Sunday, February 5, 2012
Super 5k recap Pt. 1- Super, thanks for asking!
This morning I ran my first race of the year, the Super 5k in Novi. While this is race has been going on for several years, this is the first time I've been running in the winter and therefore the first time I participated.
Knowing that this was a "big" race, with over 1800 participants, I picked up my race bib and shirt (a nice but thin, long sleeve Mizuno wicking shirt) on Saturday. We decided to drive part of the course to preview what was ahead. It had a couple hills I wasn't expecting on 11 Mile Road, so I was glad that we checked things out. I went to bed early Saturday night and got a decent night's sleep. Because I didn't need to stand in line, I was able to show up about 30 - 40 minutes before race time.
I did a very short warmup and made some clothing decisions based on the weather (about 30F and sunny). Added a thin long sleeve, ditched the gloves and jacket, went with the headband. About 10 minutes prior, I made my way to the starting line where I lined up at the end of the chute with a group that looked to be at a similar speed as me. We waited as we tried to listen to the announcer (this seems to be a weakness at nearly every race - WE CAN'T HEAR YOU!) and since people started moving, we assumed that the race was on.
It was a little crowded at first and, as usual, you need to dodge people who can't keep pace at the start of a race. There is no problem with being less than speedy at all, but people who run 12 minute miles shouldn't be up with the 6 minute milers. It seems like you need to spend extra energy dodging the slower traffic so you don't get behind them and possibly fall into their pace.
The race seemed to go by pretty fast. The first mile was a blur, but I was right at the pace I wanted to be at. We headed forward to the hilly portion of the route where we saw the leaders of the race pass going the opposite direction. I was hoping to be close to the turnaround but it would be about a half mile before reaching it. (Those guys were pretty fast. Some of the runners near me were shouting encouragement to the leaders, but I would do no such thing. I'll give a nod or thumbs up if appropriate, but I'm still competing and have no interest in being a cheerleader during a race. Those guys near the front of the race weren't cheering anyone on, they had business to take care of.) We reached the turnaround and, perhaps for the first time ever, I had zero interest in getting a drink.
Going back, the hills felt a little more substantial and I apparently slowed a little. My Garmin beeps every half mile with a "lap time" and from 2 - 2.5 miles, I was up over an 8 min/mi pace. I thought I picked it up a bit, but the next half mile was almost identical as we approached the finish. I definitely picked it up making the final turn to the finish and I new I was very close to my 24 minute goal. I crossed the finish, grabbed my "finisher's glass" (shown above filled with chocolate milk now, beer later) and kinda stumbled to my car, wondering if I hit my goal. The worst thing about running in the cold is sucking in all that cold air which leaves your airway numb.
Got some good food inside after the race and waited for the results. For some reason, they can only print one copy of results that almost everyone wants to see, so there was a cluster of people trying to check it out. I saw where I thought I finished and squinted for several minutes until I found my result - 24:03.9. It seems like I'm always off by a couple seconds! I was satisfied with how I ran and set a PR by over 30 seconds. Can't ask for much more for the first race of the year in the winter! Erika of "This Spartan Will" was there, though I didn't get to meet her. Congrats on her 2nd place finish in her age group, which I might have gotten to hear if the PA was loud enough (WE STILL CAN'T HEAR YOU).
Next post will cover some things I learned during this race (one of the good things about races is that they almost always indicate something about how you trained, how you warmed up, what you ate, so that you can improve for the next time). Have fun watching the game!