Friday, June 06, 2008

5000 m on the Track

I have to admit to having some mixed feelings about this one. In 2005 and 2006 I stirred up enough interest to generate local participation to run the 5000 at our first all comers meet. We had 8 or 10 runners in the 5, with winning times in the low 16s, and I hung on to run mid/lower pack and did 17:03 and 17:17 those years respectively. Last year I got injured and despite trying to get the guys to show up anyway, but no one made it. So I timed the other races that day.

This year, I tried to drum up participation once again, but injuries, "age", and lack of interest seemed to rule. I got there at 6:30, and the usual crowd of 10 or so runners (ranging from about 15 to 70) who use these meets as a workout were there. They run three or four races ranging from the 100 to 1600 meters. But nobody showed for the 5000.

So I had to do the thing myself. These are low key, so rather than run the entire 5000 alone I asked to start with the 1600 m runners and run the extra 8.5 laps solo. The main oddity would be finishing on the backstretch.

One runner was hoping for 5:30 or 5:40, so I thought I'd have some company for the first mile at least. We followed a couple of youngsters for 2 laps (2:47), and then went out on my own - foolishly perhaps because my 3rd and 4th laps were 78 and 81. Too fast too early, for me, especially with the solo effort ahead.

So the mile was 5:26, 4-6 sec faster than planned. The 3200 split was 11:02, and I wasn't doing that bad, but without a pack or anyone to chase I was having difficulty with keeping focused. The third 1600 was a struggle, still cranking out 85s (one 87), but starting to run on my heels and shuffle. Hit 16:42 for 1600, and knew I'd have to run that last 200 very hard to reach my minimum goal of 17:20.

Had a decent kick and final time 17:19.1. WAVA age graded performance: 83.29%.

Met my standard (barely), and was somewhat surprised to drop a 78 on that third lap, without feeling it at the time, and to close with a relatively quick final 200. But it could have been better (sub 17:10) if I'd paced a little smarter and/or had some help with a pack to follow.

I'm going to try to find some sponsorship for some of these track races, and get some prizes to bring out the fast guys and gals so we have some competition out there!


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