Hot Chocolate 15k, Dallas, Texas

The 15k is a strange distance.  I haven’t raced this particular distance, but now have enough races under my belt to begin estimating my pace and understand the character of the race as it happens.

16473487_10210960772089270_6590897849891174483_n.jpgWhy this race?  Jared Allen (pictured), my oldest son, decided to run the 5k.   No pressure, simply go out have have a good race with my son.

I set a race goal pace of 11:00 min. This was reasonable pace based on marathon pace.

During the Dallas Marathon, I ran a 12:00 min pace and exceeded my goals.  I didn’t have the same idea here. I simply wanted to DO THE WORK.    This is the first race in a very long 2017 season.  Coach Ben and I agreed to the pace with the idea of seeing what left for the last three miles.

Nutrition prior to the Race: Banana and #completecookie an hour before the race.   200 calories of #gotailwind waiting for the start.

The race started cold, humid with sprinkling rain.  At the same time, I hoped that my race would stay together.   I didn’t “feel” 100% . . . probably not 80%.  I’m a slow starter and the first 2-3 miles are always painful.  Plus, no heart rate monitor and the car parked a country mile from the start line.   Plus, thinking of Jared already on the 5k course trying to beat a PR – it would be a good day one way or another.

Nutrition on course: Clif Shot Bloks, and course provided NuuN

The first mile of the course is slightly declined and fast.  My pace started faster than I wanted at 10:12, but it felt calm and comfortable.   I determined, based on the course, that I would try to hold pace for the first 5k (10:11, 10:12).   On the other hand at this pace a crash and burn is inevitable.  Starting 45 seconds faster than a planned pace is asking for a later crash.

The second third (5-10k) was faster but I was holding the faster pace.  I stopped looking at my pace.   Why not take the shovel and dig deeper – there’s a wall and I was playing with ugly numbers (9:46, 9:45, 9:51) more than a minute and fifteen faster than my plan.

Did I say that I was a slow starter?  This pace was faster than I’ve run ANY timed 5k.

During the second third, I contemplated a lecture that Ben Drezek gave at the Tri-Shop,Plano in May 2016… to paraphrase:

There are moments of opportunity,
moments of settling (this pain is enough),
and moments of patience.

This meant a lot to me at a time since I was coming off a less than stellar performance of “settling” during a race.   Today, my back was killing me – everything else was working perfectly, but my back was hurting because my posture was hurting.  I could settle and have solid reasoning.

However, I made the choice of a “moment of opportunity.   I mentally divided the 15k into three separate races.  I was now finishing the second….and predicted that I would burn out but not yet….When? Today was a running day, so I pushed the pace again.

ONE of my 2017 triathlon goals is to run a “under 30 minute 5k”.  A less than stellar goal for many, but one that I need to handle.   So, I doubled down and started to push the pace in mile six.   It seems ridiculous to think this way this deep in a race, but these are the tricks we play with ourselves when we run at distance.

So, in my last 5k (race 3 of 3) I grunted out 9:18, 9:17 and 9:25 or a 28 minute 5k. Mile 7 -9 hurt.   Really hurt, but there was nothing injured.

The first part of my race didn’t matter anymore.   I don’t know that I’ve ever been more tired at the end of a race.

Yes, Jared ran a 25:50 with minimal training!  His first 5k race.

My goal: 1:42:32
Actual: 1:31:52 (10:42 under)

My first race of 2017 was going to be good regardless of the race outcome.  Turned out to be a lot of learning on a Saturday morning in February.


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