Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Hot One

I ran in the 4th installment of the Arizona Road Racers' 5K Summer Series on Saturday. I'd missed the 2nd and 3rd races and was determined to make this race. Gun time was 6:30AM; however, it was rather humid following a thunderstorm the night before coupled with air temp north of 90F. Perfect racing weather for a mid-summer 5K on the desert. And despite the heat, I was impressed that 600+ Arizonans get up way to early on a Saturday morning and show up ready to run. Registration opened at 5:30AM, but it was closer to 6:10 before I checked in.

ARR laid out a new course around Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Arizona. The new course layout starts out with a 1/4 mile down hill, one loop around a small lake in the middle of the park; a climb back up the hill, followed by another large loop. The last 1/2 mile runs back down the hill and finishes up with an uphill back to the start line.

With my new laid-back racing attitude, I started out way back near the rear of the pack, so I sprinted around the side of the crowd after I passed the timing mats to brake free of the mob. This got me starting off way too fast. To make matters worse, I let myself get suckered into the delusion that I could actually run much faster than I should as I allowed gravity to pull me down hill. After I got to the bottom of the hill, I didn't slow down - however, reality set in as I got winded and was forced to back off the pace 5 or 6 minutes into the race. Some time after I passed the first mile marker, I settled into a grove and was feeling good until I had to run back up the hill.

I really slowed down while running up the first hill and a steady stream of younger and stronger runners passed me up as I climbed. I just let them go and wished them well. After I got to the top of the hill, I just listened to the tunes on my iPOD and enjoyed the scenery. The lungs started to ache a bit after the 2nd mile marker and all I could do was continue to put one foot in front of the other.

Of late, I've been running races and training runs without a stop-watch, Garmen or any other timing device that I can reference during the run. I've just been running by how I feel at the moment. In this race, I was sure I was running somewhere around 8:30 to 9:00 min/mi, so I was shocked when I crossed the finish line and saw 22:50 on the race clock. In the end, my official time was 22:17; not too bad. Middle of the pack for the 50 to 54 year old age group, but not too bad for me.

Actually, I was thrilled with the time. It was my 5th fasted 5K time and 2nd fastest of the year. 2009 has been a great year in fact. I've run 3 5Ks this year, all under 22:30. I haven't done that since 2006.

1) 07/22/2006 - 21:36 (6:58/mi)
2) 08/05/2006 - 21:38 (6:58/mi)
3) 05/23/2009 - 21:58 (7:05/mi)
4) 07/01/2006 - 22:01 (7:06/mi)
5) 07/18/2009 - 22:18 (7:11/mi)
6)03/07/2009 - 22:29 (7:15/mi)