Today is an overcast day with 19 MPH winds. I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 5-mile race in Glens Falls and almost exactly nailed my goal time (off by 3 seconds). It was a new PR at the 5-mile distance (32:33) and I’m really happy about it.
Update (3.29.2010): Jen and I left before the results were announced yesterday, but I won 3rd in my division! I placed 42 out of 480 overall.
I’ve been participating in a running study at Skidmore College the past couple weeks and, as a result, ran two 5k time trials last week (and have two more in the next couple days). That, combined with other speed work I’ve been doing, no doubt contributes to my new PR.
In the same race last year it was a torrential downpour and I set what was then a PR at 5 miles (33:39). So taking nearly a full minute off that time is pretty sweet since the faster one gets, the more exponential each incremental improvement becomes. (The first year I ran the race — in 2008 — I clocked in a 41:51.)
I lined up at the front of the pack with one foot on the shamrock portion of the starting line. When the gun fired, I took off in a burst with everyone else and rounded the first corner. Glancing at my Garmin, I saw a too-fast pace of 5:54, so I quickly turned it down and settled into my target pace of around 6:30 to 6:35. The first mile has one of the few slight inclines of the course, leading up an overpass over the highway. I felt strong from the start and ran a 6:39 Mile 1.
Going into the second mile, those runners who’d come out too fast started to fade and I heard lots of huffing and puffing (already) around me. I fell into a pack that was running right around my 6:30 target. I was feeling good, so I went with it. I rounded out Mile 2 in 6:32.
On the back side of the course there are some gentle rolling hills and trees along the road. It was around this time that I reminded myself of one of the things I’m always really conscious of in races: Not to let myself get into a too-comfortable pace behind a runner who’s starting to fade. Such was the case as I passed a girl around the 2.5-mile mark and heard her yell, “Shit!” as she realized she wasn’t maintaining pace. On the slight decline, the pace quickened to 6:17 or so. Mile 3 was one of my fastest of the day: 6:23.
In the fourth mile I was still going mostly strong, but as we turned into the wind, started to feel the race taking its toll. I made some more passes and kept a pack of three or so runners in my sight. Mile 4 pace: 6:32.
With just over a mile to go (about 3.69 elapsed), it was time to push for the finish — not all out but felt that I had enough left to make a few more passes. So as we rounded the last few corners and toward the finish line, I passed the remaining runners who’d been in my immediate sight. There was just one runner off in the distance (at least 400 meters or so ahead) between me and the finish line.
So I turned it on and gave it everything I had. I wasn’t really trying to catch the last guy in front of me (at least at first), but actually came so close in the final few meters that I was right on his heels by the time I flew across the line into the finish corral. I had to slam on my personal brakes to avoid crashing into him. Mile 5 was right up there with Mile 3 as the fastest of the day: 6:23. My max pace in that final sprint dipped as low as 3:58 (!), which could be another new record.
I saw a few fellow Saratoga Stryders at the race, along with some other familiar faces, which is always fun. Congrats to all the runners today!
And a big thanks, as always, to my lovely Jen for braving the wind and cold to cheer me on and take pictures and video!
Mile splits (view Garmin data):
|Split||Time||Avg Speed||Max Speed||Avg HR||Max HR|