Monday, March 26, 2012

Hobby Jogging: 3/25/12 - Raleigh, NC - Second Empire 5k Classic

51 weeks. That's how long it had been since my last road 5k. I gutted through that one to cap off a podium finish in the 2011 Second Empire Grand Prix, but despite having a very low mileage year, I'm still suffering from the same things that I was a year ago. Hamstrings, shins, piriformis, plantar fasciitis, etc. It's all been a drag and still continues to hinder my runs, yet I soldier on.

Looking decent early
The main reason for hopping into this race while not really being fit, is just to get a race in. After having to bow out of Boston last year due to injury, I've made the goal to get to the starting line this year. While my longest run has been 16 miles (and that was a few months ago, before my shins really started hurting again), and I'm ten pounds heavier than I was a year ago, I plan on running Boston. It may be slow, but I'm doing it.

So back to the race... I first ran the Second Empire 5k Classic back in 2006, when I was out of shape and would get in runs when I could. It was pretty embarrassing and humbling as I "ran" 22:25. This year was pretty embarrassing as well, yet not to that degree. Earlier this spring, before I had some severe shin issues and had to take 10 days off, I was knocking out some decent workouts. 8 miler steady states at 6:35 pace, 4 mile tempos at 6:07 pace, long progression runs ending with multiple miles under 6:20. Good stuff. But the fastest tempo I had done was 4k in 14:59. That in mind, I was hoping to stretch that pace out for 5k.

Struggling home late
The Second Empire course isn't really difficult, but it's not easy either. The first mile is essentially the same course as the Mag Mile, starting at Second Empire and running around the Capitol and back. This is where it gets a little tough. It's a long slow hike up Hillsborough Street to the second round of roundabouts that are across from the bell tower. The wind was whipping pretty good on this particular day (as my second mile was a slow one). I got out decent enough at the start before being flat out cut off about a half mile in by a masters runner who decided to surge in front of 3 people on a 90 degree turn and then throw the brakes on. Oh well, the five and a half hours of single track running I did last week had me used to stop and go. I tried to keep it very much like a tempo run, under control and quick. I think I did so for the most part. I didn't get going too quick on the first mile and hit 5:50 or so. The second mile, as mentioned above, was far tougher, and although I didn't lose much ground, I still ran a 6:20 or so for the uphill mile into the wind to hit 12:10 with 1.1 to go. I kind of joked that I hoped to break 19 at the starting line, but that really was the case. I tried to push it a little bit back towards the finish and knew I'd have a true gauge when I saw the 1/2 mile left sign. I hit that at 15:57 and didn't feel great. I needed a 3:02 to break 19 and I answered the call with a 2:55 to finish in 18:52. This time last year, I was about a minute faster, but this was a decent rust buster. Makes me want to do one more this weekend before Boston in three weeks, just to get "that feeling."

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