It eludes me. While I admit that I have never focused on developing it, by this time I would have hoped I was a little faster. I hoped that as I matured as a runner, my pace would just naturally get faster. That hasn't panned out. As I close in on 4 years of running, progress in this department has been, like my pace, very slow.
Case in point: the 5K, and the fact that my fastest time in this particular discipline is from 2013. The 37:43 I managed to pull off in the Alliance 5K -which is the hardest 5K I've run. Ever.- keeps staring at me from my computer every time I log into Garmin Connect. Almost teasing me.
Then, there's this race. My first ever back in 2012. This is the 4th time I step on the line for this one and I love to hate it and hate to love it. It's deceptively simple: You go up one avenue then go back down another. It's flat and potentially very fast but I have never managed a PR here even though the conditions for it, on paper, look perfect for exactly that. My best time here? 39:22. Clearly, something had to be done.
|The view from the back|
Well, we were about to find out.
Bear in mind, I didn't train for this. I have just been running like I always do in preparation for the Goofy Challenge: Running during the week then using the Galloway Method on my weekend long runs. I was going to be treading new paths for this one. I know you are not supposed to try new things while racing but given my current level, I thought the risk was pretty low, plus I mentally prepared myself that if something did go wrong, nothing was really lost. After all, my eyes are on the real prize: The Goofy medal. The 5K PR could come later. With this in mind, I developed a very simple strategy: Run like zombies are after me, then hope the walk interval will be enough time to recharge for the next run interval. That's it.
I met up with my now traditional running posse for this race. Gilbert walked the race with his wife and kid and his sister Cristie joined us as well. Frankie "The Jet" Ramos sat this one out. Apparently, after running a sub-5 hour marathon, this sort of stuff is now beneath him. (Hi Frankie!) This year they had corrals (Yay!) and sure enough I got sent to the last one. I ended up almost in the very back of the pack but I wasn't worried. I was the dead last person out of the Philly Half and look how that turned out.
|The beautiful Ramos family and little Ramos' first 5K|
|The thrill of victory (...and exhaustion)|
Final time, 36:24 - A shiny new PR and a 2 minute improvement from last year.
It's funny. When I started running, I thought that to be a "normal" or "regular" runner you had to do a 5K somewhere in the mid 30's. I don't know how I arrived at that number. I can't even tell you what I meant by "normal runner" but here I am, squarely in the mid 30's and I don't feel any different so there you go. It's not like I'm thinking I gotta reach some crazy number. However, I do feel that with some practice, I could maintain that 1st mile pace throughout the entire race. That would be cool.