"Love 'em or leave 'em fast" (Prince: Little Red Corvette)
It was a "Love 'Em or Leave 'Em" 5k but it was anything but fast. I am at roughly the halfway point (rough is the right word) to the 2015 Boston Marathon and stubbornness is outweighing performance at the moment. I hadn't raced yet in 2014 and was bound and determined to race before the month of February was out. My timing could not have been worse (start string of excuses on why I fell short of my own expectations.)
Work has been busy and on the road with lots of trips to Seattle which provides for some great destination runs on the road, but travel can tend to wear a man out and takes a lot of planning to get planned runs into the schedule. Last Wednesday and Thursday were heinous work days of the 15 hour variety. Thursday started with a conference call at 5:30 AM, squeeze in a quick recovery run, then off to meetings which ended with a 5PM customer meeting, debrief, and back to the hotel for an 8:30 PM meeting. I dragged my tired butt to the airport Friday morning to discover I had seat 34B as in "back of the bus" and right near the "bathroom."
I had a couple Valentine's Day 5k options and opted for the one closest to home with a later start thinking the extra 45 minutes of sleep was needed. My back ached with sharp pain in the morning. My ribs hurt from the 50 miles run over the week. My run demon overcame my logic angel and head out to Parker, Colorado for the race.
After arriving and registering for the race, I started to jog back to the car. My back was killing me and each step in my slow jog sent sharp pain to my lower back. Shit. I was thinking this may not be so smart to try and race but smart and my run decision-making don't always align and I'd already paid my $35. I went for a mile warm-up run and the back loosened up a bit as I tried to survey the course I hadn't run before. I ran with a father and his lanky 13-year-old son who was on the cross country team, and looked fast. His father and I both commented about "oh to be young and fast." The 5k course was largely flat with a couple of modest rises. There was also a cone (I hate cones) at the halfway turnaround point so I could see who was ahead of me as anyone ahead would cross paths with me as I approached said cone.
My strategy was use adrenaline for the first mile hoping for mid six minute pace, keep it around the upper six minute per mile pace for mile two, and use guts and adrenaline again in mile three. As the runners congregated around the starting mat, I spotted someone lined up near the front that looked about my age. He looked serious as I did. I figured I'd "cloak" him as best as possible and try and take him at the end. I never lost sight of him, but never caught him either. The 13 year old I'd warmed up with was ahead for most of the run and I'd take him around mile two and a half. This was not a PR day as I was sore, tired, and it took everything I had to muster a top ten finish and manage second in my age group behind "Lile" who I'd meet after the race.
As I wrote this post today, I looked back at my three races since my accident and took some solace in the progress I'd made;
November Turkey Day 5k Nov. '14: 22: 28 (Did not place)
Santa Stampede 5k Dec. '14: 21:15 (2nd AG)
Love 'Em or Leave 'Em 5k Feb. '15: 20:52
I took further comfort knowing I felt like crap and was exhausted this day. Low twenty minute should be the goal next time out to get even closer to my sub-twenty PR pace of 19:21 last March.
Confidence despite the disappointment on the way to my fifth Boston Marathon in April.