Branford Road Race

Every Father’s Day – there’s a big 5 mile road race in Branford, CT.  They have a festival on their town green and other fun goings-on.  Derek and I have done this race for the last 3 or 4 years.  It’s a pretty fun race and a big one in the area.

Because they want to tie it in with the festival – the race starts pretty late for a summer race – 10:15am.  That always makes it dicey with the temperatures.  Today’s temps were low 70s – but luckily it stayed overcast throughout the race.  I was using this race as a tune-up for my marathon training plan to see if I’m on track.  It’s supposed to be a 5k, but a 5 miler will do.

I am an “endurance” monster and seem to have mostly slow-twitch muscles – so shorter races are not my strength.  According to my TPL (target pace levels) from Matt Fitzgerald’s Brain Training book – my 10k pace is 7:34 and my 5k is 7:18.  So – theoretically – a 5 miler should be somewhere in-between there.

Now – I know, from how I feel during training and how I’ve run these types of distances in the past – that it was highly unlikely I would get under 7:30 as an average pace.  This race is hilly – gradual downhill in the first 1.5 miles to the waterfront, flat til about 2.5, then a pair of good uphills, and a couple of rollers in the last mile.  Last year – I had finished in 39:03 (7:50s) and the race conditions were somewhat similar.  I feel better trained and felt I could definitely do better.  My real goal was 7:40 average pace – gold goal being anything that looked like 7:3x average pace.  And I would be over-the-moon if I actually ran under my “10k pace.”

We started way too far back in the pack – and the first 3/4 mile was really frustrating.  Tough to get around all of the slower runners, people darting everywhere, lots of erratic running.  Finally at about 3/4 mile, I felt like I was in a pack of runners all running about my pace.

The race was tough – my heart rate got high pretty fast – but I didn’t feel all that bad – so I just decided to go with it.  In the end – I finished in 38:13 or 7:39s.  Yay – PR!  And I hit my main goal of running a 7:40 average pace.  And yes – it’s technically in the 7:3x’s – but when it’s just by 1 second – it doesn’t feel that meaningful!

But I’m happy – that’s reasonably close to my “10k pace” and closer than I think I’ve been in the past.  I think I finished 7th in my age group – so that’s not too bad.  I continue to want to be faster – and I’m improving, but fighting the age curve.  So we’ll see!

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