A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 4; 27th Edition
665.6 miles raced in 2009
Race: Beat the New Year 5k
Place: Salt Lake City, UT
Miles from home: 2 miles
Weather: 20-30s; dark
The crux of this race report has much more to do with what I did before it. My big way to end the year was by running a 6 hour run at Liberty Park, then doing the 5k right before midnight.
The night before NYE I had a little trouble falling asleep. The 6 hour run was something I was looking forward to doing and I had the pre-race jitters. I finally fell asleep and slept peacefully. The morning broke and I was quite please to see beautiful sunshine and much warmer temperatures than I had been dealing with recently. Twenty-three degrees is what awaited me as I stepped out the door for the first of 3 separate 2 hour runs.
First session: 15.75 miles in 2:05:00 (7:56 minute/mile pace)
3:01, 12:06, 11:58, 12:05, 11:50, 11:55, 11:49, 11:45, 11:44, 11:50, 11:46, 3:06
From my apartment door to the top of the loop I would be running for 2 hours and back equals .75 of a mile. I always use this as a nice little warm-up to get me going. My goal was to run pretty close to 12 minute loops (8 minute mile pace) for as long as I could.
About three loops in, I thought, this might be a long day. But the sun was shinning, the wind was pretty nonexistent and the footing was fairly good. When I hit 5 loops at almost exactly an hour I realized this first session was going to be over 15 miles. The question was whether it would sap too much out of me for the other two sessions.
As the first session wound down, the loops just fell away. Soon I only had three to do and a three-loop run of Liberty Park is something I had done on 76 (yep) other occasions in 2009 alone. It felt familiar and easy.
I finished session number one, went home, threw my running kit in the dryer, microwaved some soup and took a shower. After eating the food, drinking an entire big bottle of water and using the restroom, there was just enough time to grab my clothes and head out again. This rest business was doing exactly what I wanted it to do: give me just enough pause to allow me to get comfortable and then force me to go running again.
Break: 34 minutes
Session Two: 14.25 in 1:53:00 (7:56 minute/mile pace)
2:59, 11:41, 12:03, 11:56, 11:52, 11:47, 11:51, 11:59, 11:49, 11:54, 3:05
The main concern I had with the second session was how this middle-child of my running day would feel. Not containing the excitement of the first session and not being the last one of the day, I knew there was potential for it to fall into the "blah" category.
However, as loop after loop went by, I often had to hold myself back in the last 10 meters of each loop to try and stay close to 12 minutes. Even though I felt great, for some reason I decided to cut this session "short" by one loop and run the final session close to the original pace and mileage. I hoped not pushing for 15.75 would afford me some comfort and energy.
I repeated my "break" routine and finished the bowl of soup I had started the last time. I knew I did not want a lot of food sloshing around in me but in hindsight, the 280 calories this soup contained and whatever minuscule amount of calories I got from the jawbreaker candy I put in my my mouth before each lap was definitely not enough.
Session Three: 12.75 in 1:53:00 (8:52 minute/mile pace)
2:59, 12:16, 12:34, 12:11, 12:30, 12:41, 12:31, 12:57, 14:40, 6:34
I knew I would be fortunate enough to have two people running with me at least part of the way for my third session. As much as I appreciated this thoughtful gesture by Jim and Carrie, I was finding that running by myself had a lot of benefits. I did not have to think, I did not have to speak and I could run whatever pace I wanted to run.
On my way over to the first loop I felt nice and surprisingly fresh. Waiting for me was Jim who was planning on doing two loops with me and walking until I caught up with him. He was running a little faster than his desired pace and I a little slower than mine. I think it kicked both of our butts.
As I began the third loop by myself I felt decent and was just off the 12 minute pace. I thought I just had three middle loops to go until the last three loops. Carrie and her dog Bode joined me and we caught up to Jim. After one loop Jim felt back into his walk routine and I went on. Another runner from my track club, Doug, showed up and ran with me for a little bit. Not even sure Doug knew I was doing this and he was just up for running a few laps for himself so Carrie joined him when I could no longer keep the pace. I could feel I was tiring.
One lap later, where I should have caught up to Jim, I was tiring even more. When I caught up to him, if I was doing 9 loops I would had still have 1.5 loops to go. I told Jim that this loop was it. I walked with him for like 100 meters and then started forward. I was completely spent. Finishing the last loop, I walked/jogged home which is why the last little bit was slow slow (the 6 minute split). I was done.
Total = 42.75 miles in 5:51:00 (8:13 pace)
I barely made it into my apartment, stripped down and sat down on a kitchen chair. I needed calories and I needed them now. I grabbed some ice cream and began shoveling it in my face. When I got my blood sugar to an acceptable level, I meandered to the shower, cleaned up and then ate some leftover pasta. Here it was only 5 PM and it felt like close to midnight. I passed out for about an hour and felt surprisingly good.
My friend Erica then brought me over some Taco Bell (upon my request) and I devoured that. We were both heading to the 5k just short few hours later so together we went. I had no idea what to expect. You see, I was trying to win the "Coldest Runner" award. Knowing I would have ZERO speed, I figured this would give me something to run for. So, clad only in Speedo shorts and shoes, off to the race I went.
2 plus loops around Sugarhouse Park is what waited us runners. The premise of the race, starting at 11:30 PM was to run fast enough to beat the New Year bells. Do so and get a plaque. Pretty fun stuff.
A shockingly balmy 33 degrees made standing around in my skivvies almost pleasant. And I was not the only one doing so. However, one runner (whose shorts were waaay longer than mine) won the Coldest runner Award based on the fact that he wore no shoes. Impressive indeed but I would have traded shoe material for material around my waist any day!
The gun fired and away we went. As I said, the majority of this race report has to do with what came before it so I feel no need to go into too much detail other than the fact that I felt surprisingly good. The first mile went by in 6:31, followed by the second in 6:33. I realized a decent third mile would give me a shot at a sub-20 5k time which would have been completely unrealistic for me to even think of a few short hours prior with Chocolate chip ice cream dripping off a chin that barely had the energy to chew.
However, one 6:13 minute mile later and the final .1 of the 5k allowed me to slip in under the New Year with a time of ~ 19:30, good enough for 11th place. When Erica, who had not been training well and had been battling sickness for weeks ran her 24:xx 5k just a bit after me came in, we had ourselves a well-deserved Happy New Year.
I could not have asked to spend a Happier New Years Eve then I did this way. I set and then met goals and laid the groundwork for my upcoming ultras. I pushed myself to new limits and came out felling pretty good. A 4 mile run on New Year's Day in the morning that felt extraordinarily non-creaky proved this further to me.
The table has been set and the effort has begun. I can only hope for good luck, good weather and lots of slow-twitch muscle fibers this year as i take on new challenges and push myself further. I only wish the best for you as well.