Saturday, February 23, 2008

Park to Park 5M Race

5 miles, unofficially 31:26, 6:17 pace, HR information unreliable, Cadence = 94

Today I had a strong showing at the Park to Park 5 Mile race. My goal was to maintain a 6:30 pace, which I thought would be possible but difficult. In reality I finished with a 6:17 pace. That pace over five miles is only a few seconds slower than my personal best for a 5K. And since this is the only 5 mile race I've ever run, I suppose this time was a personal record for me.

If I could have run another 1.2 miles at a 7:08 pace then I would have run a 40:00 10K -- my goal for the Crescent City Classic. I'll get a chance to test my 10K capabilities in a couple of weeks at the Bayou City Classic. Right now that time seems out of my grasp, but I still have a bit of time to get into better shape.

Mile Splits:
1 - 6:09 -- off with the rabbits. I know this course well since I used to run mile five on a daily basis, and I've run on mile 2-4 frequently. I'm not overly concerned with my fast start, because I'm counting on sheer willpower and course familiarity to carry me through the later miles. (first half = 2:58, second half = 3:11). My heart rate monitor slips off of my chest twice, so I pull it around my waist and decide that I won't be getting any reliable data from the monitor today.
2 - 6:18 -- During this mile I pass by the Toyota Center, home of the Rockets. I cross under I-45 and head out of down town. A few people pass me in this stretch - maybe 5 or 6, and I pass perhaps one or two.
3 - 6:21 -- I'm starting to feel the weight of my legs on this stretch, but I tell myself I'm half way done, and all I have to do is get through mile four. I'm counting on the last mile to be a breeze, relatively speaking. I think it's on this stretch that someone passes me, but I pass them back within the next sixty seconds. During this stretch I pass under US 59 and I'm on Almeda. I can almost count the traffic lights until I'm back at my old apartment.
4 - 6:06 -- Buoyed by the fact that I'm still feeling relatively fresh, and knowing that my times have been slipping, I rip off a fast mile here. During this stretch it becomes apparent to me just how many police officer were employed to maintain traffic control. They can't possibly be making money on this race . . . and then I remember that Minute Maid is sponsoring this race so Hermann Park probably will get a significant payday. I don't think I pass anyone, or anyone passes me on this stretch. I feel just a bit of a headwind here, but nobody is around to use as shelter against the wind. I turn the corner from Almeda to Hermann Circle and I pass by my old apartment at the four mile mark.
5 - 6:16 -- I'm really tired here, but I figure I can hold on for another mile. I slide up my heart rate monitor so I can monitor my heart rate, and I quit looking at my watch to monitor my pace as it became all about survival. I look over my shoulder and realized I will be passed if I don't keep up the pace. I pass what I thought was the turnoff to the finish line and realize the finish line is further than I think. And what's worse, it's a blind corner finish so I don't have a good idea what's left. Also, the course has been measured incorrectly at the mile splits, so I'm wondered if it will be long and I started doubting my ability to finish strong. As that happened, someone passed me. I cheer him on with some encouragement as I wonder if he's going faster or I'm going slower. As I pass the last turn I saw the finish line and the clock. I knew I was going to make my goal time (32:30) and I sprinted to the finish. In doing so I pass the guy who just passed me. According to my Garmin, I covered the last 180 feet at a 5:08 pace, with a heart rate of 180 BPM. I passed the guy like he's standing still and I had a small pain of guilt because I felt as though I stole his finish. I also wondered where that energy was one half mile before, and why I didn't kick it into high gear earlier. It will be interesting to see my finish photos. I remember slobbering on myself as I finished . . . lol. Like I said, I'm anxious to see the expression on my face as I neared the finish line.

The after party was great, and I enjoyed hanging out with Shon and drinking a few beers. Perhaps the funniest thing was watching a homeless guy try to convince the beer guy that he was part of the race today and he just finished.

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