Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday, 5k race . . . 5th overall

I just finished my final 5k of the year, and finished 5th overall in 18:59. That’s a bit off my 18:24 PR but I didn’t enter the race intending to set a PR, plus this is a hilly 5k course compared to the flatter course when I set my PR. My goal was to run a hard even split 5k and I was pretty successful as my mile pace splits were 6:03, 6:06, and 6:08. I finished the first 800 meters at a 5:40 pace and I felt great but I decided to pull back because I didn’t come into the race mentally prepared to maintain that pace, as I did in my previous 5k. So I pulled back for the next 800 meters and finished the first mile in 6:03. After the first mile, I felt great and decided to maintain that pace for the race and it felt like a good hard tempo run.

I opted to run in my Nike Air Zoom Streak XC’x instead of my Evo’s for two reasons. First, I’ve never raced in the XC’s so I wanted to experience it. Second, this course is quite hilly with about eight hills ranging from 400-800 meters, one after the other, and, for me, the additional cushion takes some load of my quads on the hills. This course is also a very boring course so it’s not inspirational in the least bit. My previous PR on this specific course was 19:41 so that’s was a good: 42 second improvement.

I really enjoyed meeting the person that finished 4th and out-sprinted me in the final 300 meters. I met him after the race and it turns out he is 51 years old and finished in 18:49. These are the runners that give me inspiration. Being 41 yrs. old myself, I look at someone like that and I know I have plenty more years of being able to maintain this performance level. I get so excited when I meet someone older than me that beats me . . . I love it.

This was the first race this year that I didn’t see any runners in minimalist footwear. However, now that I’ve run 5k’s in just about every type of footwear, I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s not about finding footwear that can help your performance as they don’t exist but it’s about finding footwear that doesn’t interfere with your ability to perform (the performance comes from your body, training and commitment level). For me, it depends on the course and terrain. I prefer in the Evo’s on flat courses or the track. I prefer the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC or Nike Katana on hilly courses as I believe the additional cushion takes a little load off my quads on the hills (of course, I train in the Evo’s on hills to build strength). Of course, that’s only a portion of the analysis as there are just too many other factors that go into a specific level of performance on a specific day including how you feel that day mentally and physically as well as the weather and the course/terrain.

After the race, my body felt just awesome. No pain, injury or discomfort. In fact, I didn’t feel like I even pushed that hard so I went home and ran another comfortably hard 6 miles. The best part of the day was watching my 12 yr. old son finish the 5k in under 30 minutes and he rarely runs with me. . . just seeing the enjoyment on his face and how proud he was to finish outweighs everything else.


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