Sunday, July 17, 2016

Teterboro 5k, Teterboro Airport, Teterboro, NJ. 7/16/16

Digital Leaderboard at Finish Line
I ran Teterboro 5k many years ago.  I ran my fastest 5k that day. I wanted to return, but it always conflicted with a different race I prefer to run. This year that other race no longer conflicted so I thought I would try to see what I could do on the tarmac.

I registered last Wednesday and all the way up until just before I left for the race,  I was not feeling very committed to the event. I had recently run a few good races and when I have a string of good runs, I fear that one bad one that bring back the self-doubt.  I knew hot blacktop shadeless surface in July heat would not be the ideal course to PR.  I did not expect this to go well.

So rather than feel badly that the condition slowed my pace, I decided to go out an play around. When I am very serious about racing, I am careful with my pacing. I devise a plan and I stick to it. But every once in a while I like to do things Wrong, just to remind myself about why the right way works. Today I decided to go out Hard and see how it felt and accept my fate when I fall apart. Sometime planning to make a mistake takes the pressure off.  I just needed a low pressure day.

I line up next to Chris. We are only a few rows back. The gun goes off and it seemed like no one directly in front of me was interested in getting a really fast start (well, they were being smart). I should have lined up closer to the line if I wanted to go out hard.  So I say “Excuse Me. Can I squeeze past?” and I get no response. I say "Excuse me" again.  I am briefly trapped behind a row of guys and I just can't find a line through. I know to just be patient and I will get out. But sometimes the first few seconds you are trapped behind people, watching the field spread out before you, feels like an eternity.

Then I hear Chris call out, “Come guys! Let her through. She is fast” :) That really made me feel good. Thank you Chris. After a year of running some of my Personal Worst times, to have someone refer to me as “fast” again really made me feel like all the work is paying of.

They guys hear Chris and let me through. I opened up my stride and take off.

Photo by AnneMarie Uebbing
I run hard, really hard.  I got my breathing laborer, but I actually did not feel terrible. My legs were not on fire. I did not feel like I was in oxygen debt.  My pace felt comfortable… but the longer I held it that more I knew this pace was not sustainable. I looked at my watch and it read 5:45 for the first few tenths of the mile. I imagine for a moment what it would be like to be able to run this fast the entire way.

I caught up to Ruscel, who is about a minute faster than me.  I said “Hey! I need you to pace me to a PR today!” He glances back to see who is this asking him for favors in the middle of Mile 1.  ;)  The last time I met Ruscel was Oct 2nd about 2 years ago,  at a Wednesday Afternoon 5k race (? yes, a Wednesday Afternoon 5k race), when I did the exact same thing… tested out what it felt like to go out too hard. That race went pretty much the same way as this one. I faded hard the whole way, but I ran a great time that day.

Ruscel smiles, says "Control your breathing" and encourages me to hang on. I already know I can't really hang on.  But I was really excited to think I might actually log my first sub-6 mile in a 5k ever. Too bad I failed.  I needed to settle down and started to do that before M1. I hit M1 in 6:04. This is probably my fastest mile in a 5k race. It was not smart pacing, but it was so much fun!

Ruscel, Me, Anthony, Jessica P.  
As I start M2, I am sitting at 6:25 pace. I watch all the people near me slowly pull ahead. I don’t feel badly about this.  I know I cannot move any faster and still have a chance to finish strong.

It is getting so hot.  A guy starts walking. As we approach the turn around I can see I am in third for women. I know I cannot catch the first woman.  I wondered if I had a chance at catching the 2nd. If I did catch her, it was going to be because she started too fast and faded, not really  because I found some blazing kick.

I was right at my redline and starting to feel dizzy.

As we turn back I remember Anthony saying how he likes to run on the white line because he thinks it is cooler and every degree counts. I take his advice. Few other do. The white line is very wide. I stay on it. M2- 6:25

I look at my watch and it says 2.4. My pace is looking good still (sub-6:30). My legs are dead.  I feel overheated.  The last .7 miles feels like a marathon. There is no one in front of me and I don’t look back to see if I am being run down. I try to find a pace that will allow me to have a kick, but I am toasted out there. M3 6:28

We hit the final turn and I am glad to be almost done. I think about my speed work. I kick like I am running a 400 meter repeat. It feels really good to have another gear but I cant even see straight from the heat.  I cant see the clock clearly. I can read my watch because I am so dizzy. I have no idea what my time is, but as soon as I can see again, I notice my watch says 19:43. Last .13 5:45 pace.

This makes me so happy. A new PR and a 3rd OA Female finish!

I wait at the finish and I see Jessica P. and Anthony come through. I rush over to see how they did and Jessica is so happy! A new PR for her too today!

This course is flat and many people run fast, but the heat can be a killer. Either you can tolerate it or it beats you down. I feel like I have a faster 5k in me, maybe on a cooler day where I pace the race out appropriately. But If I dont, I am wont be sad. At 40 years old, after a year of feeling old and broken, I am back setting PRs and getting my name on the digital leader board.

This was a great day and I am so glad I decided to go.

Time (Chip): 19:40 (6:19 pace)
OA place: 26th
Gender place: 3rd Female.

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