Choose to Move 5K (Old People's PR) RR
On Saturday, I ran the Choose to Move 5K, a race benefitting the Indiana Parkinson Foundation. Although the race has been around for 4-5 years (except for 2020 which was virtual), I had not heard of the race until a week before the race. Ironically, the race course is part of my daily running routes and the same course as the Gobbler's Jog 5K I ran in 2019.
The race was very well organized, with packet pickup the morning of the race only, and with Covid-19 requirements, like masks when no social distance is possible, as well as all outdoor events, packet pickup, etc. The race was chip timed.
My PR for the 5K is 24:02 but those times, I feel, are sadly gone. Between my asthma, my medication-related weight gain, and age, my 5K times have been dismal in the last decade and they have only gotten slower as I do more marathon training. However, since arriving in Indiana, I have been doing more shorter races (first because the weather here is not the surface of the sun and second because after Covid, they were mostly the only distances available to race). After three well-raced 5Ks in Indiana all within the 30:36-30:45 minute range, I felt that I had not raced these to my utmost capacity and I felt that a sub-30 minute 5K was there waiting for a great race day.
The course is a combination of uphills, rolling hills, and flats. Except not all over, but rather a mostly uphill Mile 1, rolling uphills for Mile 2, and a flat Mile 3. Last time I raced this course at the Gobbler's Jog 5K in 2019 and I had run then 30:45 on a perfect cold and windy day. I started out too fast then, and died by Mile 1 and basically held on to a slower pace the rest of the way.
My second dose of the Pfizer vaccine was Thursday at 3pm, so I didn't decide on the race until Friday, because I did not want to register before I knew if I was going to have any side effects. Fortunately, the only thing I got was some soreness in my arm. However, due to the allergies all over, I ended up with a severe reaction to the pollen on Friday night during my run, and my throat almost closed then. Although I had already registered for the race, I was still coughing from that episode Friday night, so I decided I was still doing the race but I was most likely going to treat it like a regular run. Although the weather was perfect for a race. 40F, low winds, and although cloudy, the sun peeked out every so often.
Since the race started around a mile from my house, I woke up, drank a protein shake and ran to the start to pick my packet. Since I was running and there was an option to due away with the shirt, I clicked no shirt (and that also meant no medal) so I didn't have to worry about getting a packet and leaving it in the park as I ran. I ran a mile to the packet pickup and ran another mile or so to warm up. Hang around the start and talked to a few people before we started.
I remember telling my friend Jay (who ended up winning the 10K) about my throat issue and how I wasn't planning on racing but rather running it. And then the start came and I went out like the devil was chasing me and of course, even knowing the first mile was mostly uphill, I ran out too fast. Fortunately, this time I had more endurance and stamina than in 2019 to sustain the pace, so while in 2019 I did a 9:20mm first mile and crashed and ran 10:30+mm for the next two, I was able to keep my paces somewhere slightly slower than 9:20, but still fast enough.
Mile 1: 9:21
Mile 2 wasn't flat either, but it had a couple of long rolling hills I do often before we turn back into my neighborhood for a flat-ish Mile 3. Mile 2 was hard because I tired from effort on Mile 1 but I felt strong and continued pushing by effort. Somewhere around this mile I realized I had not crashed nor burned and I wasn't feeling tired or overdoing it, or anything, making me think that I could push Mile 3 at the same pace as Mile 1, I could have my sub-30 minute 5K. This gave me a lot of mental boost to keep pushing through the race. Around Mile 1.5 the sun came out and my gloves started feeling too warm so I took them off (I put them back on sometime before the finish when the wind felt cold again). I do remember that I was huffing and puffing every time a song on my iPod finished.
Mile 2: 9:42
I had not passed anyone and no one had passed me during this time. Since I knew the course by heart, I knew when to take the tandems and it was easy to do since I was basically running alone. I knew I was within the top 20% of racers for both races based on what I could see ahead of me and I wondered if I could pass anyone. I didn't, lol. Two young teens passed me around Mile 2 and I started hearing a lady behind me at this time, but I doubt that she was in my AG.
Mile 3 takes us back to the start by a series of turns right, left, right, left, right, etc. Like I said, I knew the route and was able to run the tandems perfectly, which is why I ended up with 3.10 at the end. Although I suspect the course was probably a few meters longer. As I head to the finish, my mind thinks I am barely going to make it to 30 minutes, that it was close, that I better not slow down or stop, and I think this is why my Mile 3 was so much faster than Mile 2.
Mile 3: 9:34
As I head to the finish, I see two girls in my peripheral vision passing me so I put another gear and didn't let them pass me. Not sure who they were but they are not on the 5K results so they must have been running the 1 mile or the 10K. Ended up with a sprint of 8:55m.
OA: 30/237 (Top 12%)
AG: 4/23 (Top 17%)
I have not seen these paces in a while, least of all outside. It was just one of those perfect days when the body, mind, and lungs are in sync. Once I stopped coughing after I finished I looked at my watch and thought: well, that wasn't close at all. I literally sprinted the last 0.30 thinking I wasn't going to make 30 minutes, lol.
Super happy with this race. Part of me knows that if I had not had my throat issue the day before, maybe my lungs would've been in better condition and maybe 28:59 is not an impossible goal now. We will see...