I've run a lot of 5Ks, to the point where not much truly new can happen in a race. A couple weeks ago on a Thursday evening I managed to have a first.
On the move
Race: 2FGR Presents the DSACO Run for Down Syndrome
Date: May 19, 2022
Location: Dublin, OH
A: Don't blow up...NOPE
Not much to speak of. I ran the Boston Marathon on April 18, then took about two weeks off. I returned to running on May 2 and started slowly building back up to my normal mileage. In the two-ish weeks of running before this race I did zero workouts. I did do some strides and ran easy up and down some hills.
Truthfully, my training for Boston wasn't spectacular either, so it's not like I was racing off a huge base of fitness. I've never really liked spring marathons, and Boston is EARLY. I paced my partner in the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon in December and really had to compress my training down. Combine that with having trouble getting the big workouts in over the winter and having to take ten days off after hurting my back lifting (a whole other blog post), and I knew I was undercooked going in. I ran a disappointing but not surprising 3:07:48 where I faded over the last 10K. Part of my motivation for entering this race was to just get a time in the books and see where I was, whatever that time was.
The race was in Dublin, far outside my normal stomping grounds. My partner and I headed up around 5:30 for a 7:00PM start so I could pick up my number and get thoroughly warmed up. One of my athletes, Megan, was also running as a tune-up for the Columbus 10K — her spring A race. I knew it was going to be a scorcher, so I tried to make sure and stay hydrated over the day or two before the race. On the way up I had a waffle and a Nuun tablet. When we arrived, I found Megan at packet pickup along with a couple other Columbus Eastside Running Club members, Kristin and Chloe. I also had the chance to finally meet in person Polly from the Run Columbus Race Series. I'm one of their featured coaches and will be recording some videos for their site, so it was great to put a name to a face.
Megan and I secured our numbers and headed out for a warmup. It was definitely hot, but I kept telling myself it's not THAT bad (it was that bad: 77 degrees, perfectly sunny, 61% humidity - I'd guess the heat index was around 80, 81 and I'd be very curious about the wet-bulb temp). We didn't get in as extensive of a warm up as I would have liked, but jogged about 20 minutes, had a gel, did some drills and strides, and headed to the line.
Not looking good but at least the mullet's flowin'
My only real goal was not to fall apart. I had no idea where my fitness was, and no idea how I'd handle the heat. My only race in the prior six months was a subpar marathon. So just don't go out too fast. Easy, right?
First mile came through in 6:16. At this point I was running with Chloe, and we were passing people who had gotten out too fast. I felt ok, but I also didn't really have a good idea of how I even wanted to feel at that point. I think that in even average conditions, 6:16 would have been fine. In these conditions, it was not fine.
Mile two is where the wheels started to come off. I knew Chloe was going to run away from me, and encouraged her to get on with it and not leave time on the table. She's incredibly fit right now and was only a couple weeks removed from finishing 6th female at the Cap City Half. Also in this mile, a kid who had gotten out a little too fast (pretty standard for grade schoolers!) and was falling apart actually deviated from his racing line to get out of our way. As we went by I shouted back that it's a race and he is under no obligation to move out of our way. If we want to go around that's on us. I'm not sure if he had any idea what I was on about, but c'est. Anyway, I split the second mile at 6:27 and Chloe ran away from me. Happy for her but not what we're looking for.
The third mile of this race is where I had a new experience. At the beginning of the race we saw a high school age boy who was definitely going to win. You know what I mean. And lo he did pull away from everyone else pretty much immediately. About 2.4 miles into the race I came around a curve and saw him sitting on the side of the road, apparently cramping up. You know when you see someone having a mechanical on the bike or stopped during a run and you shout, "you ok?" as you go by? No one ever says NO. You always get a yeah I'm good, a hand wave, etc. This time I got a "NO." So I stopped? It seemed like the only thing to do. Would I have stopped if I was running better, I have no idea. But in that moment, if a kid tells me they aren't ok, I guess I learned that what I do is stop. I helped him up and we got him moving...you're not gonna work the cramps out sitting on the ground.
We got running again and I encouraged him to get crackin if he could. We're still in a race, and I have no illusions about who's faster here. We come through mile 3 in 6:40 and then of course he outkicks me. No good deed goes unpunished!
I made the mistake of stopping my watch when I was stopped, even though you never stop your watch in a race. Final chip time: 20:23:53. The last time I failed to break 20 for a 5K was four years ago in a race I was sandbagging since I knew I would easily win and get a gift card. So that was unfortunate, but it is what it is.
Cheered Megan across the line, she got out a little fast too and paid the price but still finished as second female behind Chloe (who crushed it and ran a big PB in the heat). Absolutely destroyed a bottle of water and headed out for a 25 minute cool down, then had a banana and another bottle of water. There was a little festival type of situation with a food truck, booths, bounce house, etc. but we hightailed it out of there since I was dead set on getting pizza at JT's in Linworth. I'm a close follower of the local pizza scene and people rave about their Ohio style; I'm not up that way much so I figured this was the perfect time. It was just ok.
Getting back into some workouts on the track, building mileage, and the Columbus 10K June 5. Watch this space!