Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Downtown Westfield 5k, Westfield, NJ. 7/25/12

So 4 days after Running with the Devil, 6hr, I find myself at the start of a 5k. I can't believe how nervous I feel.

My recovery has been slow and although I have no injury type pains, DOMS from running up and down a black diamond mountain for 6 hours has been rough.  Only yesterday I was able to take stairs like a grown-up, facing forward, with both feet taking turns, rather than side-stepping while holding the railing like a really large toddler.

I haven't run this race in a few years, and forgot what the course was like.  I did recall a mildly rolling course and was scared that trying to run hills on jello legs was going to push me over the edge of something bad.

I met John P. at just after I got my bib. He, Sid, and I tried to get a warm-up in.  It was just shy of a mile and a little short for me. I am finding I do well on at least 2 miles. Oh well.   We ran into more TNT runners and friends, including Bill, Margo, John R. and some new faces.   I spent a few minutes chatting, but got right to focusing on what I needed to do.

5k's scare me.  I have to run so fast, my lungs feel like they are pushing out my chest, my heart pounds hard, my asthma makes me wheeze, and I feel odd sensations in my body as I try to push myself as fast as I can.  I don't think I will ever run much faster than I do now unless I can get into great shape by winter.  I run better in the cold.  My asthma seems worse in the summer and I whoop uncontrollably while running anything under 7 minutes per mile when my chest tightens.

Even though this race has a starting mat, I decided I still wanted to be up front.  Over 2300 5k runners is a big race and I didn't want to get trapped.  John and I were about 2 rows back from the start when the gun fired.

I wore my Garmin again for data.  I was surprised at how fast so many runners got down to sub-6 pace.  I immediately mentioned to John... "5:53, let 'em go"...  I watched my pace settle down to 6:05, 6:11, then 6:45 instantaneous pace.   We hit mile 1 with John a few meters ahead.  I watched him do a double take as he saw the clock read Sub-6:30 for him. That was so cool to witness!  My M1 = 6:31.

The course had already gone down then up some. We still had some uphills to run and I felt my quads rebelling.  My asthma was winning and I just sat back, watching John move steadily ahead of me.  I wondered if he would beat me today.  I know he will someday.  It could be today and when it happens I am going to be so happy for him.

I looked at my pace and was not too surprised to see the pace for the M2 = 7:00.  I didn't feel spent, I just felt sore.  I wanted to regroup and get ready for Mile 3.

Once I started Mile 3, I was ready to see what I could do.  I opened my stride and realized nothing really hurt.  I passed several people, some passed me back.  Some I passed back again.  I felt I was steadily speeding up as I approached the finish.  I looked at my Garmin and saw I had .35 to go.

At this moment, I felt her behind me.  I had more left to give so I pushed the pace.  She was breathing down my neck.  Trying to pass.  I pressed forward, never letting her get even with me.  We continued to speed up. I was sure if I pressed harder, she would fall back, but she stayed right in my peripheral.  I wasn't sure I could hold it, but knew I couldn't let up until she passed me.  I was not going to just give it her if I had something left in my legs.  I pressed harder and finally I felt her slip off pace.  I could no longer see her from the corner of my eye.  M3 = 6:32

Ah ha! I have this.. or do I.  Is this a set up?  Is she backing off so I will too and then she will fly past me at the finish, before I have to respond?  Only .1 to go. No way.  Not today.  She let up and I knew I had to take the advantage she gave me and widen the gap, just to shake her of any ideas she may have of taking me at the line...  I kicked in as hard as I could.  She did not come with me.  My last .14 read as a 5:22 pace.  According to the results, I finished 5 seconds ahead of her. We shook hands, thanked each over for the motivation.

That type of finish is what racing is all about.  What a thrill!

20:53 chip time.
147 / 2358 Overall
14 / 1186 Females
1st Age Group.

Complete Results:


  1. Nice running Shannon! What a great job of running fast so soon after Running With the Devil!


  2. I really love your honesty about 5Ks being scary. People always say to me, "But you run marathons and ultras, 5Ks should be a BREEZE!" I don't know what planet they came from, but 5ks are hard work for exactly the reasons you described.

    I'm really, really impressed with how fast you were able to run after that huge mountain run. Wow, I'd probably still be hobbling along. Does that just come with experience?

    As usual, YOU ROCK! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks. :) I think the recovery comes from higher mileage training and trusting that nothing is broken so giving it a shot. When I trained lower mileage, my recovery took longer. Now I run much more. I was a little uncertain how I would do. I just see how it went. I was prepared to bail if I had to... but it never felt that bad.