Monday, May 27, 2013

The 8th Annual Holliston 5k...back at it again

It seems that this year is finding me running races I haven't run in a few years. The 8th Annual Holliston 5k is just such a race. I ran it back in '09 when I began my "journey" from sit on the couch fat kid to fluffy guy who races a lot. I know the course pretty well considering I run and drive it pretty often and really have no idea how I've passed it up the last few years considering its about 15 minutes from my house. Gotta love a race you can roll out of bed, eat breakfast and be on the start line in under an hour.

Don't fail me now...
Contrary to the sun and heat I had at last week's was cold and windy for the 5k. Like so cold that the long sleeved compression shirt under my Saucony shirt and shorts weren't enough to stay warm. I was thinking that gloves and tights might've been a better way to go. Of course this would be the ONE time I don't pack my "be prepared for any type of weather" race bag. So...guess the only thing to do was go get in a warm up run to knock off the cold. The run may have warmed up my legs but did little to warm up my core. Hopefully when the gun goes off I'll have other things to think about.

The race wasn't chip timed so my normal thought of getting to the back and making my through the pack as a way to force myself to not burn out in the first mile was shot. Best thing for me to do now was get near the front and work to hang onto the leaders at the start. The gun goes and we're off. Why oh why do slow people feel the need to stand at the front of the pack during a race?! The first quarter mile was spent weaving around and through slower runners to get up to the front. Yes, I know I could get on the start line and lean forward with the fast guys...but that's normally reserved for the 5 minute milers and I know better than to be "that guy" (the fat guy standing up with the gazelles) on the start line so I seed myself a couple rows back.

Once I got to the front there were 15 or 20 of us. I know at the half mile mark there's a right hand turn up a hill and I wanted to be in a good enough position to lean in and attack the hill. The hill came...and so did the wind! It was blowing hard enough that it actually stopped my forward progression. Why can I NEVER get that kind of wind at my back during a race?!?! The only thing to do was dig in and focus on catching the guy in front of me.

Best shirt ever!
I ticked off the first mile on a 6:21. Not bad, not great. The only good thing was it seemed the hill and wind looked to be taking it out of the other runners as well. On a 6:21, I could still see the lead group. Left hand turn and at around the 1 1/2 mile mark...another hill. Oh how I miss the flatlands of the South! The wind just kept blowing too. Focus on catching another runner and keep going. Another left hand turn, the 2 mile marker and I realize its a steady climb home. Ok, guy in the distance...lean in and catch him before the top of the hill. I was about a quarter mile to the finish from the top of the hill so I thought if I could get passed him I could focus on kicking out what I had left for the finish. I catch the guy, hit the top of the hill and see one guy making the turn into the finish about 400 meters ahead of me. Damnit, I've run out of room to catch folks for overall spots so the only option was to kick with what's left in the tank for the finish.

I could see the finish clock and I was under 20 minutes. Run! I crossed the line in 20:08. Not what I wanted at all. I ran the 3 mile opening leg of last weekend's duathlon in 18:30 so I thought for sure this race would be in the low 19's. I took solace in the fact that the winner ran it in 17:20, where normally a 5k win time would be in the high 14's or low 15's. I guess the wind and hills really did effect everyone else too. I ended up taking 9th overall and 4th in my age group. No podium but a solid effort throughout the race and I took 2:17 off my PR for that course. I seem to be making gains in my runs and feel as if I'm "racing into shape" turning in better times early in the season compared to the last couple years. Lets see how all this adds up for my Syracuse 70.3 in a few shorts weeks...

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