Example B (race photos taken on the "down" stroke instead of the "push" should never be posted in public):
It's like all the good work I've done over the past two years came apart at once. Time to rewind...
A conversation with Sonja sometime in the middle of last week led to me signing up Friday evening for the Clarendon Day 5K. I've heard that it's a fun race, with a flat/slightly rolling first mile, big downhill at the beginning of the second mile and uphill into the finish. Despite the fact that I am not even close to being in 5K shape, having spent the better part of the year going long and slow, I decided quite ambiguously that I was going to try and take advantage of mile two being sweet downhill and try to PR. The last time I can remember running even part of a mile that had a 7 in it was New Year's Eve, but I figured that 7:45 pace was pretty close to the 8:30ish pace I ran off the bike a month or so ago and it would be fine. I am nothing if not entirely logical.
I tapered for the race by doing 4+ hours of swim/bike/run the day before, and added to the good preparation by only getting about six tossing-and-turning hours of sleep Friday night. My resting heart rate has been about ten beats elevated since last Wednesday morning, which is either due to stress or predicting that I am about to get sick (I'm hoping for the former), so I considered forcing the poet to run with my bib and spectating, but he had a 3.5 hour run on tap and wasn't interested. So we drove on over, picked up my bib, and stood around being cranky for a while until it was time to warm up. I wore my podium hoodie and my PR visor in hopes that the juju would rub off on my tired legs.
I warmed up for about a mile and noticed as I was warming up that the weather was too. It was pretty humid, but I've been on the 'roids for over a month now so it bothers me less. When I was done warming up, I downed some EFS to top off my calories and then we headed over to the start line.
I haven't done a race in a really long time with music, and I didn't plan on racing this one with it, but as I stood there looking around yawning, I decided that it might either cheer me up or help distract me from OMG WHY DOES IT HURT IS IT OVER YET OW. So the music went in.
I beeped around until I found one of my happier tunes and soon enough it was time to go. My very rough no-plan plan had me going out at around 7:45 pace and trying to hold it. So that went well.
The first half-mile is relatively flat, and then there's a little down-and-up-and-around into the second mile. I didn't look down at my watch until we hit the down, and lap pace was showing 7:01. I slammed on the brakes and tried to concentrate on good form as we headed up the hill, but I'm pretty sure it was already too late to recover from that damage. When we hit the long downhill at the start of the second mile, I tried to keep it controlled and relaxed, and when the course turned onto the flat of highway 110, maintain the pace I had been going. I didn't see a mile 2 marker, so when my watch showed 1.04 and there was none in sight, I manually lapped. Overall, the course measured pretty true so it's likely that mile 2 was closer to 7:20, but it really doesn't matter all that much.
The out-and-back on 110 was short but horrifying. My legs were royally pissed by this time about my brilliant race execution strategy and when I hit the turn around, I stopped to walk for about 20 seconds. I'm not proud of it, but I just lost my will. It was hot and I went out way too fast and this is what happens when you run like a bat out of hell from the start. I got going again but it felt more like a slow jog, and I could tell that my form was collapsing. I saw the mile 6 marker (but no mile 3) and tried to light the fire into the finish, but it was more like a lurching, hip-dipping heel-striking disaster slog.
Especially after comparing it to the warming-up shots I didn't realize the poet was taking. Let's hope none of my pack of running gait people is reading this (hi Dr. Maggs!). FORM GOES WOMP WOMP.
Once I finished I turned and leaned on a table conveniently located right next to the clock while my brain started fishing the blood out of my legs. The poet found me pretty quickly and I let him know how the race went.
Am I actually upset about this race? No, of course not. My final time was 24:37, which is 7:56 pace, which is definitely the fastest running I've done all year. In early August, right when I came out of my bender, I did 3x1 mile repeats and they were all in the 8:20ish range as far as I can remember (and don't care enough to look it up). The 5K I did off the bike was a 25:54, which is 8:21 pace (just went and looked that up because I cannot do .1 race math) but was much more evenly split. And those two events were really the only running I've done resembling "fast" since I got back into training. My 5K PR (24:15) was set when I was mid-half marathon cycle, doing track and tempo work weekly and really ready to run hard. To come within 22 seconds of that PR on the legs, mind, and body state that I'm in right now is actually just fine with me.
So while I executed this like a complete idiot, I can still take a little heart from it because it's showing me that there is a tiny bit of speed in there somewhere, and if I wanted to go after a 5K PR, it would probably only take a few weeks of work to get there. But I definitely, 100%, absolutely do NOT want to go after that (more on this tomorrow) because running fast totally sucks.
How was your weekend? Did you have to run fast?