Baptist Tour of the Gables 5K Race Report

Today, I ran the Baptist Tour of the Gables 5K in Coral Gables, FL.  This is the second time I have done this event and it's always a tough race due to the fact that it's in May and in the 80s.  I planned on using this as a measure of my current ability to use the paces for marathon training.  Although I ran strong, very well, and asthma free (well, more on that later), my time does not reflect what I am capable of doing, as more explained below.  Still, any asthma free races where I give it my all and run all out is a good experience.

For this race, I did no taper whatsoever, except I did an extra SRD yesterday due mainly to life rather than needing it.  I did a new pre-race vegetarian recipe and even ran in new racers, neutrals at that (I usually wear stability but I have been switching to neutrals and the switch has been going well).  I am in love with the Mizuno Ronins.  The plan was to treat it as an all out race with no expectations and to run as close to 100% without an asthma attack.

After my race last week, I was scared.  I trained for 11 weeks and then I got an asthma attack by Mile 2.  Then another one at Mile 4.  I never actually got into the rhythm and the attacks made the race a bad one.  It is ironic that I ran this 5K at the pace that gave me an attack during last week's 10K race.  Asthma is weird and I have not been able to know when an attack might happen.

Anyway, training this week went really well, including a strong 11 miler on Tuesday and a faster run on Thursday.  Overall, I felt prepared for what I wanted to accomplish.  The other thing I did not like was the weather.  It rained all week and I was counting on that (shadeless course and sun with 80+F is not good).  But, it was not meant to me.

Weather
Temp: 79F
Humidity: 93%
Dewpoint: 72
Sunny (some clouds at the end)

Race
Anywho, I got to Coral Gables at 6:20am, picked my packet, got back to the car, ate some breakfast, had my coffee, and used my rescue inhaler.  I tried to do a 3 mile warmup but the weather was so yucky I was slow so I ended up with 2.50 and by then my clothes were soaked.  My top was white and I gotta say that it was transparent by then (good thing it had those cup covers or I would have garnered too much attention, LOL).  At the suggestion of Jenny and of a friend of mine from the NYCM forum (Kathy), I did an extra puff of the rescue inhaler after the warmup minutes before the start.  I think this prevented the asthma attack, so thanks, girls.  Race started at 7:30am sharp (too late IMO).

Mile 1: I started with the thought of not going faster than 8:50mm, 8:40mm if I felt really good.  I saw my pace started in the 8:20s, so, I slowed down and checked my HR: 195!  Yikes, this is what happens prior to an asthma attacks, so I slowed down.  I finished this mile strong (even though I started faster than I wanted to).  Pace: 8:48.

Mile 2: This is where it usually happens.  Either after Mile 1.25 or 1.85, an asthma attack has occurred in 3 of the 4 short distance races I've done in the last two months.  So, unconsciously, I slowed down a bit, but I was still running close to my max.  Very close, IMO.  HR was at 172, which is good for me.  Pace: 8:59.

Mile 3: Here comes the best part.  As I was finishing Mile 2, I started passing people.  Groups of people.  I passed around 50 people between now and the finish line (I tried counting).  Lots of people were walking at this point (I used to be one of them).  This is where I usually feel very bad during the last few races.  As soon as I passed the Mile 2 mark, I said, let her rip and ran.  I ended up running at the same pace as Mile 1 but felt tons better (passing people kind of helped).  I kept talking to my chest: You are NOT going to have an attack.  The chest said: Yes I am!  No! I only have one puff left on the inhaler, don't you dare.  So, I kept running and thinking breathe, breathe, breathe.  HR: 177.  Pace: 8:48.

As I head into the chute, I keep passing people and for some reason I thought I was going to miss a course PR (I thought it was 27:30) but looking at the clock I knew I could beat it so I came in at 27:28.

As soon as I crossed the mat, it came.  I had to take the inhaler out and use it.  But by then, it was over.  Yay.

I am very happy with my performance.  Although this was supposed to be a gauge of my current fitness, I don't think 27:28 reflects what I can do post asthma.  I ran a 26:38 with an asthma attack and playing Good Samaritan 2 weeks ago.  But I felt strong, I think I finally found a routine that I can use for short races that prevents asthma attacks.  Also, I checked the results.  The winner is a 16 year old whose PR is 16:XX.  He came in at close to 18.  No winner of an AG ran faster than 21.  I came 9th and top 25% of the huge field. So, the weather played a huge part.  72 dewpoint usually gives me asthma attacks.  Not today!

The best part?  When I checked my previous course time, it was 28:30, so I beat my course PR by more than a minute in horrible weather, woot!

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