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.


About Jeff Allen

My mission is to balance the goals of my personal and professional life while continually gaining new knowledge and seeking wisdom. This effort to balance my goals should not dilute the quality of my goals, but should enhance the quality of life for my family, co-workers, friends, and students.
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