Tuesday, August 24

VTS Race #8: 5,000m (Fugly)

I’ve participated in enough races to fully appreciate and understand a few of the finer points concerning: pacing, attitude, fitness and desire. My summary, “you can’t run fast unless you run fast”. This all too obvious statement usually requires a certain amount of attitude (belief in oneself), fitness and race smarts. Apparently I still have a lot to learn.

After returning from our first camping trip (with children) and only moments prior to toeing the line I had enough wherewithal to draft out a rough race plan. Based on my recent mile, the McMillan Calculator predicted a 5,000m time of 17:17. I was hoping to run something faster, ideally closer to 17:00 but settled on sub 17:10... for no reason other than an unfounded belief that I was entitled to run faster. My pace/km was 3:26.

I chatted with the eventual winner (and perpetual superstar) Lucy Smith just before the start and knew that she was aiming to hold 3:25s with the thought being able to slip under 17:00 if the conditions were right. Sure, why not I thought. I was completely surprised then when instead of a moderate 81”-82” opening 400m, we cruised through in 78”. At that moment I knew I had to either, a) run with it and accept the result that fate would deliver or b) slow down. I choose poorly.

We spilt the opening kilometre in 3:23 the whole time alternating 400s as there was a wickedly strong wind on the backstretch. We continued this pattern through 2,400m, after which all I could do was squeak out a weak apology between gasps and wait for the inevitable.

The train wreck was excruciating. Despite trying to hold my form (the usual smooth stride and relaxed shoulders) it felt as if I was running uphill, into the wind with wet sneakers. In the end I crossed the line in the predicted 17:17 but couldn’t help but think of the possibility that existed had I run a smart race. Still, the result was far better than my first 5,000m in May (17:40) and a further improvement over the 17:24 run in June.

The carnage: 3:23, 3:24, 3:28, 3:35 & 3:27

Enough of this, back to vacation for a couple more weeks...

Training: VTS #8: 5,000m, 17:17.0, 3:27/km, 5:34/mi, 2nd OA


Thomas said...

I don't know, sounds pretty damn fast for a train wreck to me.

5Ks can actually be faster if you start at an unreasonable pace. It's a painful way to race, though.

Love2Run said...

It does sound painful (what am I getting myself into?) but I don't see much slow down there. You really hung on in the end!

Brad Cunningham said...

Ouch. The 4th km looked like it hurt. Well done, though. A steady progression and lots to look forward to.

Michael said...

It was the 4th kilometer that almost killed me. I think, know, I started too fast. I wish I could run another 5,000m under the same conditions soon, only this time I'd pace myself. If it works for a mile, why wouldn't it work for a 5,000m?

Grellan said...

Reading your report I though you blew it completly - whereas hitting 17:17 is bang on what McMillan gave you. Granted, if the 4th k went like the others you would have hit your 17:10 target. Still a great imporvement over the summer. Getting the pace right is so important for the 5k and under races.

zbsports said...

Great adventure and stories, I like the pictures too. The kids will be a future adventurer I guess.

Chris Callendar said...

Nice work Mike, the pace calculator obviously knew you better than you did! I think a lot of us struggled with that wind, since I've heard many people say they were about 10-20 seconds off what they hoped for.