After the sauna intervals on Wednesday, used the car on Thursday to escape the heat and get in some long slow distance. Drove north of Baltimore to the North Central Railroad Trail – I had run a marathon on it several years ago and remembered that it was close and a decent path. It didn’t disappoint – flat, smooth, and entirely under canopy. Did 8.75 miles out and back, slow and easy. Think the time was around 1:02, legs felt pretty good throughout.
Got home Friday morning, took a little nap then to the HydroWorx pool for some more recovery miles. One hour, again nice and easy. Used the massage hose afterwards for kicks and grins – no real tender spots but figured that hitting the legs couldn’t hurt.
I had been told about a race in Harrisburg on Saturday, looked at my training schedule saw I was due for a tempo run. The gears got turning – there was a little purse for the 5k, and I did need to do 3-4 miles hard, so why not try to make a couple bucks while knocking out my workout? A plan was formulated – it turned to be called the Colon Cancer Prevention 5k – $100/$75/$50 for the top 3, $50 for the masters winner. This isn’t exactly Eugene or Mammoth Lakes, so I figured I had a decent chance of placing in the money and at least making back my entry fee. I wasn’t planning on laying it all on the line, but instead running around 17:00-17:15 and hitting my tempo marks. Got up and out there early to get in an extended workout in an attempt to simulate a tempo run where I would run 2 miles easy, 3-4 hard, then 2 easy for cooldown. Got in 2+ beforehand, donned the flats and got to the line.
As expected I didn’t see a whole bunch of ‘players’ at the line, so at the gun I got out and tried to get everyone to follow me on about a 5:30 pace +/-. I ‘forced my will’ on them for about a quarter mile, then 2 guys passed me. I really wish I had the ability to say “not today boys, I am doing a tempo run and the plan does not call for 5:15 through the first mile.” No chance. Plan B was immediately put into affect – linger behind the pack and just see what happened. 5:19 at the mile, was in an easy rhythm and feeling fine. We were joined at that point by the typical high school racer – Nike Shox, t-shirt with the sleeves cut off and arm holes expanded down to the waistband of his basketball shorts, iTouch secured on the upper bicep. Not overly concerned with this latest addition, remembered being that guy when I was 18. Pack still together at 2 miles, 5:21/10:40. Still a bit faster than I had hoped, but again I was still not feeling the affects of the pace at all. “Pipes” dropped off at that point, then #2 passed #1 as we all passed the lead motorcycle who apparently needed a little more “pace car” training. Only in Harrisburg….
At about the 2.5 mile mark #2 fell off, now just me and #1. Can’t say that I wasn’t starting to feel it at this point, but apparently not as much as #1 was. I could feel the pace slowing just a hair, so I pulled alongside and then ahead slightly. Thought I could slow it down again and set him up to just win at the end, but then Plan C came to mind – the surge. I put a little move on him, and sure enough 2 meters become 20. Ahhhhhhh. Spent the last quarter mile or so taking peek after peek to make sure that there were no shenanigans going on back there, cruised in for the win. Boooyah! 2+ mile cool down, workout complete with a win (and check) in the bag.
16:30 – not bad at all for me. Not a big 5k guy, can’t really say with any certainty what my PR even is but I would guess around 16:15. Felt good that this time came so easily – maybe I am in shape or maybe it was just being relaxed going in and though the first mile+. Garmin said 5:19 – 5:21 – 5:11. So much for the tempo, but barring any setback tomorrow leg-wise I can’t say I regret it. Taking home a cool $100 is never a regrettable experience either, so mark it down as a win-win win….
Traveling to Memphis tomorrow for my semi-annual simulator training, think a day-off is in order. Three weeks until Heyward Field and the USA meet 1500m, probably race again next weekend then take the weekend prior off. Have two events in mind – a road mile or a track 800m – we’ll see how the training is going and more importantly how the weekend schedule shapes up. I feel pretty good about where I stand conditioning-wise right now, and with my work schedule about to lighten up I should be able to get in my workouts on my terms. Operation Final Push about to begin – just need to hold it together for 6 more weeks, then I can blow my race winnings at McDonalds, killing the ice cream machine…..