I ran the Best Kids 5K today, finishing in 21:05.
The splits tell most of the story here:
Mile 1: 6:28
Mile 2: 6:16
Mile 3 (actually .93)- 6:07 which breaks down to 6:38 pace
Last .21 miles in 2:12 (not a typo - 10:27 pace)
I ran this race to test drive a new asthma drug - Symbicort. I'd tried it on some easy runs, as well as a workout on Tuesday. Though I didn't like some aspects of the drug (I feel slightly sedated on it - just kinda bleh), I had a great workout on Tuesday with it, and so I decided to test drive it in today's race. If today went well, I'd use it in next week's Broad Street 10 Miler. (I've used two other drugs in the past, but each has its own drawbacks.)
The forecast for this race when I signed up was for light rain, and I had actually been hoping for such - the rain does a great job of tamping down the pollen. But no such luck - the rain that had been forecast for overnight hadn't arrived yet. This also meant that the air was pretty sticky, and warmer than I had expected (temps in the mid-60s, with matching dew point). These are the weather conditions that challenge my breathing, which made it a perfect test drive for the Symbicort. I didn't feel great during my warm-up, but I've learned that there's really no correlation between how I feel when warming up and when racing.
After my normal warm-up, we lined up and were off. This was a pretty small race, so I was in the lead pack almost immediately. This pack included my friend Vanessa, my friend and teammate Patrick, and another guy (wearing a cape - superhero costumes were big here). Plus another guy slightly ahead.
The race had us starting on the east side of Hains Point, running to the south, and then coming around the turn to run north on the western side. The turn cone/halfway point was just shy of Buckeye Drive - from there we reversed the course. The wind was from the north, and was noticeable - thus we had a decent headwind as we ran up the west side. I hung with the pack, trying to bide my time and use them as a slight wind block. I was slightly uncomfortable, and had to really focus to keep my breathing rhythmical, but stuck with the pace because I'd rather not be fighting the wind myself. Additionally, I had felt on Tuesday that the Symbicort was changing my perception of effort - if I just hung on or pushed when I felt uncomfortable, I was actually fine.
When we came around the turn to head back home (and gained a tailwind), I started to open up my stride. The wind was now at my back, and though I was still uncomfortable, I felt in control. This was a 5K, after all, not a tempo workout. I built up some speed and pulled ahead of Vanessa, while Patrick pulled ahead of me. In retrospect, I pushed too hard here.
Somewhere after the 2 mile mark, my breathing started to get short and my field of vision a bit narrower. I know how to deal with this. Heck, I've dealt with tough breathing issues in several workouts recently because of the high pollen count, which has given me a lot of good practice at working through it. It's simple (but hard) - relax the shoulders, make sure to exhale out all the CO2, slow up on the pace, let the others go ahead, and re-establish a solid breathing pattern. If I do that, I can usually nurse myself through to the end of the workout or race.
However, playing against that was the fact that I was in a race, and leading the race. I think if I had just adopted a workout mentality, and backed off the pace to a point where I could reestablish my breathing, things would have turned out better. But I was leading, and close to the finish, and slowing down to feel more in control was the last thing I wanted to do. So I tried to just dig in and hold my pace, until I was gasping and HAD to stop. You can't run when you aren't getting air in (as much as I'd like to pretend otherwise). And so my running fell apart. And I was pissed. Vanessa passed me on the way to her well deserved win as I shuffled in. I really did try to do more than shuffle - if only to ensure the time wasn't too embarrassing - but the shuffle was all I could muster.
My friend Dan told me a long time ago to "always try to leave something in the tank" when I raced - it sounds counterintuitive, but it's been fantastic advice for me. I didn't do that here.
Of course I now have Broad Street in 7 days (hopefully I'll stop coughing before then...). The good news is that some of my best races have been preceded by lousy ones. The bad news is that I don't feel like I have my allergy/asthma issues under control. At this point, I'm thinking I'll end up going back to Dulera, rather than Symbicort, for Broad Street. The Dulera hasn't been doing a perfect job for me this spring, but given today's result, I think it's the wiser choice.