Monday, February 04, 2008

Superbowl Sunday

Yesterday was to be one of my 'goal' races for the year. Coming into this 5K I knew I was not ready for a 19:15, so I came up with a lesser goal.

I drove to the site in light rain, hoping that it would subside before the start of the race. I parked the car less than 1/2-mile away from the start and it was still raining. It was 6:30, an hour to go. I still had to go and pick up my bib. I decide to wait until 7:10 to retrieve the T-shirt and the bib/chip envelope. All this time I struggle deciding whether to run it or not. I almost left. The rain was not the issue, it was waiting until the race started 'in the rain' that did not appeal to me.

I exit the car and head to get my bib, jogging the distance. The envelope is handed to me and I make my way to get my long-sleeve shirt, getting my shoes completely soaked.

Five minutes or so to go... I have to go relieve my bladder. No one is lined up at the porta-potties; a rare sight. I come out with three minutes to spare. The start is but a few steps away. The new, more conservative goal is just to break 20. It should not be that difficult.

I get myself right behind the first row. I am ready to run. The light rain keeps on dropping. It is annoying the heck out of me. Sound the darn horn for crying out loud. Then it is announced that America the Beautiful will be sang. The singer does a wonderful joy. Then I come back to reality. I am getting cold. It's only 48 degrees, so it isn't that bad.

Finally, the horn is blown. I take off with a bunch of teens. I reach the quarter mile and I ask this guy what he's thinking of running. 18, was his response. I immediately back off. I make a turn and get passed by one runner. The effort feels too close to tempo, but I discard the idea that I am not running 5K-effort (BIG mistake) and continue. The first mile marker, I hit the split button and my watch reads 6:30. Shit. I am already behind as this mile should have been not slower than 6:20. The next one is the most difficult of the three and I know it will be slower. I try to raise the effort, and I only slow down 12 seconds, 6:42. I am 15 seconds behind schedule. I need a sub-6:10 to make it close. My shoes keep getting soaked in the cross-gutters. I pass a couple of more runners, including a teen. I am on a nice descent, but my stride feels short, choppy. Sub 20, is not going to happen. The effort is just not there. I turn and see the third mile marker, 6:31. Damn. I don't even kick the final stretch, where the teen I had passed just after 2.25 comes roaring and gets in front of me inside the shoot, 0.44. 20:27 by my watch. 20:30 official time. I guess the rain impeded on using the flat-chip system and they went with bib tags. 42nd OA and seventh in my AG. The top three in my AG ran in the 16s; damn, they're fast. The winner did it in 15:01. Bastard.

At the end I was in disbelief. My mind could not fathom how I could run such a slow race. Two years ago, I ran this race and ran it almost a minute faster. I was in similar shape. I kept on feeling sorry for myself for the rest of the day. The Superbowl was a nice distraction to an awfully ran race. No effort, no guts... no glory... just disappointment.

In the afternoon, I rooted for the Patriots; I wanted them to get a perfect season. Besides i am not a fan of the Manning brothers. Eli because he dodged the draft (San Diego Chargers)... Payton because he is just too darn good. I have to hand it to Eli though; he held composure and drove his team when it was needed the most, during crunch time. I thought the pressure was going to be too much, and that he was going to be intercepted. Overall it was an excellent game, particularly the second half.

5 comments:

Joseph P. Wood said...

We all need bad races; it gives the good ones a certain sweetness.

Seriously, though, this was the first race of the cycle, correct? Those always tend to be the slowest.

However, you mention you were in similar shape two years back. But did you do the same thing leading up this race compared to that one?

For instance, right now, how fresh were you for the race? Two years ago?

Where in the training cycle did this race occur to years ago vs. now?

Were there other external stresses that you were dealing with now vs. then?

You get my drift. But, w/ that said, some days it's not your day. So you just gotta keep pushing.

Quinto Sol said...

Joseph, this race was the second; the first one was a week ago where I did meet my goal (sub-1:30 half mary).

The one thing missing has been intervals, namely 800s.

The legs felt fresh. Two years ago they felt superb :-)

I did have a stressful weekend; somehow, I can't think it could have slowed me down 10 sec/mile. I still think I should have been able to break 20.

10 days prior I ran a four-mile tempo at the same pace as the SB 5K!

Joseph P. Wood said...

The one thing missing has been intervals, namely 800s.

That would severely eat into your 5k time! How did your half compare to this race in terms of expectation and fitness?

Also, halves take a good two to three weeks to fully recover from. If you didn't have the half under your belt, you most likely would've been fresher. That said, if the point of the 5k was to get some quick, hard work in--as opposed to a PR effort--then you achieved your objective!

Quinto Sol said...

Joseph -

How did your half compare to this race in terms of expectation and fitness?

The half 'fits' into where I believe my fitness is at this point, although I did have a hard time sustaining pace. OTOH, I think you're right that the lack of short repeats prevented me from 'knowing' 5K pace. I will have to test this on another 5K, maybe in the Summer.

Joseph P. Wood said...

OTOH, I think you're right that the lack of short repeats prevented me from 'knowing' 5K pace. I will have to test this on another 5K, maybe in the Summer.

I'd even say it's not just knowing it (although it is important). Those 800s @ 5k-3kP actually stimulate higher-end VO2 development in a way tempos don't.