Monday, April 29, 2013

The Jay Lyon's 5k...the race that started it all

If you follow my exploits, you'll know that the last few weeks have had me doing my best impersonation of a "rhesus monkey" or "patient zero". Yes, it seems that I've run myself a little ragged a little earlier in the season than usual. Well, maybe my training regimen left me more susceptible to getting sick at least. Post Boston Marathon day, I have been struggling with fevers, congestion and a level of lethargy that is way worse than normal for me. I've spent the last 2 weekends not racing (you know that kills me) and the last 2 weeks forcing my way through workouts. All that came to a head this past Friday with yet another fever broken and trip to the doc. Seems I have not been resting as I should (a shocker I know), partly due to my training and partly due to my coughing throughout the night...every night...for 2 weeks. Enter my new friend cough syrup with codeine. I forgot what sleep really was! Two solid nights of it and I feel like a new man.

At least I looked fast
Enter the Jay Lyon's 5k. A local race, a rather large one that draws around a thousand runners, that was this weekend. It is the race that got me back into racing.It was the first race I put on the calendar and trained for after my realization that my "blossoming" up to 245lbs was unacceptable After running it at a snail's pace, somewhere around 24 minutes, I got bitten by the bug and knew I had to get into better shape and get back into racing. I have tried to run that race ever since (except in '11 because it fell the weekend before my running the Boston Marathon) as a testament to my weight loss.

I knew I wasn't going to be 100% but if I could stand, I had to run this race. So, I got up on Sunday, headed over and got ready to run...I had run a 20:52 on the course last year and was trying to do that math to see what pace I'd need to beat that. A few times quickly scrawled on my hands and it was time to line up. Oh ya, did I mention that it was 71 degrees at the 2pm start? It was hot! A welcome change considering the weather of late but it was a new thing to encounter on race day. I got there my customary hour early, got a great parking spot which gave me plenty of time to go get my number and registration stuff...and get antsy. Did I feel good? Could I get a PR? Did I remember the course right? Where are the bathrooms?!

I seeded myself toward the back in an attempt to keep my first mile pace down and see how I felt after. The fire truck siren goes off (the race is in memory of firefighters), I look down at my range and try to hold a 6:20 pace. I hit the first mile on a 6:20 exactly and felt pretty good as the course flattened out. It dawned on me that my Polar RC3 GPS (as do all GPSs it seems) figures the course longer than mapped out. Realizing there was no marked mile marker or time board at the mile mark for reference, I'd need to try and run around a 6:05 for the rest of the race to hit the time I was looking for. As I went into the 2nd mile and looked at my HR I knew this wasn't going to be a PR kind of day. I was redlined already. That came right as I made the turn onto the hill of the second mile. I was surprised that I was feeling decent as I crested the hill only to see that it was a false flat and there was still more climbing to do (damn I hate hills). Right turn, only one more 'til the finish and that's when I realized my lung function was NOWHERE near where I need it to be. My legs felt great, my lungs felt like lava mud. Guess today won't be a PR afterall so I'll focus on picking off people. Final right turn into the finish...whatever I do have in my lungs, time to get all of it out! I crossed the finish in 20:59, 25th overall (out of 890) and 7th in my age group. I was excited that for the second year in a row I finished in the top 50 which garnered me a race pint glass (small things make me happy). Guess the heat had an effect on everyone else too because it seems everyone was running slow today. Not bad, not great. 17 seconds off last year's race, 31 seconds off my 5k time back in March. Other than my lungs, I felt pretty darn good. Amazing what some rest and healing can do. Now to continue to get better and back to training and racing strong.

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