Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Zippy 5K


Splits: 5:17, 10:50 (5:33)

I had a range of goals heading into this race, ranging from conservative to very aggressive. On the more conservative end I wanted to run under 17:00, which would give me a seeded spot for Bay to Breakers. I knew of course that was a very soft goal and I thought something in the mid 16s would be more realistic. After my last workout, though, I started raising my expectations a bit and even entertained thoughts of running sub 16. And if I was gonna shoot for sub 16 I thought I might as well try to run faster than Schmeck's recent 15:52. In all seriousness, though, it was hard to know what to expect. I've been getting in better shape but I hadn't raced a 5K in ages and the biggest challenge was to get myself into a competitive mindset. After some thought I decided to shoot for a 5:10 opening mile and play it by ear from then on.

The race was at 8:30am and I got myself to Golden Gate Park around 7:15am so I had some time to spare. The weather wasn't great for sitting around, it had been raining overnight and everything around was wet. A few minutes before the start we got some more rain but it more or less died out by the time the gun went off. I was near the front at the start and stayed close to the leaders for the first few hundred meters. I knew of course that I had no business following those guys and I tried to settle to my goal pace. I didn't really have a good sense of pace and I kept trying to evaluate how I felt. I wasn't too excited to see a 5:17 at the mile mark as I wasn't too comfortable and I was hoping that I had perhaps gone out a bit too fast. I made an effort in the second mile to move up a bit and passed a few people but was a bit surprised to see a 5:33 split. It probably makes sense though as the second mile is the slowest of the course. There's a couple of short hills, some turns going around Stow Lake and not all that great footing. I ran this race 3 years ago and back then I had run a 15:34 with 4:50 and 5:10 for my first two splits. I can't really say that one should expect a 15-20 second deviation between the first two miles but I think it's safe to say at least that mile 2 is somewhat slower. I tried to push myself to finish strong but I wasn't really able to switch gears. I was sort of in no mans land, there was a group ahead of me but I wasn't able to gain on them much and I could hear some guy running behind me but I never got to see him either. I had a decent kick at the end and I finished feeling that I had more in the tank. I even went for an 8 mile cool-down afterwards and was feeling rather fresh.

I can't say that I was very pleased with my race although not terribly disappointed either. In the back of my head I was hoping to be close to 16:00 but maybe that was a bit overambitious. There's no doubt that I could have raced better but I can't beat myself up about it. I'm just starting to push myself in workouts and I can't say yet that I've managed to get outside my comfort zone. Even before my surgery I was training for a marathon and running longer races so for a long time I hadn't been in a competitive situation where I needed to be aggressive from the start. It's gonna take a while to get myself race sharp and saying there's quite a bit of rust to be busted would be a huge understatement. So I guess there are some positives to take away from this race; I am getting in better shape and I just need to stay motivated and keep at it.