This past Saturday I jumped into the Plymouth Firefighters' 5K Run/Walk which is held annually in our fair city. The Well Kept Wife works for the city of Plymouth as the Volunteer Coordinator so let's say I am motivated to participate. Actually, it is a great fundraiser as proceeds from the event benefit the Plymouth Firefighters Relief Association. Can't go wrong there.
Plus one gets to witness firefighters from Plymouth and Maple Grove battling for bragging rights as many of the firefighters run in full firefighter gear. Truly amazing.
I went into this race planning just to take it easy, but then the gun goes off and the competition bug tells me to get my ass in gear and away I go. This year was no different but I was bound & determined not to go out in sub-6 minute pace like I did last year (running to 5th place with a 19:37 effort). I wanted a more controlled pace, remaining consistent with my mile splits throughout. Plus, after a week of icing the Achilles all day long I wanted to really test out if the Achilles could remain supple through an entire run. I also wanted to see if I could increase my pace for mile two. So, let us go to the tale of the tape.
The course is relatively flat. Just a few minor climbs to separate the men from the boys (except for two as you will see). Lots of loops. We actually met the walkers a mile and a half into the event as we circled back near the start line.
Mile 1: 06:14
Two runners went out strong right away and you just knew they would come back to the pack. And they did less than 1/4 mile later. A pack of six runners formed and it was actually a comfy pace. I wasn't breathing hard and was able to jump around easily to find the best position in the pack. I was worried about going out too strong and some quick looks at the Garmin had me at sub 5:50's so I made sure to stick to plan and just eased off.
Mile 2: 06:10
Mile two was the race. The pack had splintered into a group of two and a group of four separated by 15-yds. I was in the later. As planned, I simply increased the pace which corresponded with a slight hill at the same time. I crossed the gap to the lead group and that was that. It was now the eventual 1 through 3 finishers and no one else was keeping pace. At this point I noticed that I could be grandfather for the two lads I was racing with.
I'll say this, for being ultra disappointed with the state of the younger athlete this days, these two youngin's had wheels and even a little if tactical fortitude.
Mile 3: 06:26
I'm come to this conclusion: The 5K is a young man's game. It is a fast race and at some point along the way it hurts like Hell. Really, really hurts. And you either suck it up knowing you have one lousy mile left or you fold like a baby.
I was really starting to sound like an Edsel climbing the Rockies. I even broke the cardinal rule and looked back not once, but twice. Each time after a 90-degree turn I glanced over my shoulder....could I keep third place at the very least?
The first time our nearest competitor was 300+ yards in back of the lead pack. The second time, he seemed to be closing. Yikes!
As we rounded the last turn to the finish the eventual winner had opened up about a thirty second gap on us. The young lad in second had about 8-10 seconds on me. Thinking that someone was closing on me (voices in my head) I just opened it up for the last 200-yards. I actually started to close on 2nd but he heard my thudding foot steps and opened up again.
As I turned for the chute I peeked over one last time and saw I had third easily and basically walked in. The guy at the chute was yelling at me, 'just a few more steps!' but I was like, 'dude...lets see you do this!'
5K time: 19:31
Overall finish: 3rd of out 297
So, I bettered my effort from last year and ran consistent mile paces. I needed this to boost my confidence as I go into the fall season with some additional events tentatively planned. All in all, a nice race and I was happy that I had a good effort with relatively low mileage. This really has me thinking my training plan for the 2010 season. Do I really need to run as much as I think I do? Would it not be better to continue and put in more time on the bike, as I did this summer to much improved results from 2008? It's got me thinking to keep spending the majority of the time on the bike, then swim, then run. I certainly can't complain about the results of my last five events.
Now then, I can live with losing to a 25-year old young man. But take a gander at the race results and the age of the dude that grabbed second. Thirteen years old. OK, that's 8th grade. Yes, young Nichols Hackl who runs with the Wayzata XC team (currently ranked second in the state). I'm both happy that a young man ran great and, well, exasperated. How long before my very own flesh and blood....the Boy®...is beating me. How long do I have!!??!!
Take a look at the podium picture. Really, what is wrong with this picture. Young man, young man....old man!
Next Event - Kickin' Leaves Duathlon in Grand Rapids, MN next Saturday (10/3). This duathlon consists of a 2.5 Mile Trail Run/ 10 Mile Bike/ 2.5 Mile Trail Run