I ended up not doing the pride 5k race last weekend. It was forecasting wet and windy weather so wasn't sure I wanted to do that. Instead decided to do the Rebecca Run 5k which was yesterday. I've done this race before and it's my PR race from back in 2008. Going into this I really tried to taper and probably overkilled. I did 8 miles which included 5x800m on Tuesday at 4min/km pace and then rested for the rest of the week. I was hoping to try for the sub-20 thing, or at the very least to best my PR.
Race takes place up in Newmarket. I ended up signing up in person at the last minute. It was a bit steep for a 5k at $60 (even last minute), but it goes to a good cause which is supporting Spinal Muscular Atrophy research. I probably wouldn't pay that to a for-profit race, but this I don't mind. Race kit wasn't too great. My previous time, it was well packed. This year, it was only a shirt and an Esso 5c/L gift card discount for 100L of fuel.
I arrived with only about 30 minutes to race start and downed a gel and some water with about 20 minutes to go. Proceed to try and do the warm-up with the HR spiking as usual which it did and then tried to get it to calm down. Then with about 5 minutes to go, downed a half bottle of water and then headed into the corrals. They had corrals setup and the first corral was sub 21 minutes which I was in. I didn't want to start right at the start, but with the narrow paths, I did want some room to maneovour if I needed it. I was probably 2nd or 3rd row back. The course this year was different than in previous year due to construction. Before, it was a mix of pavement, boardwalk, crushed gravel and a tour of the little park area. This year was a straight out and back on pavement.
So the race starts and I start to go out as usual nice and controlled trying to get a feel for the pace. I was targeting around 6:25 min/mile pace (4min/km). Breathing seems in check and everyone seems to be going the right pace. I glanced down at my watch and notice my "lap pace" is in the 6:05 min/mile range which I thought couldn't be right so I continued to chug along. I missed the first km marker, but looking back at my GPS data, it would have reported about 3:50 which is 6:10min/mile pace which was way too fast. My watch beeps at the 1 mile mark and it reports a 6:07 first mile which I still thought couldn't be correct so I continue on. About the 6:50 mark, the HR starts spiking. I think I was trying to adjust my breathing rate and I could just feel it take off. I decide to see how far I can go before I start feeling the effects. I pull up to the 2 km mark and hit the lap button and see a split of 7:40. F?ck. Waaaay too faast. This was 6:10 min/mile pace over 2 km. At this point, I'm feeling that I'm already starting to fade but I guess that I've banked about 20 seconds so I figure I can slow down a bit to recover over the next km including the turnaround and maybe I can salvage the race. The third km hits at 4:17 which puts me just about on 20 min 5k pace, but I couldn't switch gears and ramp the speed back up. A couple of times during km 4, I start to think how easy it would be do just walk it in, but I try to push through. 4km is in 4:18 and the 5km was in 4:21 which included a sprint towards the end. I had kinda given up during the 5th km and there were a couple of times, I ease off the throttle, only to try and increase it again when I realize that it's only a couple more minutes of running, but still the last km was the slowest of the race at 4:21 (7min/mile).
2km: 7:40 (3:50 min/km pace)
Polar stats and route
The HR took off at the 6:45 mark and held that way for most of the race. It ended up resetting by itself with about a minute to go in the race. Max HR (during the non spiking part) was 187 right at the end.
So finish time of 20:37. Finished 13th overall and 4th in my age group. Course seems measured right and the marker distances seemed okay. 16 seconds off my PR so not as close as I would liked. Really started to fade after the turnaround, but think that was mostly do to the 2 km of running at a pace much faster than I would have liked. I'm sure the HR spiking had something to do with it also. Looking back at the race, I probably should have tried to start out at a perceived 10k pace which based on my effort two weeks ago would have put me at about 6:30min/mile pace which would have hopefully made the race less of a struggle towards the end. Also, I probably should have trusted the GPS lap pace measurement earlier on which would have allowed me slow down sooner. I'm still not sure I trust the polar GPS measurement so it's hard to rely on the pace it's reporting, but I guess I have to rely on something. The missed 1 k marker was my fault since it was clearly there because I saw it at the 4k mark (out and back course). I probably should have hit the lap button around the 4 minute mark to reset the lap pace cycle which would have allowed me to realize that I was going too fast sooner.
I really like the race and the new route. The out and back worked and there didn't seem to be to be any problems with congestion. There was the odd pedestrian on the path. I don't think there were any cyclists, as that could have been a problem but here were signs warning people that there was something going on. There was an aid station just after the 1k mark which is also at the 4k mark on the way back. They have hotdogs afterwards as well as fruit, chips, cookies, cottage cheese and chocolate milk so quite the food spread was put on. Temperature wasn't too bad at about 17C, no wind and there were a few clouds so the sun wasn't too much of a problem.
|Orderly Finish Line and Organization|
I stuck around a bit after to read the stories about the children effected by SMA. Every year they have a different honoree and they have a little write up, usually from the perspective of the parents, of how it's affected them. It's heartbreaking to read some of these stories especially when you read that a newborn only lived for less than a year. You can read some of their stories here.
The race was near a community centre where they had a bit of a farmer's market. I stuck around a bit longer than I had planned because they had this 11 year old kid who was on stage performing. He was pretty impressive. He played the piano and guitar and he sang. Here a video of him doing some Billy Joel.
I'm not sure I will attempt another 5k until the fall. I really would have liked to see how I would have done if I hadn't started out so fast. Next time, I think I'll just trust the GPS and run at exactly 6:26 min/mile pace and then just try to hold it till the end. I can't seem to figure out pacing in 5k's myself and I don't do enough of them or interval training to really get a handle on the effort level. I might try to do a time trial around a track at some point but it's hard to do those on ones own so it helps to have others to run with. There doesn't seem to be anything good in the summer, so it looks like it'll have to wait until fall.