2010-09-04, Kentlands 5K, September 4, 2010
|I ran the Kentlands 5K as a tempo run today, finishing in a time of ~20:40 by my watch. (race course is here) This is my first 5K in nearly a year, my first race since April, and only my third race this year. For this reason, I deliberately ran the race as a “rust-buster” at tempo effort, to reacquaint myself with the mechanics of racing (accomplished – the only things I forgot were Bodyglide and my sunglasses).
Since I wasn’t racing all out, I set my watch to NOT display splits (though I still took them) and wore my heart rate monitor. Rather than chase a specific time, I focused on running a consistent tempoish “hard” effort while maintaining a relaxed upper body and engaged lower abs (two form things I’m working on). I did accomplish these goals, but was a bit unpleasantly surprised by the final time when I checked my watch afterwards – I had been expecting closer to 20:10-20:20. I have been feeling sluggish all this week, and felt particularly drowsy this morning (more on this below), so that may be the explanation.
The course was not flat, but can best be described as “pleasantly rolling” – there were multiple hills, but none were terribly long or steep or major obstacles. After tensing up badly at the start, I just made myself relax, and practiced flowing up and down with the terrain. I was passed a bit in the first mile, but from then on passed many who had apparently gone out too fast.
Mile 1: 6:41 (HR 166) (Garmin shows 1.02 miles)
Mile 2: 6:47 (HR 176) (Garmin shows 1.03 miles)
Mile 3: 6:39 (HR 181) (Garmin shows 1.01 miles – but I did hit the watch late, as the third mile didn’t seem to be well marked)
Last .1: 0:34 (HR 183) (went ahead and kicked for the practice. Garmin shows .10 mile, for 5:44 pace)
So, 20:41 total. Since I was more focused on effort and form than actually racing, I did a lousy job of running the tangents on this course, and the Garmin shows it. Heart rate data is about where it should have been for a tempo.
My final placing was 1st in women 35-39, 7th woman overall, and 56th (I think) runner overall. The race sold out at 1500 runners, but I don’t know how many of those were women or in my age group.
Conditions at race time were 68 degrees, with very dry air (dew point in the 50s, I think). The sunshine was bright, and I really missed my sunglasses, but it didn’t affect my race otherwise.
Over the past year, I’ve battled a lot of breathing/digestive/choking issues while running – we conclusively ruled out asthma, but an unpleasantly thorough review of my insides by the GI doctor this summer indicated that my digestive system was moderately inflamed from esophagus all the way to the bitter end. Over the summer, I played with dietary modifications I’ve made since April (no chocolate, OJ, or wheat products, *sigh*) plus some stuff prescribed by my GI doctor (a neat drug called Sucrafate that coats my digestive system, and probiotics). The wonderful news is that those issues were non-issues in this race, which I’m very happy with.
Allergies were an issue, indirectly. I’ve found that Claritin addresses some of the symptoms, and Zyrtek the others. My allergist told me that I could take both of them, but should take one in the morning, and the other in the evening. Problem is, the non-drowsy version of either of these still makes me drowsy as heck. I popped a Claritin this morning, to see how racing this way would work. And then I started drowsing off in the car on the way to the race – I credit Taktical Sect, played at loud volume, with my safe arrival….
I woke up more when I started warming up, but never felt sharp, and was sluggish even during my strides.
I may try the next race without the Claritin (or ask the allergist if I can take both at once at night). On the other hand, I can’t really race very well with my lungs clogged, which was my experience last fall.
Of course there may be another reason for my sluggishness, which was that this week has been a recovery week (only 65 miles and easy workouts). For whatever odd reason, I seem to race best when I only cut mileage moderately (usually just skipping the day before a race), and keep my workouts hard. I definitely needed the down week after a very hard training cycle, but I’m mentally noting this for the future.
Warm-up was an easy jog of the 3 mile course, plus about 8 strides. I did not feel adequately warmed up at the start, so I’ll probably try to do more next time.
Final training note: I noted my legs tiring during the race. While I’ve historically raced very well off of high mileage, hard long tempos, and hills, this cycle has been focused more on top end speed and short intervals. I think I’ve seen some improvements, but it’s definitely time to shift back to tempos and hills.
I also didn’t feel the competitive fire and ability to tolerate pain (cheesy, but best way to describe it) I usually do when in a race environment – I just felt meh. This concerns me – I’m not sure if the lack of fire was due to the drowsiness, or a lack of mental toughness on my part. I’m thinking I need to do a few more “dig deep” workouts to develop those mental calluses.
If the decent weather holds, I’m going to race again next week. Which race I’ll do is uncertain – my options include the “Chik-Fil-A” 5K in Sterling, VA (a long drive), the 9/11 Memorial 5K at the Pentagon (convenient, but it may be very hot at 6:00 pm), and the “Howard University 5K” (convenient, but I despise the course, which involves running down a steep hill for about 1.5 miles, and then turning around and running back up that hill for 1.5 miles).