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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bursting with Speed 5k

I was pretty happy with my 5k this weekend, because I went into it feeling pretty flat and tired, but still ran ok. I ran 19:50, which for me is good. I struggle with the 5k more than any other distance, and it's not easy for me to run under 20 minutes ever.

The race starts at 8:20 on the Lakefront, which means it is a sunny and windy race, but when I arrived to warm up, I noticed that the wind didn't seem terrible. It was also a headwind at the start, which was good, since it's an out-and-back race. I did about a mile and a half warm up, then squeezed in about four rows back. We had quite the crowd up front, as this race offers prize money and thus brings out crowds of fast runners.
Sunny day on Lake Ponchartrain
Mile 1: I wore my Garmin, but decided to only look at the mile splits and run mostly by feel. But I did get caught up in the start, and went out a bit fast. I looked around about a tenth of a mile in and saw that I was around the too-fast crowd, and backed off. This is a mostly easy, flat mile, but I think my Garmin read it a bit off; my Garmin buzzed well before the mile marker, and showed 6:11, which definitely seemed far too fast for my pace. I'm going to blame that one of the Garmin.
Mile 2: The second mile of this race is hard: you have a bridge, followed immediately by a traffic circle, which is the turnaround point, then back up the bridge. I huffed up the first climb, and realized as I tried to charge down the other side that the turn coming right up prevented really taking advantage of downhill speed. I scooted around the circle and headed back up the bridge. The only good part of my slow climb was passing another female (actually, a teammate!), which I hadn't been able to do since the early moments of sorting out. But the bridges - and probably my Garmin inaccuracies! - took their toll; mile 2 was 6:35!
Mile 3: Now I should have been able to really book it, with the bridges done and the benefit of a tailwind, but I wasn't really able to muster much leg turnover (my cadence for this race averaged 182, which is about what I do for a marathon!). I tried to sort of pick people off - I got one dude. That was it. And I was about to stroll across the finish, except my teammate Will (who had already finished) shouted at me to pump my arms, so I did get in a little sprint there. 6:24 for mile 3; 5:12 pace for the remaining 0.1.
Power Miler women after the race

I was happy with my 19:50, although I definitely need to work on getting that faster (much faster) at some point. In retrospect, I need to keep an eye on pace for the 5k - I'm not a good enough 5k runner to go by feel, and not only do I get caught up in too much speed, I am also prey to the late-race slow down that those around me undergo. Next race I will go back to monitoring my pace a bit more.
I also thought the track club did a much better job this year on a few things: finally, FINALLY, after years of suggestion, they posted signs with the alphabetical breakdown for packet pickup up on the tent over the tables. So now you can easily see that you need to be in the third line, which is N - T, for example, rather than the mayhem, madness, and shuffling that generally occurs as people swap lines back and forth (the various alphabet sections also aren't always in alphabetical order, so you can't even assume that if your name starts with "B" that you will be near the first spot; the first line might be G-L. There was no rhyme or reason).
Surprisingly non-ugly T-shirt

Plus, the course wasn't short! Hurray! Because it was last year, and that sucked. So all in all, a good race, and hey, even the shirt is cute!


  1. I think I know what traffic circle you're talking about...i grew up right near there! Small world!

  2. Those shirts are fun!! Love the color! Congrats on running a strong race!!