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!