I havent raced for almost 3 weeks. I wasn't feeling well, suspecting my immune system was a little tired. Then I lost my voice completely for almost 4 days. I decided to take some rest. My next big push for fast races will not be until the Fall/Winter, so now seemed like a good time to relax a bit.
This 5k race was the first race on the calendar for my Veteran's Running Group. In May, I started a running group that is open to all Veterans. Each Friday we train together, set weekly training goals, and they train on their own the rest of the week. On race day, 6 guys showed up ready to race. We discussed before hand whether they wanted to run as a team or every man at their own speed and they decided that people should go at their own pace.
Because I have done no fast running in 3 weeks and my mileage was lower than usual, I knew I was not going to set a PR. However, I knew it was important for me to run well, just so my guys know that I can actually run a decent pace and trust my training advice. Training Vets is hard because the mindset is to push through everything and never accept backing down as an option or a good idea. Even though a good coach doesn't need to be a good runner, I think it helps me to earn my runner's trust when they see that I can practice what I preach and demonstrate how running easy sometimes actually allows me to run faster on race day.
This race was also special because I would get to run with a co-worker who is an Olympic Marathon Trials level runner. She usually wins this race, beating all men and women, but today she said she is just doing a tempo run. I briefly thought, "maybe I can run with her!"... until I realize she tempo's in the 18's. LOL!!! She did her workout, won the ladies race, and took second OA. Our staff and my guys all signed up for the same team, so it was a great experience for my runners to get to be invited onto the Staff team for the day. (My running group is really about stress relief and management, health and wellness, and and about assimilation through group, community, social, recreational activities, since many Vets report feeling like they don't fit in to civilian life very comfortably after becoming a soldier.)
The weather was not incredibly hot, but it was warm and very humid. Humidity is just so tough on race day.
The race itself is an out-and-back. We run downhill out (nothing extreme) until just before the turn around where then we reach a short steeper incline before we head back towards the long gradual uphill on the way in. The first mile is quite fast and even though I was warned to go out easy, I knew I wanted to take advantage of the decline to see what I had left in my for the uphill. M1: 6:08
As we approached mile 1, I noticed one of my guys up ahead of me. I was both surprised and happy to see him running a sub-6 minute mile (granted we had the down hill assist). I wasn't sure how long he would hold on. We had both begun to fade as we came up on the steeper part of the course just before the turn around.
At that point, I was running next to a guy and my asthma was kicking in (humidity triggers my asthma). He hit mile one and he asked me if I was going to hold that pace. I laughed as I told him I definitely would not. He then started to try to help me by telling me how to breathe. I just said "I have Asthma, it just sounds bad." Then he looked up and saw the uphill part and said "Holy Crap!" It was really not that bad, but in comparison to the down hill, it seemed bigger. Now I ended up helping him by telling him that he could do it, that it was not that bad, and if he slows his pace to get over it, we then get to run right back down it. He slowed a bit and I decided to gradually try to reel in my guy. Just as we came upon Mile 2, I caught my runner and told him he was awesome. M2: 6:55
My runner he wants to push the pace, but I tell him to try save a little for the up hill we will cover on the way back in. The incline is not extremely steep, but it is very long. As we go up it, he fades more than me. I try to hold steady as I hear footsteps behind me and I wait for him to catch me. I glance back when he doesn't and I see it is not actually him behind me. My guy had decided to slow up a little. I cruise it in since I am tired. M3: 7:06
The last .14 is down hill into the parking lot. I pick it up and make up some speed. Then my shoe becomes untied and too lose to kick in the finish without kicking off my shoe! I just finish it off, coming in just as the clock shifted to 21:00.
I wait at the finish for my guys to finish strong and they do. I was happy to be a part of their first 5k race. Even the ones that had a hard time out there still want to do it again. I hope to get them out to a few more in the future.
Time: 21:00 (6:46)
Place: 11th OA
Gender: 2nd Female