Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Goblin Gallop 5k

Background – 2011 so far has been venturing off into other frontiers – first half of the year was mostly Ironman focused – through the summer was Ultramarathon focused – both were great experiences but certainly not great races. In fact my last good race with good conditions was the CIM marathon last December. This 5k I wanted something more from a race. Conditions were perfect in the 40s. I had a PR that it seemed like I should be able to knock out but historically the shorter distances I’ve just had problems with. Some recent workouts suggested sub16:55 – my PR set in 2008 – was within reach. After the ½ marathon last Sunday that I ran on a hard week of workouts with tired legs – I set up my week to have fresh legs at the 5k – I really wanted my best. Besides the PR I knew one of my local rivals would be there – W – who has beat me in every race we’ve ever raced except for one – ’08 San Antonio Marathon – where I managed to snag the 1st place Master’s title from him on a technicality (I had the faster gun time – he had a much faster chip time starting the race 15 minutes late). W and I ran this 5k race for Shell in a corporate challenge so I knew he’d be there (as I invited him) so we’d both represent the team.

Race plan was to just stick with W – I told him before the race I was just going to try to stick with him so he could lead me to a PR – I wanted to try to hold 5:20’s per mile and was hoping he’d be right about that pace.

We’re off – after a few 100 yards I glanced at the Garmin and it showed about 5mpm pace so I tried to ease off just a little – there were a few ahead of me and as I eased off W came on by so I tucked in right behind him. The pace feels just a little hot but I was going with it. My watch shows the auto mile 1 split at 5:15 – just short of the milemaker. I stick tucked behind W but after another ¼ mile I glance down at the watch and see we are holding 5:35 pace – too slow – so I pick it up and go on by him. In my mind I’m thinking of the story he just told me at the startline about the ½ marathon last weekend where he let J go by about mile 11 then sprinted by him at the end to beat him by 1 second at the finishline to take fastest Master (besides Sean Wade). By about another ¼ mile my split pace is back to 5:25 for the 2nd mile and with a few turns in the next ½ mile the overall split for the 2nd mile ends up 5:21 by auto recorded laps on my watch. One final turn and the last mile is a straight shot to the finishline. A heavy breather comes by me near the beginning of that – not W – but I still figured he was back there somewhere. I’m holding on with all I’ve got – the words “pain is good” or many variants of that keeps ringing through my head – that finishline so far up ahead I just kept willing towards me with all I had. With the sun behind us pretty low I could see any shadows of someone coming up from behind and I kept expecting a charging W to come by but he never came. Finally mile 3 clicks off at 5:23 and just a short 0.1 miles to go. I’m trying to muster up a sprint but could only manage a small pace increase and I take that into the finish – 5:08 pace for the last 0.12 miles by my watch – and I see the clock clicking through the 16:3X seconds and I finish right at 16:40 4th place overall and 1st place Master – a 15 second PR – and beyond all expectations – I somehow beat W – who ends up finishing 5th place about 25 seconds back.

Summary (Garmin):

1 5:15 152 (163 max)
2 5:21 168 (172 max)
3 5:24 173 (175 max)
0.12 5:08 175 (176 max)

Total 16:40 (5:23 pace per official race distance)

Gotta love the award picture at the top - a picture of a competitive jerk pushing 2nd place out of the way to break the ribbon - Love it!

That was the most awesomest finishline feeling I’ve had all year – one of those big loud “YES!!” moments.

Official Results

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