Monday, June 18, 2012

Race Report: Run With Dad 5k

As I mentioned in my Friday post, I ran the Run With Dad 5k on Sunday - otherwise known as my 1st Father's Day!  I couldn't think of a more fitting way to celebrate than to run a Father's Day 5k.  If I am being honest though, I knew I wouldn't be running this race all out.  Mentally and physically, I just didn't have it in me to try to run PR effort.  With a 1 month old, I just haven't been able to squeeze in enough of the 5k type stuff that would put me in 5k race shape.  I am still in great running shape all things considered, but just not race ready for a gut busting effort.  Not to mention, my body comp has taken a slight hit and I am a few lbs heavier.  All of those factors played a role.  So my goal for the race was to run a hard effort through 2 miles and then pick it up for the last mile at my actual 5k race pace.

Race morning turned out to be great - temps around 60 felt cool and crisp.  I went out for a 2+ mile warm up just to get in some pre-race miles and scope out the course a bit.  Unlike most courses, this one took place on a smaller network of trails in Reston, which means it would have lots of turns and hills.  I was told ahead of time that it is a tough course, so I just wanted to get an idea of what I had in store.  Sure enough, the rumors were true - lots of little short, steep ones and only one big hill that we'd go down in the 1st 1/2 mile and have to come back up toward the finish.  So after my warm up and a couple of race pace strides, I headed over to the start line on the high school track with about 5 minutes till the start.

I seeded myself about 3 rows back, knowing that this race would have plenty of faster runners in it.  Most of the =PR= Racing Team was there, so I put myself where I thought I'd fit in, which turned out to be a pretty good spot.  Once the gun sounded, we were off and I didn't really have any jostling for position, since everyone up front was pretty much where they should be.  After the quick 300m on the track, we headed off into the woods.  The majority of the first mile was downhill, so I knew my pace would be a bit faster than the rest of the race.  After winding through the tree covered trails, we crossed the Mile 1 marker in about 6:02.

I knew Mile 2 had a bunch more hills and that Mile 3 would be largely up hill, since Mile 1 was largely downhill, so I was glad to come through still feeling good.  I kept the effort the same, but my pace slowed, since we hit more little hills.  Mainly, I was keeping it in the 6:20 range and I felt like I had another gear, which was where I wanted to be, so I could pick it up for the last mile for a solid run.  I came through Mile 2 in 6:22 and started upping the effort.

Maybe it was because of the constant weaving or the woods, but the race seemed to pass by very quickly.  Before I knew it, I was on Mile 3 and upping the pace.  I started to hurt a bit, since we had to pretty much go up hill the entire time until getting back to the track.  As we weaved our way back, we finally came up on the big hill and I gave it everything, passing 3 people in the process.  After about 100 meters, we turned back onto the track, where I continued to pick it up.  My Mile 3 split came in around 6:10, which I was pretty happy with considering it was up hill.  Effort wise, it was much harder than any other mile.  As a matter of fact, keeping the same effort over the last .1 yielded a 5:15/mile pace, which sounds about right.  It was tough working those up hills so hard!

I came through the finish in 19:11, with my 3rd fastest 5k time ever.  Which is kind of funny to me now, since I wasn't really working terribly hard, it was a tough course, and my fitness isn't quite there yet.  Says a lot about where I've come from.  Doesn't seem like too long ago that I had my breakthrough 5k performance of 19:31.  Of course, my PR is now almost a full minute faster than that.

After the race, I met up with some friends at the finishline and we headed out for a long cool down to get in more miles on the day.  To me, the day was more about celebrating being a dad, and getting in a solid long run workout with a hard 5k in the middle.  I ended up with about 10 mi on the day total.

When we got back from running, it was just in time for the awards ceremony.  Sure enough, I won my age group and took home a gift certificate to =PR=, which will be money well spent for sure.

With a stacked field, I was glad to get my award, though some of the other age groups had more speedy people.  Overall, I finished 26/469, which is right around the top 5%.  Not too bad for a fast field.  Even if I gave it a full effort, I only would have been a few spots higher, so it was kind of nice to wake up this morning not feeling like someone took a sledgehammer to my body! 

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