Monday, September 29, 2008

Dragging myself to a new PR

This weekend, I ran a 5K. Finished in 19:49 - a new PR. My old one was 19:55, set way back in 2004. The race was a bit blah. Got there about two minutes after the scheduled start time. Saw some runners already on their way and figured I'd probably missed it. But, found out soon enough that it was the 10K start and that the 5K had been delayed by 10 minutes. That worked for me.

The race itself was tough - for me. At a couple of points after the half-way mark, I felt like stopping. Legs were quite beat up. A cup of water at mile 2 definitely made a big difference. Mile 1 was in 5:54, the next 1.1 mile in 7:04, and the last 1 mile in 6:47. Notice the gradual slowing down.

Even though it was a PR, I never really felt strong during the race. Part of it was probably the start where I thought I was late and part of it was probably to a 15-hour day on the day before the race when we went to the re-opening of the California Academy of Sciences, which, btw, is a great place to visit. I was on my feet for over 9 hours.

After mile 1, I could hear footsteps behind me. For some reason, mistaking myself to be Haile Gebreselassie (who had set a new world record in the marathon the same day in Berlin) I put in a little surge to break away from them. Needless to say, reality caught up with me and so did those footsteps, and pretty soon I was passed by them - one of whom was a heart-attack survivor. I didn't know if my mouth was agape from amazement or just from the lack of breath. There was even a little 11 year old kid that was always ahead of me and ultimately finished in 18:12 something. Very impressive.

Comparing it to my 2004 PR was interesting. Fours years older and four pounds heavier, yet the time remains the same (19:55 vs. 19:49). Weekly mileage is/was the same in both cases. However, back in 2004, my usual runs were around 3-4 miles and I used to do speedwork once a week. Now, my runs are usually 5-8 miles but with no speedwork. Some of them are hilly, which is "speedwork in disguise." I figure with a bit of speedwork I should be able to go sub-19. However, what I think is more important is to work on my lactate threshold which is what was responsible for entertaining my feeble mind with thoughts of stopping during the race. We'll see what the next race brings.