My spring training has come to a close, and marathon training begins. In order to end spring training with a flourish, and begin marathon training with a fitness test of sorts, I entered the Brian Kraft Memorial 5k at Lake Nokomis. Katie entered the race too, and was looking to see if she could break her PR.
I had 2 goals for this race: to enjoy it, and to break my post-high-school PR of 22'59". As I was preparing for the race, I ended up breaking a number of "running rules". I put "running rules" in quotes because these are more conventional wisdom than anything else.
- Nothing New on Race Day. I broke this one twice. First, I wanted to wear my Speed of Light shirt because I was going to run fast. The second thing is that on my recent journey back home to Detroit, I returned with my old cross country spikes. Without the spikes, they're basically racing flats. They're also quite loud.
- Don't Wear Cotton. The Speed of Light shirt is cotton. In fact, it's double-layered cotton. There would be no sweat wicking going on here.
- Stretch Before Running. I've stopped stretching before races. I think it removes some of the springiness of my muscles, so it slows me down. I do a warm-up jog and some strides, but no full stretching routine.
The race was a loop of Lake Nokomis, plus a little bit. The starting line was about ¼ mile clockwise from the starting line (we would run anti-clockwise, if that makes sense). Knowing this was a fast field, I started a little further back than I otherwise would have. I was maybe 15 feet behind the starting line.
People were chatting up a storm, so I never heard them start the race. Everyone started moving, and I realized that I started too far back in the back. Most of the people around me were out for a casual stroll, so I had to quickly weave through the throng of people and eventually resorted to running on the outside of the curve to pass people. This may have been helpful, though, as it kept me from starting too fast. About ½ mile into the race, the crowd thinned out enough where I could take control of my race. Hitting the first mile marker, I recorded 7'19". Pretty good.
I don't know if it's because I'm an engineer, or that I don't like the "herd mentality", but when I race, I always pick the shortest path. If it's a right turn, I stay right. If it's a left turn, I stay left. If the course is winding, I pick the path that goes down the middle and is the shortest. In this race, most people didn't do this. 90% of the runners stayed to the left side of the road no matter which way we were turning. I was puzzled by this, but took full advantage of their longer paths and made sure to always run the short paths. I picked up the pace on this mile, and recorded 7'08". Even better.
Mile 3 and 0.1
I picked it up again with a mile to go. One thing I noticed is that from the point where the crowd thinned out about ½ mile into the race, no one passed me (or, if they did, I passed them back). So, I ran 2.5 miles with an increasing pace and never got passed. That tells me that I didn't go out too fast, and was able to push myself quite a bit. With about 0.2 miles to go, I started kicking and passed more people. One woman heard me coming up behind her, and she started her kick. She had a strong kick, but with about 15 meters to go, we were neck-and-neck. At that point, she veered to the side right in front of me! I had to let up a bit, and she ended up beating me by about half a second.
Let me say this: I have no issues whatsoever being beat by a woman. I am not the kind of runner who can't stand being beaten by a woman. I've been beaten and passed by many women, and will continue to be. What I have issues with is a person purposely cutting right in front me almost causing me to trip over them.
So, what was my time? 22'06" It beats my PHS-PR! That's a 7'06" per mile pace. My pace for the Falls Du 3 mile run was 7'13", so I'm getting faster. I'd say this was a good start to my marathon plan.
After finishing, I walked back along the course to watch for Katie. She was trying to beat her PR of 28'30". I saw her coming, and looked at the clock, and knew she could do it. She finished nice and strong with a time of about 28'10", so she PR-ed too! Great job Katie!
Us after the race
So, how did it go with breaking the rules? Well, wearing cotton wasn't too bad. I got a little sweaty, but the weather wasn't too warm and the race was short enough that it didn't cause major problems.
My shoes, however, are a different story. They felt great to run in—nice and light. But, after the race, I remembered something I always had to do in HS with these shoes—put band-aids on the back of my heels. Yup, I got some nasty blisters from the shoes. I had to take them off after the race, and just went barefoot. Here's the carnage:
The other foot is just as bad
So, I'll need to treat my feet nicely for the next week or so. And maybe I won't wear shoes.