Last weekend was the Foot Zone 5K. The race AK stress fractured her leg in last year, for those keeping track. (ouch!!!) Since then she's done the Seafair Half Marathon as well as cranked up her training to 5 days of running a week. She's been knocking that schedule out for the last 3 months now, give or take a week. Pretty damn cool!
AK posted a good time that she was happy with, she was looking for a good steady race and a mark on the calendar to show a years progress. Plus, she did 14 miles in the heat of the day before. How cool is that? Run 14, then work a 5K the next day.
I however was looking for the elusive sub 20. For the last two years I've been in the 20:45, 20:25, 20:15 range. So about 2 months ago I thought this race would be the one, that and the fact that it's a pancake flat course.
I told myself before the race that the next 20 minutes or so are going to be uncomfortable and painful, just deal with it and don't give up.
I went out fast, but caught it in time and pulled back to get everything under control, pace and breathing. I'd run pace for about one minute then push the pace up a bit. Legs felt just a day away from perfect. Might have not rested enough before.
Mile one - 6:22
At the one mile mark the group I'd been running with broke into two groups and the front group started pulling away. I was in front of the second group, the group being left behind. The gap started to grow and I thought 'don't miss the move' I figured I could hang out in the 6:00-5-55 pace for about 1-2 minutes. Enough to catch the surging front group and get to the middle of that pack. I could feel my legs and lungs start to protest.
Mile two - 6:20
I hit the two mile mark and started to fade, I could see the gas tank and the distance to town and knew I'd be hitch-hiking into town. I looked at my pace and I was at 5:45!!! Slow that horse down! No wonder I was dying, I floated down slowly and felt better. I had this picture of Steve Prefontaine in my head every time I started to give up. Now I was giving myself one minute to recover and hit the last half mile as hard as I could. The course is a figure 8 more or less and you finish once you round what was the start line. about .25 from the finish.
Mile three - 6:07
I found someone to watch a keep my focus about 15 yds in front of me, I could catch her, but I knew if I took my eyes off her shoulders I'd fade and stop. My legs were in full strike mode, the screams from them were only drowned out by my lungs burning and demanding to know what the hell are you thinking! 'Can't give up this far in, can't do this again'
I round the corner and see the 3 mile mark, but the 5K is 3.1 miles. I've done 3 miles in under 20 minutes PLENTY! It's the Damn 3.1.
You can't see the clock from the 3 mile mark!!! I didn't want to see it, if I looked and it was too late I think I would of ??? I don't know...... By my forerunner I was moving, but I felt like I wa running in deep thick mud. I couldn't push any harder, I was sprinting, who the hell sprints in a race?
The road straightens out finally, I try not to look, but too late - 19:26!!!!!!!
The finish line is more than close enough, I stop pushing - Take body out of Code Red and finish on a glide rather than a big kick to cross the line. I pointed at the clock as I went by and just wanted to really remember my first sub 20.
5K/3.1 - 19:49 PR (Personal Best)
I ran my first 5K in 2001- 02 I think at a YMCA 5K with AK, TK and Shell in 32:50 stopping twice to walk.
You get to the point during a event when you want to give up and it takes remembering your supporters to get you through that....