Thursday, October 3, 2013

Newark Corporate Run, 5k, Newark, NJ 10/2/13.

This past Wednesday Integrity House held the Corporate 5k in downtown Newark NJ.   This race was a 500 point 5k but I already had scored 500 points back on New Years so I felt free to play around with aggressive pacing here.  In the last few races I was very focused on PRing and running well-executed negative split races with strong finishes. However, whenever I negative split there is always that little voice that says "but I wonder if I could have run faster had I started out harder?" Today I could test this without giving away points.

The hardest thing about today's race was the fact that it was a 12:15 pm start and 85 degrees after some cooler weather.  Racing at noon is weird.  I ended up not actually eating anything before the race.  I did run my usually morning miles with Sidney and Enzo, but I took it easy.  We did 4 in 10 minute pace.  I scrambled around all morning discharging nervous energy, regretting a little bit that I had signed up for this because it was messing up my routine. I dont like change. I do so much during that week that I need to stick to a schedule, just GO and not think about things.  Now my schedule was all screwed up and it was making me feel OFF. 

I left for Newark at 10:45 planning to get to the park by 11:15.  I was there by 11:20 pm, but it took me a lot longer than I had planned to find parking.  I ended up jogging over to the location by 11:45 pm.  I warm up a bit and decide to just start hard and see what happens.

Gun goes off and I start off fast. The crowd is very fast. This is interesting because most of the runners leading this pack were not regular road racers that I tend to see.  In fact, the ones I usually see ahead of we were behind me. This is clearly a sign that I was moving.  I look at my Garmin and I am deep sub-6.  And you know what?... It didn't hurt. It was awesome! Glorious! Incredibly worth the suffering that followed!  I assumed low 6's but not sub-6.  I was really pleased to discover that a sub-6 felt hard but not impossible.  Still I knew that was too fast so I reign it in a bit.  I end up sitting at 6:00. M1: 6:01 

Ok, so there is it.  I laid down a fast first mile and new I was now going to pay.  I realize that I had banked enough to go sub-20 if I could just hold myself together.  I have been watching video after video about running form, not necessarily instructions about form but rather I have been watching fast runners and observing their form.  My form when running fast is sloppy and awkward and wastes a lot of energy.  I do not believe I need to force myself to run in any certain way, but I do want to be mindful of how I move and what direction my energy is being directed.  During mile 2, I tried to remember what I have been watching and to be mindful of moving everything forward smoothly.  It was a nice distraction, but it did not stop the inevitable fade M2: 6:25

I know I can fade more and still be on pace for sub-20:00.  But the fact that I was concerned about how much I could fade showed me just how much I was falling apart. There was a little wind on the way back but mostly I was winded from my asthma and the hotter weather.  I was running out of steam.

I actually felt stuck in a bizarre place.  Nothing was hurting so bad that I could not run faster right then and there but I knew if I pushed harder I could really fall apart harder in the next few minutes. I felt stuck in a battle between my present and future.  My present self was trying to figure out how fast I could run in the moment without taking away time from myself later on in the mile.  I was trying find the ideal balance between being aggressive and being able to endure.  As I worked to push each step I could feel how each step was harder to take.  It was a bit surreal.  I was running out of speed, but still hoping to find something at the end. 

However as the finish got closer, I got slower and I was losing my ability to dig.  I saw the clock and it was high 19's.  I tried my best to get in under 20, but I was under half a second too slow!  Last 1.1 7:34 (6:41 pace). 

Do I think I could have run faster with a slower start?  I could not fight the fade and that was hard.  My sense is that a few seconds slower at the start may have allowed me to finish faster at the end in a way that would yield a faster time for the entire race.

Am I upset that I did not break 20? Nope.  As nice as it would be to run a 19:59 vs a 20:00 the reality is that the pace is still 6:25 for either and that pace represents my second fastest 5k of my life.

For me there was something glorious about approaching mile 1 at sub-6.  I felt invincible, until I hit mile 1.2 ;)  I have never seen a 5:xx on the clock in a race and approaching the clock feeling functional at that pace gives me hope that with a cooler day and a slightly slower start, I should be capable of running a new 5k PR someday in the near future. 

Time: 20:00.46 
Gender: 2nd Female OA