Frigid 5K Race Report

Type: Race
Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 23:27
Average Pace: 7:34 min/mile
Average Heart Rate: 167 bpm

Well, this race was an interesting beast to say the least. I really thought I would go a little faster than this, but the clock does not lie. But just a word of warning: This may be the longest 5K race report that you have ever read. Really.

I missed my goal of a 22:00 for a couple of reasons. First, we had a bunch of friends over Friday night for games. We played Scum for a while but then we got out the Wii and I should have gone to bed. I avoided the treat table until about 10:00 p.m. and then it was like I forgot I had a race the next day. I ate so much junk for no apparent reason. Then I stayed up well past midnight. I really should have sticked to the plan of either kicking everyone out at 10:00 or just excusing myself and going to bed, but I didn’t want to be THAT guy. I know this is an Ironman cartoon, but still the same idea…

Pre-Race

The Frigid 5K in Lehi is a great little race. It is put on by locals as part of our city Health Fair that is held the same day. The course is well marked, you get a technical t-shirt and a great first aid kit as part of the swag bag. The entry fee was a little steep at $25.00, but the swag bag made up for it. I would recommend this race to any local.

The weather was going to cooperate this day. It was about 28º at the start, which was a welcome change from the single digit mornings we have been experiencing. So I wore my Nike Compression Leggings and about four layers on my upper body. I did wear a beanie because I hate a cold head. I am not sure I would call this cold weather running, but it was right on the border. I used my Garmin Forerunner 405 to track my pace. I hace to say I am not loving my Garmin right now as once it gets sweaty it starts to trip up the bezel and you can’t see what you are doing so much.

Before I left the house I did drink about 200 calories of Infinit. I didn’t have any intestinal problems or issues with dehydration which was good — there were no aid stations on the course. I would have skipped them even if there were, but I did feel a little bad for some of the stragglers. I switched to a liquid non-gel diet before and during races years ago and having a total lack of intestinal problems is the reason why.

Race time was 8:00 and I drove up at 7:30. I was jogging around the starting line when HE got out of his F350. When he first put foot on the pavement I looked at him and knew that this version of Steve Prefontaine was going to win the race. You know who this person is — he shows up to every race we all do. He looked lean and like a spring that was about ready to fire. I always check out calves for some reason when I am sizing up runners and he had some that were the size of a volleyball. They were bigger than his thighs if it is possible.

The Race

Let me say right off the bat there were only about 30 runners in this race, so it was small. It seemed like most everyone knew each other, which means I need to find out what running club they are in and start to socialize. But I digress.

From my warm-ups I knew that I could get the turnover to hit my goal, but there was some fatigue so I didn’t know if I was going to be able to hang on to my goal pace of 7:05/mile for the entire race. I decided I would go until I started to feel “the pukes” and then I would slow down.

For one of the first times in my life, I lined up at the front. I usually seed myself in the middle, but from the low numbers I knew I would be fine at the front. I lined up next to Mr. Prefontaine and wished him luck. It turns out he didn’t need it at all.

The horn went off and he and I took off. Another runner joined us and the three of us stuck together for the first mile and just cruised. The pace was comfortable at about a 7:15/mile. The road was pretty much flat, so there were no hills to blame anything on. I noticed at the .75 mile mark that I was getting fatigued. I took the foot off the gas a little and let the two other guys get out about 10 strides ahead.

Mile 1: 7:25 HR: 167 bpm

Right after the mile mark I started to feel it a little. I knew if I didn’t speed up I would lose the two leaders and I wouldn’t be able to catch up. For the next .25 miles I kept them in contact but then they picked their speed up. A lot. If those two were my rabbits then I was an old, slow hound dog. At that point I had to let them go because I wouldn’t last at their pace.

I was cruising along at a 7:30/mile pace and I heard someone approaching me from behind. Remember I was in 3rd place overall at this point and that fact was running through my head. I have placed in my age group before at smaller races, but never overall. Then a gal started to pass me. When I get passed I will usually wish the person luck and be a good sport about it even though I am extremely competitive. But this gal beat me to it.

She started talking trash. It wasn’t the friendly trash that you will talk with your friends or people you know. It blew me away. She opened with “You are slowing down so much I thought you must be old.” I am 39 years old right now FYI. I expected her to smile to let me know that was a joke, but she held her poker face. Then she made fun of me because she was about to “chick” me. Again, no smile, just a straight face. I never complain about being chicked because a racer is a racer, regardless of their gender. If they finish ahead of you, they took a spot away from you. Period.

I really thought I must have done something to her either at the start line or in a former life. I did talk with a couple of her people after the race and they laughed and said she is just that way. I am very competitive, but never a jerk. It just was a not so subtle reminder of how to NEVER act at a race.

I hate to admit it, but I let her go. She did speed up and dropped me I am sorry to say. I wish I would have had it in me to match her acceleration, but I didn’t. Sometimes you just have to let stuff go.

Mile 2: 7:35 HR: 171 bpm

So now I found myself in 4th place overall and very alone. I started to pound out the miles, but without anyone to push me and knowing I was going to miss my goal I think I just dailed the rest of it in. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I think I could have gone a little quicker. Certainly I would have missed my goal, but I could have gone about :15 seconds faster. I did push the last .1 miles, but no matter how fast you run it, there is little probability that you can run the clock backwards…

Mile 3: 7:43 HR: 174 bpm and

Mile .1: :44 HR: 176 bpm

Thoughts

When I got home and was telling my wife about my race she suggested that I write about what not to do when trying to set a PR. So, here is my list:

  1. Don’t do speed work.
  2. Run 20 lbs. over your preferred racing weight. I like to race at 170 lbs. and I am sitting at 190 lbs. right now.
  3. Eat as much as your stomach can handle in junk food the night before the race.
  4. Make sure you are physically active the night before the race. It will help you keep a high pace throughout the race.
  5. Get psyched out by someone who just looks like they are faster than you.
  6. Listen to the people who say they are better than you.
  7. Forget to HTFU and just cruise.

The great this about this race is missing my goal is all my fault. I can’t blame it on anyone but myself. But least you think I am ungrateful, I was pretty amped to win 4th overall. I did win 2nd in my age group because the winner just happened to be in my same category. Regardless, I did have a good race and am happy with my fitness levels, especially in the month of January. I do have a long way to go before I am ready to run my sub 20:00 5K, but I know it is within reach now.

And least you think a 5K doesn’t hurt the next day, my calves are really tight today. I have bee wearing my CEP compression sleeves on my lower legs, and if I hadn’t, I am sure they would be sore AND tight.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...