Saturday, March 2, 2013

Race report: Bright Beginnings 5K, March 2, 2013

I ran the Bright Beginnings 5K this morning, finishing in 19:20, which I'm satisfied with.

It was weird, because this was a race that in many ways didn't feel like a race.  Part of it was that I've got a goal race, and it's just about 2 weeks from today.  I had registered for this race about 2 months ago, but only because I knew I'd have to miss my team's tempo workout due to work travel this week, so I might as well do this instead.

Some time after I registered for this race, my coach decided that he wanted to strongly encourage my teammates to run it, even declaring it the "official CAR (my team) workout" for the day.   The result was that I was surrounded by a TON of teammates, with the feel being very much like a workout, rather than a race.  No guessing where to seed myself -- I had a pretty good idea.

Like I said, felt like a workout, not a race. 
(also note that I picked a picture with me ahead of a group. 
It's my blog, and I can do that if I like.)

So there it was, a workout.  But, with a slightly different goal.  For this race, I really didn't care about placement or time.  I'm training for a marathon (well, hopefully I'm trained at this point....)  and I'm pretty sure that my training is not optimal for running my fastest 5K (heck, if it was, then I'd just train this way when focusing on shorter distances...).  I just wanted to execute very well, while running at race effort.

And...long story short, I did.
My splits were:
Mile 1: 6:02
Mile 2: 6:14
Mile 3: 6:23
last bit: 41 seconds (6:12 pace)

On pixels, this looks like I went out too fast, especially on a perfectly flat and very fast course.  But the reality is that we had the advantage of a decent tailwind for the first half that turned into a annoying headwind for the second half.

The first mile was actually pretty restrained, as I intentionally focused on hitting my rhythm.  My coach surprised me slightly by seating himself at the first and second mile markers and calling splits (which also contributed to the odd feeling of this being a workout, rather than a race).  I heard the first split and it gave me mental pause for a second -- wow, 6:02 is bit faster than my norm for the first mile of a 5K.  But I did a quick assessment - everything felt good and under control.  If my body felt good, then I was just going to ignore the split and keep running as I was.  Heck, I might even PR today (something that was NOT on my radar at all).

But nope, halfway down we hit the turn around (which I navigated pretty awkwardly - need to get better at that) and I figured out just why that first mile was so fast....the wind was decently strong.  Oh well.  I had plenty left in the tank, and the wind was excellent prep for my marathon (Shamrock, which has a reputation for being windy).

On the back half, I just held my rhythm.  I tried to pick it up some in the third mile, but I felt locked in, for lack of a better term, and just couldn't find that next gear to really bring it home.  The result was a race/workout that felt very evenly paced, at least effort-wise.   And that's not a bad thing.    I executed well, got a good strong effort in that will make my marathon pace feel easier in comparison, and was done in plenty of time to run my errands.  Win.

But yeah, I'm really looking forward to life after my marathon, when I'll be able to target shorter races again - I feel like I've got unfinished business with the 5K-10K distance.

Other notes:

  • Parked at Thompson's Boathouse, which was about 1.25 miles from the start.  It worked well, though I think I could have parked even closer, on Rock Creek Parkway.  Just need to get there by 6:45.
  • They started this race 10 minutes late.  If you are going to start a race 10 minutes late, don't just have us sit there.  ANNOUNCE that you will delay the race 10 minutes - that way we can all put our warm clothes back on while we're waiting. 
  • Cooldown was about 1.5 miles jogged back to my car.  Taper is weird.
  • Course is ridiculously fast, even with the wind.
  • I debated whether to break down and wear my flats for this race.  5K is short enough that I feel they make a significant difference.  But, I'm two weeks out from my goal marathon, and I had some calf issues about a week ago.  I decided it just wasn't worth it.  I do think that running the race in my trainers may also have contributed to the race feeling like a workout.


  1. Congrats!!! That is cool to jump on a 5k during marathon training! I wish I would but too chicken. Well done!

  2. Nicely done. I think most people had even more significant positive splits, so it shows that you were really putting in a solid effort in the second half. Congrats!