Crashing the Chena: A 5K race report
17:39 (2004, altitude converted)
17:51 (2005, CRR*)
17:34 (2006, CRR)
17:37 (2007, Water Run)
17:27 (2008, CRR)
17:39 (2009, Water Run)
18:06 (2010, CRR/5 weeks post knee surgery)
17:42 (2011, CRR)
I came out of last weekend with great hopes--maybe delusional because I hadn't really put in the necessary quality work yet--of going mid 17:20s, I was flat all week. So I re-adjusted the goal on Friday to just beat last year's time. Hang on, dude you're not getting any younger.
Unlike some other years, we had perfect conditions, low 40s and barely a breeze. Fast field, and everybody and their little brother took off quick. I checked my pace a couple times and don't know how accurate those instantaneous readings are, but saw a 5:31, and then 5:25 at about a half mile, still back in 40th place or so. So I settled. 5:39 mile 1, and only passed three runners in mile 2 (11:18).
Masters ace Mark Lindberg reeled me back in just after the Chena River bridge and I hit a rough patch for about about a half km, just hang on. I really wanted to catch little Max, who is on my son's XC team at West Valley, but the rascal was just out of reach. I threw in a final surge with about 400 m to go and got to within 3 sec.
17:35, 16th place.
A lot was said about the fast field, with a dozen runners under 17, and that it's been 20 years since something like that has happened. It's also been 20 years since I broke 16, which for about a decade was my standard of being decently fit. Hats off to the fast guys, the 1990s saying went, the older we get the faster we were.
So I met my goal, but I'm not at all satisfied. Expected more this year. Maybe I can bring it down a lot like I did in 2005 (48 sec faster in June) and 2009 (38 sec faster). Hope so.
Planning on rousting up the local hard cores for a fast 5000 m on the track, about a week or two before Midnight Sun Run. Meanwhile, I'm going to train more like a miler/5000 m runner than I have this past decade.
It's a quixotic endeavor. Going for it.