Friday, July 4, 2014

Race report: Firecracker 5k, July 4, 2014

I ran the Firecracker 5K in Reston, Virgina, finishing in a time of 20:24.

I'm actually happy with a lot of things about this race, despite the time.  I ran this race simply because I needed to get out there.  My racing history since July of last year has been:

1) a 5K (actually long) in March of this year.
2) the first two miles of Cherry Blossom in April, before dropping out.

So yeah, it's been a while.  And it felt like it.  I'm rusty enough that I didn't remember at first that a race start at 8 meant that I needed to have my warm-up done at least a few minutes before 8, to give me time to line up.  But I remembered in time, and was fully warmed up when I started.

I ran this race about 2 years ago, and I remembered the course from then.  A bit uphill at the start, then a long gentle downhill. But the last half mile or so was a definite uphill that could really kill if you were already in oxygen debt.  Remembering this, I decided to go out conservatively, and then up the effort at halfway.  Especially since it was a bit humid, which I know can come back to bite one at the end of a race if you've gone out too fast.

It was a good plan.  And I followed it for the first mile.  I was uncomfortable, but in a controlled way, if that makes sense. However, when I decided to pick up the pace for the second half, I just didn't have anything there - my legs felt like lead.  I gave it what I could, and finished very mentally strong - I just wish I'd had more energy/power to match.

Oh well.  My primary purpose was to use this as a rust buster, and that succeeded.  This was probably one of the more painful 5Ks that I've done - by mile two I was hurting like hell, and painful races get even harder when you know you're running far slower than you had hoped (this is my slowest 5K in 3 years or so, and a full minute slower than I ran this race in 2012).  But, kept going anyway, gave it what I had on the final stretch, and sandblasted the crud off of my racing heart.  And I feel good about that.  Really good about that.  This race needed to happen.

Best part was, even as I was hating life in the last mile, and knew I was having a lousy race, there was still a little voice inside of me saying "wow - it's great to be here :)"  Long periods of injury give perspective.

Splits were (mile markers way off): 7:14 for first 1.12 miles, 5:49 for next .92 miles, and 7:21 for last 1.15 miles.  And yes, I know that adds to 3.19 miles, but there's no possible way this course was long - Garmin just was giving some error today, due to the tall buildings.

Other notes:

-We had a few remnants of Hurricane Arthur sprinkling on us during the warm-up, but no rain for race time.  It was a bit humid, but not horrible for a July race in the DC area.
-One puff of Dulera (asthma inhaler) in the morning.
-HR monitor shows that my HR peaked at 199 on the homestretch of this race.  That's my max HR, and a number I haven't seen in a long time.  As I wrote above, this one hurt pretty bad, time notwithstanding.  I was trying pretty hard; legs just didn't have any oomph.
-Got to this race at 6:45, which proved to be the perfect time to find a good parking space.
-I am now extremely motivated to train (not that I wasn't before).  Just got to avoid the temptation to address my anger by making classic training errors (i.e. running workouts too fast, easy days too hard).  I'll get there, and I'll get there quicker if I'm patient now.

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