I don't avoid many things in running -- running in rain, -20C or tempo runs. One thing I've successfully avoided for four years was a 5K race.
I have done one since 2010 and haven't full out raced one for five years. Since I'm in the final weeks of off season, I looked at doing this race to see where my fitness was and also see where all the gains this year have taken me.
My goal was to target 3:50s to 3:55s, sort of in the pace we were doing for faster intervals during the training season. The race is in Burlington and I had last run it in 2008, and this year it was a bigger event, more runners for sure. I went down with Lee and Julie and milled around, saw Emma, but mostly I was wondering what the day would bring.
Funnily enough, I was not as nervous about this as my hard workouts. I knew that if I were to run a hard 5K on the edge, the whole thing would feel like a good effort.
It was a 9 p.m. start and it was okay temperature -- not cool, but also not humid/hot.
Lined up near the front, paced with Lee, and we didn't start out too fast and be sucked into the vaccuum that is a race start. Within half a kilometre, we were paced well, with very little jockeying after that point. The pace felt like work, but I kept up this kilometre.
Tried to stay consistent. Listening to my breathing, it seemed like I was in an okay place. It was twilight. Really tried to concentrate but I was not used to this speed, which I'd pretty much avoided for the past six weeks. I had run a few kilometres at 3:55 a few days earlier and it felt good, better than tonight. I wondered if the beers before/during/after the Jays game Friday were coming back to haunt me, or the very bad sleep I've had the past week. Nevermind, I had more to go.
Really tried to focus on getting well past the half way mark. Felt like I was racing. I was not redlining but I wasn't totally comfortable. A few days ago, I bought new lightweight shoes, but opted to wear my now-clunky Asics. I could really feel it tonight. They felt like bricks. But even though I wasn't racing, I could see who was ahead of me. Lee I pushed to continue on and he did. Wanted to get to the next kilometre marker.
I knew that the fourth kilometre would be a challenging one -- so once I hit 3K, I knew I had done almost two miles of a three mile course. I used that to push me through, but I wasn't feeling comfortable. The stride was not as controlled as I'd like and my breathing told me I wasn't quite the fitness I was six weeks ago. Hold on, I thought. Get to the final kilometre
So yeah, I didn't think the final kilometre would get me, but it did in a way. I thought a few times how comfortable it would be to start walking. I felt overheated, and also that I was near redlining. My allergies were getting to my head. I tried pushing once I hit the 4K mark but I didn't feel like I had my legs. It was an odd feeling, not having the both the body and the mind not cooperate. In my head, I knew that I could bear another 4 minutes, but not today. I did slow and saw that I did lose seconds here. I knew I had to push it to make it under 20 and in the end, I had enough buffer to make it under.
So the final time was 19:49, which is my fourth fastest 5K out of 9, but I got under the 20 minute mark. It's where I wanted to be and in the end, if this is where I'm starting off the summer training cycle, I really don't have much to complain about.
I like the Moon in June a lot -- it's a local race, great vibe, not too big and it's on a Saturday night which allows for beer drinking right after. Not a bad end to my off season.
Final time: 19:49