It’s still racing season, and today found me rolling out of bed at 6AM after a very restrained Saturday night (two reasonably sized glasses of white wine) to head to New Canaan, CT for the annual Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation 5K race.
Like most races, this is the first time I’ve run it. It was a great day for a race: Cool, dry and sunny. But the wind was kicking up, averaging 14 MPH with gusts of 25. The starting line was set up using some sort of very hazardous rolling contraption. Not wanting to be shoved into the contraption and trampled on by enthusiastic runners, I did something I never do, which was to line up right in front. I saw little kids and a guy in jeans doing this, so I wasn’t about to stand on formality.
My goal for the race was to finish under 25 minutes. The gun went “blam” and we were off. I had no idea what the course was like, so I tried not to go out like a rocket only to die on a surprise hill later on. Still, I was running 6:45, over a minute per mile faster than I’d intended to, for the first half mile or so. The start of the race was a long, slight downhill incline, so I took advantage of that and kept a quick sub-7:30 pace until around the mile 1 marker. Then I settled into an 8:00 pace. I needed to average that in order to come in under 25 minutes and I figured I’d bought myself some time on the first mile.
The rest of the race was pretty easy — only a few small hills — so I was able to keep that pace for most of the way. The times they were calling at the mile markers were totally off, though, which was pretty silly. As always, I was happy to have my watch/footpod setup to let me know how fast I was really going. They also called the 3 mile mark way, way before the finish line. Instead of a tenth of a mile, it was more like a quarter mile.
Anyway, I crossed the finish line at 24:23 and was very happy with that time considering the wind and unfamiliar course, which made me a bit cautious. My heart rate monitor said I maxed out at 93%, which means I could have run harder. I’ll do that next time. I suspect I did well in my age/gender group. If that’s the case, I’ll update this post with some horn tooting data.
This was my best 5K time. By way of comparison, I ran my first 5K last fall at 28:10 and my second in early March at 27:17. In the past two months, my average race pace (this is an average of all distance race paces, not just the 5K) has dropped from 9:09 (April) to 8:39 (May) to 7:51 (June). Still no speed demon, but I’m getting faster. I will be trying for more cheap plastic trophies in the coming months.
My next 5K is scheduled for 7/23 (if the weather isn’t a killer). Goal time for that is 23:45. If I can do that, according to this nifty calculator it means I’m in shape to run a sub 1:50 Westchester Half Marathon in October. With the rest of the summer and early fall to train, perhaps I can make it very sub 1:50.