|Joey's finishing kick. Photo by Carl Cox http://www.carlcoxstudios.com/|
The day before this race, on Saturday, we ran with Joe's TaeKwonDo class. The master never has him do more than a single quarter-mile lap at a time, but he runs a total of 10-12 of these laps during the workout. I ran with him most of the time, and had to keep him from racing the faster runners. He didn't want to hold back, but I told him that the patience would pay off in the next day's run.
I made sure to run with him and pace him during the race. As would be expected for a kindergarten race, all the kids took off like bats out of hell from the starting line. As we settled into last place, I told Joe to let them go ahead, and "you'll see what happens." Sure enough, within 100 yards the kids had already started walking. Within 200 yards we were passing them, and as we started up a hill 300 yards into the race, Joey started catching the front-runners, who were walking.
Each time we'd catch them, a group of 3 would take off again and run a few dozen feet in front of us. This kept recurring with increasing frequency and I was sure we were finally about to pass them for good when I saw a water stop. Sure enough, all the kids stopped for water but I told Joe to keep running, and we never saw those kids again.
Except for Rodrigo. Rodrigo does nothing but play soccer every night with his father. He was out in front from the beginning and never let up. Like Joe, he also didn't stop at the water station. I kept an eye on him, but any hope that we'd catch him waned as the distance between us increased down the hill after the turn-around.
Going downhill now, I picked up the pace significantly, probably to 9 minutes per mile, and Joe had no problem keeping up. The 1st through 5th graders, who all had a head-start (5the graders went first, 4 graders went 20 seconds later, and so on), were all around us and we were dropping them like flies. We continued to push after it flattened out, all the way until a hundred yards before the finish line, when I told him to go as hard as he can and try to beat some more kids.
I overheard one of the teachers in the school say, "Hey look, it's Joe up here with all the bigger kids - he's a Kindergartener!"
My race result: 5K in 29:31.
|Joey watching me looking fresh at my finish. Photo by Carl Cox.|
A-goal: 29:10 (which would be a PR)
Dream Goal: sub-28.
The start of this race was a mere half-hour after the start of Joey's race. Needless to say, I was nice and warm. I also had run 13-14 miles the day before, in a combination of speedwork and long/slow/semi-distance.
In the first mile, with a few rollers, I pushed and got winded pretty quickly, but never let up. Despite the effort, I was disappointed to only see a 9:39 split at the 1-mile point, I thought my effort was closer to 9:15. Settling into the second mile, where there's a pretty big hill, I continued pushing and was pleased to see a 9:37 split at mile 2. I wasn't going fast, but at least I was evenly-paced. The steepest hill of the course occurs in mile 3, but it's not terribly long and is followed by a nice long downhill, so I gave it everything I had. After cresting the summit, I opened it up on the downhill as soon as I was semi-recovered, too tired to go super fast but not ready to slow down either. I wasn't aware of exactly how fast I was going, so I nurtured an illusion that I was running an 8:30 3rd mile (including that steep hill), which would give me a sub-29 finish (and a PR.) I pushed as hard as I could at the bottom of the hill with 300 flat yards to go, but when I finally could see the clock from 100 yards away it was turning 29 right then and I knew the PR was gone. I didn't have anything left for a finishing kick, but I probably managed to maintain the downhill pace all the way to the finish. I don't have a 3-mile split but the last 1.1 miles took 10:14.
I figure that the sub-29 would have easily happened if I hadn't put such a hard day in the previous day, and I still managed a negative split only 30 seconds off my PR, so I can't really complain. And - I beat my time last year at this course which was 29:40. A B goal is still a goal, and I hit it pretty solidly.
Still, I struggle with the nagging thoughts that, just 4 months ago, I ran a sub-25 3 miles on a treadmill. I can't come close to that now. What happened to all that speed?
New entries for Steve's blog are published on Mondays and Thursdays at 10:00am NY time