Pillbox Pharmacies 5K Pursuit Race Report: The Return of the Bling

Today, I ran the Pillbox Pharmacies 5K Pursuit.  Last year, I ran this race and placed 1st in my AG.  This year, with the asthma out of control for the past 3.5 weeks and with last week's race's asthma attack, I knew I would be lucky if I placed at all.  It's a hot and humid race every year and I know my chest is not even close to the 25:41 time I had last year on the same course.

This was not a PR race (let's start there), but only a measure of how the asthma is today after 3.5 weeks of attacks and whether my new racing strategy works.  I gotta say that, although my time was the worst post-asthma time of all my post-asthma 5Ks, my goals of trying my new strategy and not having an asthma attack were both accomplished.  This is important, as I asthma attacks on Sunday and Tuesday, while I ran, so not having one during another race was a plus.

As you remember, I ran a race last week and started close to 8:50mm.  By Mile 3 I was having an asthma attack.  Today, I ran a similar pace but contrary to last week, I ran strong and got no asthma attack whatsoever.  Not even a hint.

The race has a boring course, as typical of South Florida races.  It started at a mall in Pembroke Pines, got out to a highway and back.  It's flat and when I say flat, I mean it.  I LOL every time one of you says "the course was flat".  I don't think your flats = Miami flats.  This is how a flat race looks like (we don't have many of them notwithstanding what you believe).

So, the weather was not hot but humid.  74F at the start with 100% humidity.  Yes, 100% humidity; there was even fog on the ground and it took me forever to get there because the visibility all over was at 5 feet.  Only 71 dewpoint but it felt much higher.

I have had a tough 3 weeks.  I have not been able to do many speedwork sessions because of the asthma.  But, I got an idea from another runner with asthma to do a longer warmup than usual to get the chest ready for fast running.  So, instead of my usual 1 mile plus strides, I did 3 miles, including the strides, before using albuterol and getting ready for the race.  By Mile 0.50 of my warmup I was soaked.

This was my third speedwork session of the week, so I knew going in that my legs were tired, sore from the PT exercises for my rotated sacrum, and overall, it had been a tough week.  I did no taper and that's how I wanted it.  This, like I said, was not to be a goal race.

I did have two goals apart from the asthma ones: I wanted to get at sub-27 and I wanted to place in my AG.  Although some forumites (Rich, ahem, Robin, and others) have warned me not to get hung up on the 27, I needed a goal for my races or otherwise, I would just cruise and finish at easy pace.  I ran a 25:59 two months ago, so I felt 26 something would give me enough space for the chest to breathe.

And off we went.  I decided to turn the Garmin to clock and not even look at my time or pace or HR.  As you can see above, the HR remained pretty much consistent.  If I show you the one from last week, it looks like an EKG.  I suspect the longer warmup helped the asthma not flare up and I should be using it for short races from now on.  Possibly increasing it to 4 miles if I have time.

Unfortunately, since I was running by feel and not looking at the Garmin, I started too conservative and did not notice that the Garmin was showing a longer course.  I know Garmins are not necessarily correct and this was not a certified course, so the truth is somewhere in between.  The point is that I should have noticed I was pacing at a 27:XX and did not correct it until the last 0.10 and missed the chance.  Garmin said distance was 3.18.

Mile 1 - 8:51
Mile 2 - 8:54
Mile 3 - 8:55
0.10 - 7:53

I went to check the standings, having won my AG last year, and was surprised I got 2nd in my AG.  Here's a pic of us with our bling:

Although this is not even close to my post asthma PR, and very far from my pre-asthma PR, I am very happy of my performance today.  I know my asthma numbers may have even gone down (from how I feel and how I've been performing at races), and I expect my next spirometry to show that. But apart from my real 5K PR last July, this is the only other race I've run equal paces throughout, felt strong throughout the run, and end up well.

So I'm going to continue training for my 5K/10K goal races later this Summer and see what happens.  I already decided not to compare myself with last year's PR as they seem so far away now as I struggle every week to breathe and run, run and breathe.  Oh, and in my case, the more races I run, the better.  It will give me a chance to check how the asthma is doing and whether the strategy is working.  So, I should run another one in the next two weeks.

So, for now, I train the legs.  When the chest is ready, the legs will fly.

Thanks for reading.


  1. You win at flat. :-)

    Congrats on the bling!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Carmel Marathon (PW and a Two Year Comeback in the Making)

Winter Trail Frosty (WTF) Quarter Marathon RR

Chase the Checkers, Kiss the Bricks Half Marathon RR