Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Run Rocklin version 2.0
This would be one of those rare races I ran in 2010 that I'm healthy & fit enough to give it another go in 2011. This is a super well organized, accurate, and fun race. Just like last year, I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a good 5k or 12k. A couple thousand people at the start, about 1500 in the 5k and another thousand(?) in the 12. This race fell last year juuust about the time where my training (and knee) was starting to come around. A couple weeks later I think I could have snuck under 16:00. As it was, it was a deep field, and I ran a 16:08/16:09 chip/gun time for a close third overall. A couple weeks ago, it was my goal to get under 17 and hope to be in the top 5. After last week's breakthough in the 10k, I was hoping for something closer to a 16:30 and a shot at the top 3.
I got a good warm-up in on the course, got back to the car to ditch the gloves and arm-warmers, and did a few strides before the gun. I LOVE races that have a countdown clock at the start. It makes it easy to do a perfectly timed warm-up and stretch, which really does help if you're hoping to go out fast. That was the hope, anyway. Mile 2 would be the hardest one, course-wise, so I was hoping for a sub 5:20 mile 1. Like last year, there was a decent size pack after the gun. Around the first two tuens I was about 7th, and three guys were threatening to break away early. By a half mile in, I'd positioned myself at the front of the chase group, and there would continue to be a gap between the top three and the rest of us. After keeping pace a few seconds back and hitting mile 1 in 5:14 I tried to make up some ground on the hill and subsequent flat, and had caught the pack right around the half way mark. I'd thought once I caught up that running with them (as opposed to slightly faster trying to catch up) would feel easier...but I was wrong.
But...the race started over again for the last 8 minutes. We were a tight pack. I think each guy jockeyed back and forth between 1st or 2nd and 4th, myself included. About 12 minutes in though, the three of them were threatening to drop me again as I struggled to stay within a second or two of the back of the pack. But I knew what was coming. A fast finish. Slightly downhill and flat, save for a tiny bump right before the downhill at mile 2.9. At mile 7 of the 12k course (.44 to go) I made a concerted effort to speed up. I remember last year being happy with my time but not liking somebody being 1 second in front of me. You always wonder if you could have dug deeper. Of course, last week, the race came to an end with me reeling in the 10k leader, but unable to bridge that last 3 second gap. Being that it was the best race I'd run since last June, I wasn't upset, but that finish was in my head, and I didn't want a repeat. I dug down for another gear that I was not only blindly hoping would be there, but that 3rd place wouldn't be able to match. A quarter mile to go...in third now (with prize money to get back the entry fee) but no sitting back just yet. First was matching my speed 40 yards ahead, but 2nd was not. I got to him just before mile 3 and ran hard and scared the last tenth of a mile, hoping to hang on to 2nd (which I did) and get a good time in the process. I ended up with a chip time of 16:22.03, which they so nicely rounded up 0.97 seconds to 16:23. Not easy. Luckily I only have a couple packets of GU on race morning for 5 and 10ks, cause it came right back up after going through the chute (Dave only got to see the oh-so-entertaining dry heaves). Two weeks under my A goal time and I actually got to do some real racing in this one!
Dave came in just a hair over 26 minutes and with a lying GPS that said the elevation change (or climb?) was just 29 feet. Not a hilly course, but I'd wager 40-50 up, and 40-50 down, at the least. My mile splits ended up being 5:14, 5:24, 5:14+, <:30. For as frustrating as my training has been since starting comeback #6 or 7 last fall (starting to blend together now) this 5k matches my best time from 2006-2009 to the second, and it was enough to make my want to do the 5k at Daffodil next week in hopes of a 16:33 or under!!!
Another high mileage week for me, and the regularity is starting to pay off...67 miles for the second straight week and 312 over the last five weeks. The Achilles is on the edge, but always is, even at 20 miles a week, so it is what it is. Hopefully I'll be able to enjoy the summer this year for the first time since 2007!