Race Report – MEC 5k Take Two

Race Date: October 27, 2013

This report is late coming. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.  Fighting with myself about whether I should write it or not. I’ve decided to do it because I need to keep things real. Accountability is important to me. So here goes.

This was my third attempt at a 5k race and the second attempt at this course for the season. After four months of hard work, I was hoping to end off on a high note. Reap the rewards of a successful training cycle in which I achieved weekly goals I had never even dreamed possible. 

About a week before the race, it was decided that Mike would pace me through it. A few times that week we discussed what the approach would be. Mike was suggesting a negative split. Go out a bit slower at a 6:05 pace and then speed up to about 5:50 or so for the second half. Not being totally convinced that I would be able to increase my speed I decided I wanted to do even splits at a 5:57 pace. That would bring me in at about 29:45. Based on my training, I thought that with someone there to pace me through it, I would be able to maintain that speed.

Race morning was sunny but pretty chilly calling for 2 ayers on top and capri length leggings on bottom. Mike and I walked to the start together. It was nice to see some of our friends there. Miguel, Andrew and Wing had all decided to run this small community race last minute.

I got off to a fantastic start. Mike’s pacing for the first km was a bit faster than the 5:57 we had discussed but I was feeling great. As the second km started I was a little bit behind Mike, but keeping up. And then around 1.75k, as we passed a water station, a girl that was running in front of me decided to come to a complete stop. I had to stop to avoid crashing into her and the few seconds I lost, increased the distance between Mike and I considerably. I was a little shaken up and it took me more time than it should have to shake off the near collision and Mike just kept getting further and further ahead of me. By the time I got to the turnaround point at 2.5k, he was nowhere in sight. I had lost my pacer.

I couldn’t understand why he kept going. Why he didn’t come back or wait for me and help get me back on track. I felt totally defeated and I started walking. I walked for about 60 seconds or so, put my iPod on and spent the time considering quitting. Cutting my losses and calling it a day. But, I couldn’t do it. I don’t quit anything. So, I started to run again, but my head was just all over the place. I was really rattled. Confused by why Mike didn’t stop and wait for me. His sole purpose for being in this race was to pace me and I couldn’t even see him any more. I walked again. 45 – 60 seconds. I’m not exactly sure.

Around 3.5k I thought “pull it together, you’ve worked too hard”. So, with new found strength, I picked it up a bit and carried forward. Somewhere around 4k I saw Miguel on the side of the route. He had finished his race and come back out on the course. He ran with me to the finish. Pushing me, encouraging me, the way Miguel does. I played leap frog with another runner back and forth for that km and was back up to the 5:55 pace I had targeted for. The last 100m or so I had Mike on the left and Miguel on the right shouting at me and I saw the leap frogger coming up on me again. No way was he going to pass me. I dug deep giving it everything I had and left him behind. MEC 5k Take 2As I ran to the finish I recall hearing Andrew and Wing cheering for me. What a great feeling to have such amazing, supportive friends. Crossed the finish, stopped my Garmin. Mission not accomplished.

Going through my Garmin track I can see exactly where the break was and when I picked it up again and I am confident that had I not gotten rattled, concentrated on the task at hand (after all it was my race to win or lose) I would have achieved my 30 minute goal.

After speaking with Mike, I found out that we had a disconnect. I had not been clear as to what I expected of him. I told him to run a 5:57 pace and that’s what he did. He thought if I fell behind I would work harder to catch back up in order to achieve my goal. I had assumed he would stick with me regardless of what was happening. No blame on Mike. My fault. Disconnect or not, I should have been able to stay focused and I didn’t.

The 5k race is a tough one. You have to be focused and push hard for the full distance in order to succeed. There can be no mistakes. A lot of people don’t like running them for that very reason.

As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed training specifically for the 5k races. Doing the speed work, the challenge of each week’s intervals. Loved it. And at the end of each 5k race, when I’m doubled over because my stomach is turning and I can’t catch my breath, I feel like I’ve done something really great. I’ve pushed myself as far as I could.

I haven’t hit my 30 minute goal yet, but when I do, I’m pretty sure I’ll be setting my sights on 25 minutes…

Official time: 31:01

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