This was a race that didn't turn out as expected. About a mile and a half into the race I realized that it wasn't my day. I blame it on running/walking nearly 60 miles for the week (plus 20 miles of "Bike the Drive") and basically walking all over Chicago the 24 hours before the race. Reminder to self: Don't arrive at the start line fatigued.
After getting only about four hours of sleep due to a doggy with tummy trouble, I was out the door at 5 a.m. for a shakeout run of 1.5 miles in the city. I was hoping to do a little over two miles, but I was running late. This year there was no need to do a pre-race doggy walk (they had just been outside at 3:30 am), so I jumped in my car and headed out to the 'burbs. My dad had picked up my bib along with his bib (for the 5k) earlier in the week, so I met up with him at his house, put on said bib, and we headed over to the race in downtown Wheaton. At bag check, I bumped into Zoe who had moved back to the area from Colorado. I met up with my nephew who was running his third 5k ever and we did a few warm-up strides, then we slid into our respective corrals. The national anthem was sung beautifully, but at a low volume such that runners in the back of the corral kept chatting for the duration. The temps which were humid and in the mid 60's not perfect, but better than expected for early June. The horn sounded and we were off!
Mile 1: This was a dual 5k and 10k, so I started a little ways back. My target was around 6:30 and I wish I'd stayed there, but the downhill was so tempting. 6:21/mile.
Mile 2: As we crested a small hill, I could feel I was straining a little too much given the pace, but thought I could push through it, after all my goal pace was 6:17/mile. 6:17/mile.
Mile 3: This is typically the point in a 10k where I either maintain pace or accelerate, but I wasn't able to. Was it my lungs or fatigued legs, or both? Probably both. I made the gut wrenching decision to "admit defeat" and slow down to avoid disaster during mile six. I thought a sub-40 was still doable as I slowly let go of my grip on a sub-39. 6:26/mile.
Mile 4: Slowest mile. A mile I'd like to forget since I was slowing down to start the second half of the race. However, I shall visualize this mile during my training and work hard so that such a mile doesn't happen during the RnR next month. 6:36/mile.
Mile 5: The guy in my AG that I always seem to pass during races was in my sights, so I made an effort to get ahead of him and I did. 6:29/mile.
Mile 6: The final mile is a gradual uphill, which helps to kill most momentum. It really made me work. I forced myself to keep focused despite having my goal time out the window and struggling to keep a moderate pace. A sub-40 was still in the works, but I guess I was not running good tangents, because it started to dawn on me that I needed to run faster to get that time. 'Twas not to be. 6:29/mile.
Mile 6.29: As I made the turn to the homestretch, Zoe was standing there yelling "Go Pete!" and I gave her a wave. After looking back to make sure that no one was immediately behind me, and seeing "40:xx" on the board, instead of "39:xx" - I slowed way down for the last 20 meters and trotted over the finish line. 6:04/mile.
|Finish line from 2016. Much more exciting!|
I went to bag check and then over to the 5k finish line to meet up with my nephew and family.
Here were my splits:
6:21, 6:17, 6:26, 6:36, 6:29, 6:29
Last year my fastest mile was 6:14 and slowest was 6:20 - a six second spread. This year my fastest mile was 6:17 and slowest was 6:36 - a 12 second spread. That's double the variation from last year. Maybe if I had held back a little more during the first half, I could have given my tired legs more of a chance to get into the race?
Anyway, my performance in this year was a disappointment. I don't like slowing down at all during the second half of a race and was also hoping for a 38:xx and instead ran a 40:xx. Oh well, not every race goes as planned and I will use this as a learning experience. After a week off, I will ramp up the mileage to get my endurance back and then stick to a decent taper (maybe two weeks long) for my goal half marathon in July.