legs hurt, I was working very hard, and I was snotting and spitting all over myself (it was 37 degrees after all). I was able to keep the pace fast though thanks to the downhills. Having spent most of the race just checking my pace, I realized around mile 2.5 that I had a PR in the bag, barring a catastrophe. It was around this time too that I began to want this race to end. I was suffering. At mile 2.8, I got triple chicked. Three ladies cruised right past me. I didn't care.
Mile 3.1: 6:37 pace. There was a ton of crowd support the last quarter mile, which was cool and helped me finish strong. For a rather crowded race, I was by myself for the homestretch. As I approached the finish line and saw the clock, I knew I was putting the icing on a great year of running. I held my fist in the air and let out some "WOOOOO"s for the last tenth of a mile. The crowd cheered. That probably slowed me down a bit, but I allowed myself to enjoy these last few seconds. It really felt like victory for me. I crossed the finish line and the clock read 21:27. I put a heck of a dent in that PR. My first order of business after the race was to seek out the free sugar cookies. Success.
Official time was 21:23. A 57 second PR.
Pace was 6:53. This is the first time I've strung together three sub-7:00 miles, and this pace was faster than my previous best 1 mile time.
OA 116 / 2027
Men: 97 / 775
M40-44: 11 / 99 (whoa!)
I've had a heck of year. I broke my HM PR twice, broke my marathon PR twice, and finally set a new 5K PR. I am not going to run a spring marathon, so I'm going to focus the winter on keeping up with the speed workouts and attack the shorter spring races. It'll be interesting to see what I can do next year.
Thanks for reading, but mostly thanks for being enablers.
What an incredible year you've had!! Congrats on shaving a HUGE amount off that PR- great job!
Bless your heart.
A few pics...
Me and Emma pre-race. She ran a good 5K yesterday as well.
That's me waving, lined up near the front!
Me in the homestretch, fist raised in victory.
Crossing the finish line.
Jess runs for bacon
Wow you killed that PR!! Congrats Phil!
Trying to find some more hay to restock the barn
What types of speed workouts have you been doing?
3/17 Shamrock Marathon
4/20 North Coast 24 Hour
7/27 Burning RIver 100M
8/24 Baker 50M
10/5 Oil Creek (distance to be determined)
Brands I Heart:
Altra Zero Drop
I AM running!!!
The mircle isn't that I finished. The mircle is that I had the courage to start.
~ John Bingham
+1 on your amazing 2012! Congrats on beating (destroying) your previous PR!
Congratulations on a great race and a great year! I can't wait to see what the future brings for you. I hope your wife heals up soon as well.
OMG, Phil!! What an awesome race! HUGE congrats on that pretty PR! Muchos cervezas y margaritas! Pics are Pinksational!
But The Smile That I Sent Out Returned With You.
uʍop ǝpᴉsdn sǝʇᴉɹʍ ʇI
Great stuff, Baboon. It has been fun watching you improve this year. PRs are always nice.
Run Like a Mother
Wow! Awesome race you had!! I was going to do this one but I am not quite ready yet.
Good job! I'm in the same place sort of. Been marathon training all year (ran 2 this fall). But I PR'd in a 5 k yesterday at 22:24, M, age 47.
Now I'm focusing on what I could do if I add some serious speed work.
My running blog
Goals | sub-4 trail 50k | complete first 100 miler without dying