My First 5k race

I started running almost 4 years ago. My first race was in September 2006. It was the Rochester Half Marathon. Since then I have run half marathons, marathons, ultramarathons, and an Ironman triathlon, plus some other miscellaneous races. But somehow I have never run a 5k. Or a 10k for that matter. The closest distances I have run have been the Chase Corporate Challenge which is 3.5 miles. And my company’s run walk event which has been slightly over 3 miles.
This year we decided to increase the distance of the race portion of our run/walk event to 5k. The path around the pond where we hold out event is marked with a start line and a finish line, and markings every 0.1 miles up to the finish line which is marked 1 mile. There is a gap between the finish line and the start line. We cross the gap twice in our 3 laps around the pond. So I measured the gap at 86 feet. I figured out we needed to add a total of 393 feet to our previous course. So I chalked a new finish line 393 feet passed the painted finish line.
I have come in first place the previous two years. Keep in mind our run/walk event is limited to people from our company in our area of the city. We usually get about 25 people in the race. Last year I ran the 3 miles, 172 feet in just under 21 minutes. I planned to win it again this year again. But a new guy, Greg, started with my company. He is a triathlon coach. I was talking with him, and found he had run sub-20 minute 5k’s and his best was 19 minutes flat. That is low 6 minute miles. Ack! I figured I would be getting second place this year. My plan was to try to stick with him as long as I could figuring maybe I could run a good time.
Then race day came. A young showed up and he looked fast. His name was Andrew. I asked what kind of time he thought he would run. He didn’t know, but one of his recent races was a half marathon that he finished in 1:32, or 10 minutes faster than my half marathon PR. Ok, I guess I would be getting third place. But it would be a good race!
Greg, Andrew and I were fast guys, and we lined up at the front. We got our instructions. Then we were off. Andrew was in the lead, with Greg behind him, and me behind Greg. I looked at my Garmin and was running a mid 5 minute/mile pace. ACK!!! I knew I couldn’t hold this pace. I backed off the pace to somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 pace and let Greg and Andrew go. They stayed up ahead of me but the gap didn’t seem to be increasing much. We passed the mile mark with Andrew in the lead, Greg behind him, and me in third. I think I finished the first mile in about 6:15 or so.
I seemed to be catching up with Greg. I caught up to him at about 1.4 miles. I was nervous that I might be going too fast. I debated about staying behind him. But I looked at my Garmin, and I was doing okay. I passed him. I caught up with Andrew at about mile 1.7. Again, I was a little nervous about passing him, but I did. I passed the two mile mark in the lead. And my lead seemed to be growing. I felt okay, but I didn’t want to blow up before the finish. I kept running trying not to run too fast or too slow. I crossed the finish line in 19:58. Behind me, Andrew finished in 20:33 and Greg in 20:35. The fourth place guy finished in 21:48.
I found out later that Andrew had had to stop a few times in the last mile to either throw up or keep from throwing up. He only passed Greg in the last 100 feet or so.
Here is my Garmin 305 data:
According to it, my heart rate hit 195 bpm. I have been using 193 as my max HR. Apparently I managed to bump it up a little higher. And my average HR was 183. I had no clue I was going that hard. It didn’t feel like it.
So for my first 5k I finished in 19:58 and averaged 6:27 minute miles. I had never run this far, this fast. My fastest race near this distance was the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge which I finished in 23:48 or 6:48 minute/miles. And I crushed that. Apparently I am getting faster. I am still not a runner! :D
Oh yeah, the next day, the Greg the tri coach asked if I was a barefoot runner. I told him no. But I have been working on my running form to run like one. I run in minimalist shoes (K-Swiss Ultra Natural Runs with the insoles taken out). He said my running form looked good. Very cool!