Take Steps for Kids 5K
It was a fair question.
While a road 5K was right in my wheelhouse 10 years ago, I’ve been doing fewer and fewer as I advance in age. That’s not to say I’ve been doing worse at them. The two road 5K’s I ran last spring (including this one) were my two fastest ever. But that was last spring. My last four foot races have been:
Melissa rightly pointed out I was a bit out of my element. And as soon as we started I was inclined to agree with her. The first 200 meters were just about as fast as I’ve ever started. I was sucking wind. Sure it’s been a while since I’ve done this type of race, but I knew this was all wrong. Fortunately the leaders eased off a bit and I got back on terms.
We ran the first mile in 5:30, which was a bit slower than I expected. Just then a guy emerged from the back of the lead pack and forced the pace. I was the second person to follow the move.
Then came the stairs. Which sucked.
It took me a minute or so to recover. Around this time I think the bike who was leading our way took a wrong turn and cut a short distance off the course. Well, at least the entire lead pack went the same way. I passed the number two guy and made chase for the leader. I narrowed the gap a little bit, but it held steady at five seconds for the entire third mile. It was frustratingly close, almost like I could reach out and touch the leader, but I couldn’t close the gap. He looked back (normally a sign of weakness or lack of confidence) three times in the last half mile. I just couldn’t come up with those five seconds.
I finished second place, again. While my time of 16:37 is the fastest I’ve finished a 5K, it probably would have been a few seconds shy of my fastest time if we had run the full distance. But I’m quite pleased to have run faster than last year regardless.
Last year I had been doing speed work leading up to this race, while this year I’ve done none. One difference in my training is that I’ve been spending a lot of time doing easy runs just below my aerobic/lactate threshold. This threshold has been steadily increasing over the past 12-18 months, and (I believe) taking my anaerobic threshold with it. So not only can I now run 7:30 miles without building up lactic acid (i.e. all day), I also have a little bit more top end speed.
All by training slower (for my easy runs).
(Thanks to Melissa for the cheering and photos)