Tuesday, May 06, 2008

RR: GW Parkway Classic 5K

Sunday, April 27, 2008
5K race distance
Chip Time: 36.17
Pace: 11:41 - That's SUB:12 minute miles BABY!!

If ever there was better weather for a late April race, I can't remember it. This morning it was high 50s and overcast with very little wind. PERFECT RACE WEATHER!

I decided to do the 5K distance for this race and wait for my friend Monica at the finish, who was racing the 10 Mile distance. Because the race start was less than 2 miles from my house, I had Jim drop me off about 2 blocks from Belle Haven Marina instead of heading to Old Towne Alexandria and the Finish Line area and taking the bus to the start.

I picked up my chip, did about a 5 minute warm-up jog and stretched and drank an 10 oz bottle of water and ate 3 Margarita Cliff Blocks while waiting for the race start (I did eat breakfast, a bagel with PB at about 6:30 AM).

The race started at 8:08AM with the 5K and the 10 miler starting simultaneously. The 5K course (part of the 10 mile course) was rolling hills that ran the end of the GW Parkway and then turned left up a steep hill and then down along Union Street through Old Towne Alexandria to Onorco Street and the park near the rail road crossing as the Finish Line.

My goal for the race today was to come in under 36:00 for the 5K distance which would give me a solid pace under 12:00 minute miles and I felt pretty sure that I was going to be able to maintain that pace. My focus was on running each mile with walk breaks ONLY at the mile markers and a brief walk at the water station to make sure I actually drank some water (instead of spilling it down the front of me...)

Mile 1: 11:22
Mile 2: 12:14
Mile 3: 11:32
1/10 - 1:13

Mile 1 felt great! I just settled into the middle of the pack and did my thing - focusing on being FREE and EASY. At the mile marker the race clock said 11:30. The pace was a little faster than I thought I wanted to go but I knew some hills were coming so I figured it would even out.

Mile 2 was alot of up and down with one steep climb and a FUN DOWNHILL that turned right onto Union Street. The water stop was just before the big climb so I took the time to grab a cup of water and drink it down. I was pretty surprised when we got to the second timing clock and I realized that I was under 24:00 overall - The surprise was that I was still feeling pretty good so I only took a 30 second walk break at Mile 2 - no need to waste the extra seconds.

From the time you get on Union Street and you have started that final Mile, you can see the finish line way off in the distance. I just focused on that bringing that finish line closer and closer. I worked on picking up my speed when my GPS watch beeped at me and looked down to see I had just passed Mile 3 (no clock on the course). With 1/10 of a mile to go, I was at 35:09.

Could I run 1/10 of a mile in under a minute?

I had no idea but I was sure going to try. I just kept my eyes up and pushed as hard as I could, watching that FINISH LINE clock above the banner count down the seconds...35:15, 35:30, 35:45, 35:59, 36:00...

My final finish time was 36:22 (unofficial, no CHIP TIME available yet) - so essentially I did not meet my SUB 36:00 goal however I DID meet my sub 12:00 minute mile goal by averaging 11:36 per mile and I put everything I had into that last 1/10 of a mile to the finish. The GPS confirms that I was averaging a 9:20 running pace in that last 1:12 minutes.


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