I ran my third 5k of the year this past Sunday. Hunter’s Run is a local 5k in Medfield to raise awareness for organ donation and is run in honor of a boy in my daughter’s class who’s had two double lung transplants. This is the third year for the race and it remains a mostly small, local affair, which is fine. Not every race needs to be a big production. You can use smaller races to work on specific things in your training.
For me, I’m working on staying healthy and going fast in shorter races and triathlons this year. This is my third 5k this year (New Years, St. Patrick’s) and the third race where the time dropped. In that respect, things are improving and it was a success. On the other hand, I was hoping to go under 20 minutes and faded in the last mile to finish a few seconds short. Not as good. The speed is back, but the endurance is still lagging. With the knee arthritis, I’m still trying to figure out the best way to build an effective mileage base without irritating the knee. It’s a work in progress.
I have learned that resting or tapering is not going to help. I was fighting off a minor cold mid-week and took Wednesday and Thursday off from running or any activity. By Friday the knee was tight and cranky. Best to stay mildly active right up to race day.
The race was held at the Kingsbury Club in Medfield and despite being officially spring, it was still chilly at 8 am in the morning and I appreciated having somewhere to wait inside before having to warm-up.
The sign-up/number pick-up was a bit overwhelmed. They needed more volunteers handling the registrations. Getting everyone their number pushed back the start of the race by 15 minutes. Kudos for not arbitrarily sticking to the start time when there were clearly people still in line. But a definite area of improvement for next year.
Swag was a race t-shirt (not a terrible design!), some candy and a small bag.
There were a couple of vendors inside and a picture area, but I was stuck in line getting my number to really check it out.
There was a kid’s 1 mile race on the same course, so that had to go off first. There were some impressively fast kids. The winning girl was close to seven minutes.
Minor pet peeve: lots of kids lining up for the 5k in the front. Luckily there was lot of room off the start, so getting around them wasn’t a problem.
The first mile is the only mile within the race with a net uphill, a gradual climb of about 55 feet. Nothing very taxing especially coming near the start. I dodged the aforementioned kids and, given it was a small race, found myself quickly near the front with two others, one kid and one guy about my age.
As we hit the straightaway, they started to pull away a bit. A quick glance at the watch showed that they were running sub-6, not a sustainable pace for me, so I tried to keep them in sight, but let them go. I didn’t look back, but couldn’t hear anyone. Alone again. I have this bad habit of finding a way to end up by myself in these races. Though way to run.
Mile 1: 6:14 (6:02 GAP with the hill factored in)
The second mile was dead flat, but finding myself isolated, I started thinking a bit too much about how much this was all hurting. Even after 2 other events this year, I’m still not adjusted to the shorter, faster, jesus-this-hurts-pain of the 5k. Basically, I’m mentally weak along with physically weak. Not a good combo for a PR.
Still, after 2 miles I was averaging a hair over 6:20, so I still had a shot at under 20 minutes. The PR (19:15 was out the window).
Mile 2: 6:28
Even with the payoff of a decent downhill near the end of mile 3, the wheels were coming off and the pace was slipping badly. The two guys in front of me were out of sight, but again, no one coming up to push me from behind. I could have used the push. I think a good chunk of the pace slipping was mental, though the heart rate was pretty high, so maybe I’m being tough on myself.
Like the St. Patrick’s race, I just kept telling myself to hold on for the downhill and I’d use it to slingshot me to the finish. Didn’t happen. I held on until the hill, but didn’t really get a significant boost on the downhill. I managed a mile kick the last quarter mile of the race, but finished just over 20 minutes in 20:10.
Mile 3: 6:37 (but actually worse given the downhill, so a GAP pace of 6:43)
Just the basics. Plenty of bananas and water bottles and some scattered boxes of DD munchkins. There was a DJ which kept the kids dancing, moving and mostly distracted in the chill.
Perhaps not my best run, but a good race. Despite all my self-criticism, I came in third overall and first in my age group. Even in a small local, that’s something. You can also race those that show up. Cash prizes for the first male and female finisher ($50), but not medals or age group prizes.
I was happy my cadence held steady in the mid-170s the whole race. That will help my knee. Heart rate data might have been a bit funky, it jumped up and held in the 180s for most of the second half of the race. Or maybe it’s not funky. I definitely was red-lining it.
I did run this course once previously almost ten years prior, before it was Hunter’s Run, and called the Kingsbury Classic. My time? 20:06. So in 10 years, I’ve barely changed improved. Or, glass half full, 10 years older, I can still run about the same time. Let’s look at it that way.
One more road race in the spring season to try to get under 20 minutes. I’m going to get it.