Thursday morning was race day! We had the Inside-Out Sports Turkey Trot 8k starting off at 9 am. It was nice to not set the alarm and still get up in plenty of time. We got up and out the door, but still got there about 15 minutes before the start. A bit earlier might have helped.
We got our packets and got across the street to join the angry mob of people at the starting line. I was kind of surprised at how big the crowd was there, and eventually made my way as far to the front as I could get. It wasn't as close as I'd like, but it was as good as I could get.
While I was standing in the starting corral, these two girls that are much younger than me (but that's easy to find these days) sneak up in front of me then realize they can't get any further. I realize immediately that I'm going to have to pass them before we actually get to the starting line, as there were about 200 people in front of me. but these two were particularly annoying. They even wanted to get a pic before the start, but they were a bit too late. As someone else was taking their picture the race started and everyone started moving. So of course I had to photobomb their pic and get around them before they figured it out. It worked!
In the first mile, I passed a lot of people. It felt more clustered than I was expecting. Still I looked down at the Garmin and saw that I hit the 1 mile marker in 6:58 = absolutely perfect. I developed a plan at that time to positive split by around 10 seconds each mile so I could allow myself to get slower as the race went on. I could still put up a nice PR by getting in some 7:30 miles. Right after the 1 mile marker some other people started passing me for a change. I could tell they had been holding back a bit and were trying to descend each mile.
I've really gotten into the Zen & the Art of Triathlon podcasts recently, so I've been listening to an archived podcast about every day. During the training log segments, he really pushes the concept of "knowing your zones" by your speaking ability during the training run or race. Ironman bike leg? stay in zone 2. If your heart rate is too high for you to comfortably say "zen and the art of triathlon" without having to rush it or take a breath in the middle of the phrase, you are still in zone 2. I figured for a 5 mile running race I wanted to stay in zone 3, or the "zen triathlon" zone (you can say that without having to rush the phrase). When it really felt like I was breathing heavy, "zentri" in between gasps was all I could say. This is zone 4, and fine for trying to push up a big hill, but then at the top of that hill I knew I had to get my heart rate back down to zone 3 or burn out by the end. I discovered that staying in zone 3 would leave me around a 7:10 to 7:15 pace per mile. Speed up some of the downhills, and don't try to crush the uphills, and this rolling course became pretty consistent.
Using this zone 3 approach, I hit the 5k mark in 22:10, only 12 seconds slower than my 5k PR! Wait a minute, that's not supposed to happen. I should pace slower for a 5 mile race than I would for a 5k. Not put up a faster time than at the 5k race I did just two weeks ago. No way I was going to be able to hold that for the last 2 miles.
The last mile had a lot of hills. The whole course was pretty rolling, but the last mile had consistent longish uphills. With a quarter mile left, there was a pretty steep one. At the top you turn a corner and can see the finish line. Now normally with a quarter mile left most people will start the kick, so managing a big hill isn't fun. I knew it was close so I pushed it a bit anyway. Hit the top, kicked it hard to the finish and crossed the line in 36:18.
Where did that come from? On my training run last week I did 5 miles on the treadmill in 36:57 and it was the first time I'd ever broken 37 minutes. My previous PR was 41:55 from the Washington triathlon back in May. A 5 minute PR in a 5 mile race? that's pretty unheard of. That's a 7:18 pace. I did no walking.
The winner finished in 23:40 for a 4:46 pace. you know, just in case you thought my time was fast. I'm proud, but that's insane. He was the only person to break a 5 minute pace.
129/1146 overall (top 11.2%)
17/82 male 35-39 (needed a 31:26 for an age group award)
Kelley beat her expectations pretty good too. She finished in 51:43 smashing her 1 hour time goal and also setting a 5 minute PR. She did the ache around the lake races in 56 and 58 minutes a few years ago as her only other 5 mile races. It's an unusual distance but one of my favorites.
We gathered ourselves at the finish line and snapped these pictures before getting back into the car and heading for Turkey! It was a beautiful day, got into the mid-60's so it was comfortable to be outside, and we both crushed our race PR's. I'm very thankful for the North Carolina weather, getting to run with my wife, and the duel PR's. Can't ask for anything better.
coming home to a house full of family and great food. Kelley's sister and mom had been cooking the whole time we were at the race site. Now I have been a bad vegan this week, and really didn't feel like I was going to turn out a good race after how poor my eating had been all week long. I keep telling myself I'm just putting on bodyfat so I can burn it off at that long slow ultramarathon where I'm going to be in zone 2 for about 7 hours. But I totally enjoyed a full thanksgiving dinner with no guilt.
I hope your thanksgiving was as full and warm as mine was. Friday I had to work, and Saturday I did the 12 mile taper run all in zone 2. It's the last long run before the ultra next weekend. There have also been some fantastic college football games going on today. Good times all around!