Saturday, September 13, 2008
Race report: National Press Club 5K
Here are the race results. Took me a while to figure out where to find them.
So it was pretty scorching hot today -- it's now 32C or 90F. When we started the race, we had to deal with 90F real feel. Are you crazy?
I'm in DC for an online journalism conference. I worked last night from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. after going out for drinks. So I was pretty tired and trying to hydrate.
Another bad thing. I had forgotten my racing gear -- my favourite Saucony ultra light singlet, my lucky hat and race ready shorts. In return I had to use a heavier singlet, these long Nike shorts and a black cap.
The route was from F street and 13 down Penn Ave. then back. Penn Ave has no shading. That sucked. I would have loved to have a 7 a.m. start but the sun was blazing. We got off to a fast start and a runner had fallen (first time I've seen that). As it turns out, I think he got up and ran to the front of the pack. I had positioned myself near the front since looking at the results from last year, I thought I should be up there somewhere. There was a downhill on 13 street until we landed on Penn Ave.
We were going fast. The downhill was not great for pacing because it left us with a really quick start and I think we were all trying to stay at that quick pace. I wanted to run strongly and not really lose ground to any pack of runners, so I kept it up.
1K: 3:37. I saw the time and was a little worried. That's really fast. To go sub 20, all I needed was to go 3:55 or so and keep it consistent. Then again, I've read some articles that suggest a fast start in a 5K is actually not a bad idea. The big test is if you red line it early, that you have the endurance and fitness to keep it up.
We hit the first mile, near the Canadian Embassy and the Newseum, in just over 6 minutes (like 6:02 or something) and my jaw dropped. This is way to fast. By now the heat was getting to us. Some of us, myself included, had run to the side of the road to get what little pockets of shade there was on the north side of the street. Hit the 2K mark in 3:46, still blazing fast for me. We made our way to the turnaround area and there was a slight incline, followed by two water stops. I took some water, got a gulp and was on my second half of the race.
I really was holding on for dear life. I was counting the minutes down. I saw my watch said 11 minutes and I said, 'only 7 minutes to go.' Hit the 3K mark in a slower 3:57 when I decided that I should try to make up some ground so I targeted a few runners ahead of me and stepped up the pace. I was picturing the rest of the race.. The FBI building, 13th, the uphill and the final stretch. The heat was pretty bad and my race gear was getting me really hot. I had a little bit of a desire to stop right there but I knew that was going to happen. Just bear the pain a bit more.
Hit the 4K mark at 3:49, which I was happy with since I had picked up time from the last split. I tried to run strong knowing that a sub 20 was very much possible even with the final hill. When we reached, other runners had gained on me and I lost a few places. No biggy. I saw R at the top of the hill, waved and ran it in. The last kilometre was registered at 4 minutes flat.
My Garmin registered the race as 5.09K so maybe I hit the stop watch a little later than I should have. My Garmin time said 19:36 but the official time (It was not chip) was 19:25. This is a new personal best and considering the conditions, I'm absolutely ecstatic. This is the third time this year i've gone sub-20 minutes for the 5K which I'm very happy with. I was worried the first time it was a fluke. The second time, in a humid hot night, was a nice surprise. I guess this results just affirmed my latest track work in which I was able to do kilometre intervals consistently at 3:50 range.
I plugged in 19:25 in McMillan and it predicts a 3:09:17 marathon. Runner's World predicts a faster 3:06. I don't usually give much credence to such predictions but now I know I -- technically -- have the fitness for a 3:10:59.
Was it a well run race? I don't know. In retrospect, maybe it was a good idea to go hard. But maybe if I was a little more conservative I would have run a better last half. Who knows. It's taper time anyways, and there's only one big race on my mind in 15 days.
Time: 19:25 (link to race results)
Pace: 6:15 miles
Place overall: 30/576 (94.7 percentile)
Place in age group: 6/37 (83.7 percentile)