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Posts Tagged ‘green lake’

As soon as I decided to do the New Orleans half, I decided I was going to incorporate races into my training.  I could make up some reason about how I think it's important to have race day practice and running something like a 10K would help me relearn how to maintain a controlled pace in a crowd and all that, but really?  It's because I think racing is fun, so why not?  I picked this one because, well, it was on a Sunday (my Saturdays are currently occupied by a volunteering commitment) and it was during a weekend that I'd be in town.  Winner!

It was a 5K race around Seattle's Green Lake.  There's a running path that circles the lake and is about 2.8 miles around – to make up the extra .3 miles we did a little out and back past some basketball courts around mile 2.  I've never run on the path but I've heard good things about it and I can now confirm: it's a lovely little path to run on.  Probably even more so when it's not being taken over by 800 racers.  Considering this was the first year they ran this race and the weather was crappy, I think they had a pretty excellent turn out.  Any more people and it would have been far too crowded at the start.

My goal for the race was to run it faster than the Seafair 5K I ran in July, and I figured I could do that if I held a 9:30 pace.  That sounded totally reasonable, so I went for it.  Despite the crowds, I hit the first mile marker in 9:25.  Perfect, right on target.  I continued hauling my butt around the lake and hit mile 2 with a split time of 9:16.  Awesome.  On target for my goal with a bit of breathing room.  I was working hard, but felt pretty good.  I was definitely in a place were I felt like I could keep it going for another mile or so.

If I had a complaint about the race, it would be this: there was no water station.  Almost every other 5K I've run has had a water stop somewhere around the halfway point (in fact, I can't remember the last one that didn't have a water stop there).  Sometimes it's closer to the two mile point, but it's there.  Now, I'm not faulting them for not having one – it was a 3 mile race in 40 degree weather.  No one was about to die of dehydration or heat stroke or anything.  Heck, I'm not entirely sure I would have wanted the water had it been available.  However, I discovered today that the water stop is an important part of my 5K race strategy.  Even if I don't take any water, it gives me an excuse to walk for a few seconds and mentally refocus myself.  I can adjust the pace if I've gone out too fast and hit the second half of the race with a fresh start.

About a half mile from the end, I found myself needing that fresh start.  I knew we were closing in on the end, and for that reason I resisted it for as long as I could, but the fact was I was going a bit faster than I really wanted to and I needed to reset myself.  So, even though I felt like a giant lame-o, I stopped and walked the next 100 feet or so.  Happily, that was all I needed.  I picked the pace right back up, felt much better, and hit a mile 3 split of 9:25.  (Which, if that's the split I had even with the walk break?  Well, that explains why I needed the walk break – clearly I was going a bit too fast.)

As I passed the mile 3 marker, I noticed a middle-aged guy on my left shoulder.  I was planning on giving that last tenth of a mile all I had, but I decided right then and there that I wasn't going to let this guy beat me.  I was going to win this one, because some dude with a bit of a belly was not going to get the best of me.  Unfortunately, it seemed that he had also decided he wasn't going to let himself get beat by a girl because as I picked up the pace, he was right there with me.  He even got a bit ahead of me for a bit.  That's when I gave it all I had.  I felt woozy and dizzy and sort of wanted to throw up, but the finish line was in sight and I was not about to let him cross it first.  We both got passed by a ton of kids who'd barely jogged most of the race given how fast they were plowing through the finish line, but neither of us cared.  We weren't going to let the other one win.

I crossed the finish line ahead of him, but just barely.  I have no idea who he is, but I'd like to thank him since I'm pretty sure I finished about 10 seconds faster than I would have otherwise.  I meant to tell him something along the lines of "nice finish" as we worked our way through the finishing chute, but by the time my lungs were safely back in my chest he was long gone.

My finishing time was 29:01, which was a full 40 seconds faster than the race I ran in July.  Considering that up until a month before the race I was only running sporadically, I'm pretty happy with that improvement.  The best part of the race, though?  Cupcakes at the finish!  One of the local bakeries had a little booth with bite-sized cupcakes, so I grabbed one on my way back to the car.  Definitely a nice way to end it.

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