Saturday, July 22, 2006

5k Race Day

Thank you to everyone who left me words of encouragement over the past few days for my race this morning. Something must have worked. Despite temperatures in excess of 90F (32C), I managed to pull off a 21:36. I few months ago, I would have never imagined I could get under 22 and was truly shocked when I found my name on the printed result sheets with 21:36 next to my name under the CHIP TIME column.

Race Report: Got up this morning at 4:30 AM and walked outside. The air temperature was around 90 and the humidity was high from the thunderstorms yesterdays. I wasn’t too surprised by the temperature since Phoenix hit 118F (48C) yesterday but I’m getting use to running in this weather 2 months into our summer season. I put the top down in my Mustang and hit the road for the 45 minute drive down to Tempe Arizona for the race.

I like getting to these races an hour before gun time. This gives me time to get my bib number, do my warm up run, and get myself calmed down before the gun goes off. You’d think I was running in the world championships the way I behave. Fear of failure I guess. This morning was no different. I got to the check-in table around 5:30 and was out on my 3 mile warm up run by 5:40 … a nice and slow loop around the entire 5k course. I’d never run this course before, so this gave me a chance to see it. Of couse I forgot to take my camera along on my warm up, so I took the pictures below after the race.

As I was standing in the starting chute, I spied my friend ML and pulled him over to me (lucky ML). This was probably the best thing that could have happened because as we got talking I completely forgot about the race. In fact, I was a bit startled when the gun went off and the crowd surged forward. As with the last race, I wasn’t running with my Garmin set up to monitor pace or time or mileage. I had it turned on with auto-pause to simply measure the lap pace for post race diagnostics; therefore, once I got to the start line, all I need to do was run.

What a nice start. Just a straight shot down a canal bank with no turn for a ½ mile. Plenty of time for everyone to get their positions worked out and plenty of space to pass (and get passed). Arizona Road Racers gives high school cross country teams free entries, so there were plenty of young kids in this race. I always enjoy running with the kids. There is something about their wide-eyed enthusiasm that is so refreshing.

The course turned off the canal after ½ mile or so and headed downhill for 100m to one of the ponds in the park. The course then followed the cement path around the edge of the water and then back up to the main road. Through the first mile, I kept my stride short and cadence high; or at least as high as I could. As I passed the one mile marker I saw a friend on mine who normally runs sub-21 minute 5ks about 10 seconds or so in front of me. I knew I had flown through the first mile, but didn’t know just how fast. I still felt strong, but was very conscious of the sun as my skin slowly started to broil.

I passed the water table at the mid point and reach out to get a cup of water to dump on my head. Unfortunately, some moron cut through on my right just as I got the cup and knocked into my still outstretched arm. Most of the water spilled on my fore-arm, the rest dumped on my right foot … well at least my foot was comfortable. 200m later, some other idiot stopped on the course directly in front of me to pick up something he had dropped. I’ve never seen anyone stop in traffic on a 5k before. I jumped around him and avoided getting tripped up. Fortunately, this was the last incident in the race.

I was still feeling pretty good at the 2 mile marker running along with a high-school girl that couldn’t have been any taller than 5’. She and I had been moving back ahead and behind each other for the past mile or so; at least up to the point where she passed her coach. As we passed her coach, he called out to her that she was currently the number 8 female. Well gentle readers, you would have thought I had stopped for a beer. Apparently, she got tired of running with the old guy and took off at a pace I can only dream of doing in another life.

For the first time, I didn’t feel any weaker on mile 3 than mile 2. In past races, I’ve always punked out on mile 3, but not today. As the course looped around and joined back up with the canal I picked up the pace. No sense on leaving anything in the tank on a 3 mile race. I just focused on keeping my stride short and up the cadence to the greatest extent possible. I passed a few folks along the way, but I also got passed in this same stretch, so I was very aware that I didn’t really have the stamina I need for a strong kick at the end.

I passed the 3 mile marker and continued along the canal bank towards the finish line. As I approach within 10m of the finish line the large clock read 21:45. 21:45! Holy crap batman. I knew I had gone under 22:00, but didn’t have a clue by how much.

As I said at the beginning of this long post, I was shock to see that I had run this race in 21:36. I was even more surprised to see that I’d averaged 6:58 miles around the course. Needless to say this was a first also.

I meet up with ML again after he finished an chatted for a few more minutes before I took off and ran my 3 mile cool down … interesting phrase cool down. What does it mean to cool down when the air temperature is approaching your core temperature?

I hope your day is going as well.

Training for the week:

Mon: X-train (40 minutes on a recumbent stationary bike)
Tue: 8 miles, easy, 9:22/mi pace
Wed: 8 miles, easy, 9:04 /mi pace
Thr: 5 miles, easy, 9:04/mi pace
Fri: Rest Day
Sat: 9.1 miles, race – 5k , 6:58/mi pace; 3 mi WU and 3mi CD


Ann Ewbank said...

way to go! A vvery good time in deplorable conditions. Sorry about the bad behavior of our colleagues.

StumbleGuy said...


Fantastic race report. Can't imagine trying to run in that heat. Congratulations on the PR.


Dusty said...

Great job!!! I was wondering yesterday if you got a PR. Way to go!

Glad your foot was cool.. that is just insane... You would think at the pace you were running, everyone around you would be experienced enough to know how to deal with water stations and to get out of the way if you need to stop for something!

Great job! Glad you didn't let it slow you down!!

Mike said...

I'm so happy to read this Phil, congratulations. All those miles (especially those 13 milers) have given you the gift of endurance, which as you say means no more punking out at the end. Again, great work.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, way to go, that's awesome!!!