Monday, April 06, 2009

Carlsbad 5000

This race bills itself as the fastest 5K... The course itself is fast but is not flat, and it does include TWO hairpin turns.

As stated before I wanted to run sub-20... and the way I was going to do it was to wear my garmin to avoid a fast start and a potentially season ending injury.

I wake up at 3:30 as I have to drive some 90 minutes to the start... NOT to mention that I had yet to pick up my bib number. I had paid $20 at an expo...

I ended up making it to the town center right around 6AM... plenty of time before my scheduled race, 7:05AM...

Picked up my bib and T-shirt (nice design, BTW)... warmed up for one mile easy...

30 minutes before the start I do another w/u mile... this one including four striders at perceived 5K effort... my piriformis gets massaged... and I am ready to roll.

I line up four rows back. And the gun goes off.

After a few steps walking we're off. It's crowded. But it's controlled. I look at my Garmin and I am running sub 6. Hmmm, relax. Adrenaline pumping, my legs want to turn over quickly. About 200 runners are ahead of me and even if I wanted, I could not go faster. My pace slowly drops. The effort feels more like a short tempo run. We turn left and Garmin says 6:16. Hmmm, I expected it to be slower. The course is full of mild inclines, and there is a mild wind that will be on my face for the second half of the race.

I cross the one-mile marker in 6:21. Damn. A bit fast. Will I implode? FI, if I do, I do. I maintain the effort. We are running by the ocean. Also, I am beginning to pass runners. I am feeling good. The first hairpin turn approaches. I turn wide as suggested by a RunnersWorld Forum member (13th OA, 52-years, 16:40). I keep on passing runners here and there. The pace begins to feel harder to sustain. I am still following Garmin. Mile 2, 6:20. How can I be running a 5K in such even pacing? Will the third mile drop off dramatically? I tell myself that I just have to endure the race for about seven more minutes.

We are now on another slight incline and the second hairpin turn appears. There are two other runners close to me. I decide to go a couple of meters ahead to avoid getting in their way. I also swing wide. I would end up passing these runners. I feel nauseous. The puke-meter is redlining now. I try to relax to see if the feeling will go away. It doesn't. My Garmin has been showing the pace is getting faster. I turn left and I see the finish line. Mile three, 6:15!!! I complete the last stretch in 39"... for a final time of 19:35(chip)... matching my gun time of my 19:34 (watch) PR.

To say the least I am extremely happy with the result. To think that I almost PR'd with no race specific training... Apparently my aerobic fitness has stay put. We'll see how my endurance is come April 20th.

If you are only going to race ONE 5K in your life, it has to be the Carlsbad 5000. Awesome race. The best $20 I have spent on ANY race.