Saturday, March 28, 2009

Running With the Leopards 5k Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 4; 5th Edition
112.8 miles raced in 2009

Race: Running With the Leopards 5k
Place: Salt Lake City, UT
Miles from home: 1 mile
Weather: 30s; windy

Here's the deal. I was supposed to be in Georgia this weekend. Unfortunately, bad business practices precluded me from being there and with no time left to schedule anything travelwise that would not have at least cost a vital organ's donation to cover the airfare, I was going to be in Salt Lake this weekend. I immediately began searching the local race calendar.

I first happened across the Buffalo Run which is a 25k, 50k, and 50 miler that takes place on Antelope Island, the biggest island in the Great Salt Lake. As you may recall, I blogged abut a training run that I did on that island here. Unfortunately, the race had been long closed and while the RD was polite in his decline of my begging to get into the race, he still did decline. No automatic 25k PR for me this weekend.

On a group run with my club, the Salt Lake Track Club someone mentioned that there was 5k on Saturday. I knew exactly where this 5k was as it ended about 1.5 miles from my house. I quickly hopped online and registered just 24 hour before the race. Now, let me clarify something. When I am expecting to race and I do not get to, I get bummed. That was why I was so fervently searching for a race. A 5k is NOT my ideal race. 5Ks hurt. I haven't even done a 5k in close to two years. But I needed a race. So the Running with the Leopards 5k fit that need.

Picking up my race packet I was immediately struck with how unbelievably nice the race shirt was. A red technical tee with the fun emblem from above emblazoned on the front, this short would rival any marathons. Kudos to the RWTL race organizers for such a nice bonus.

Now because I signed up for this race so late in the week, I had hardly tapered or prepared for it. In fact, going in to the race, I had already run 65 miles this week. But I still had designs on setting a personal best. Why not, right? That makes no sense whatsoever but I should definitely expect it of myself.

Let me start by saying that, relatively speaking, my 5k PR is pretty weak. It is also almost completely undocumented. I know I ran a 17:50 in a 5k race in law school but I will be damned if I can find the results. As it was nearly 8 years ago, finding a small 5K's results on the web is rather daunting. So I figured I might as well set a new one today. In my favor was the downhill on this course. There was approximately 300 feet of downhill (with 75 feet of uphill mind you!) which would assist me in my task.

When race morning broke brisk and chilly I felt I at least would not sweat to death! Knowing a very fast girl in our club would be running, I looked for her. One, I thought it would be fun to pace. Two, inexplicably, I forgot my watch. I don't think I have EVER done that in my life. When I found Christina (AKA "T") she said she was hoping to break 18:00. I scoffed as I knew she could do better. It was only after the race that I found out she had never broken 18 in her life. That would change.

Gun was fired and we were off!

Mile 1: 5:29

Almost instantly T and I had to doge people who obviously had no race etiquette and wanted to be at the front regardless of what their time would be. With a 1/4 mile downhill before a quick rise we were soon in the top 5% of runners. But then T and I got separated by another pack and I decided I just needed to run. I assumed I would see her again.

Cresting the biggest uphill right before mile one I was quite pleased to see someone was calling out times. I passed by in a hair under 5:30. I was pretty pleased.

Mile 2:

Down a screaming but short downhill we ran as I passed a few runners. Turning left we eased out for the only flat portion of the course. One guy passed me who I had passed on the aforementioned downhill but I knew I would be passing him again once we hit the final straight down.

Turning right we began that downhill and passed the second mile. No one called out any times here. Damn.

Mile 3:

T appeared at my right and we began running stride for stride. She pulled a little ahead and as I had no watch I did not know whether I should stay with her and push harder or fall back. A little churning in my belly made the decision for me and I held back. We hit a very steep downhill and then made an ankle-breaking turn into the stadium to finish on the track. I was about 10 feet behind T and thought it would be nice to finish together.

That was when I realized we did not have 100 meters to go as I thought but 300 as we had to traverse almost an entire lap. Oof. I did not have that extra kick in me I thought and T pulled ahead. We hit the final 100 meters and I saw I was not going to get a certain time barrier I was hoping for so I eased off a little bit. T finished right under 17 minutes in 16:58 (:59 officially but I think they were slow on their trigger fingers - no chips here) and I set a new PR by ~40 seconds with a 17:10. A 5:32 average made me a pretty happy camper.

We finished 19th and 20th overall and me in my blasted hard division finished 5th. In a race I have not done many times and do very sparingly, I was extremely pleased. That makes it two PRs for the year. Not a bad way to close out the month of March!


William Ritter said...

Nice job, glad to see your speed coming along. You need to come race in Texas now. :)

Liz said...

I was linked to your blog through the organizers of the East High 5K. It was nice to hear of your overall approval of the race, especially the t-shirt (my husband Cory Lange designed the logo).

Melanie said...

Wow Dane, you are one fast runner. I can’t imagine what the world must look like when it’s flashing by so quickly at that pace! Congrats on your 5k PR!

CoLa said...

I am glad I found your blog and have been inspired to better myself. Thanks. I will be looking for you in the future.

Becca Jane said...

I just heard about this race the other day, so when I was scrolling through your races looking for a different recap, I had to pause and read this!

I wish I could run this, but I just signed up for Riverton. A downhill 5K would be fun though!