Saturday, 16 July 2011

Stampede Road Race 5k report.

July 10, 2011. Time for a short one. I'm not that great at the shorter distances, the pace I'm capable of not much quicker than my half marathon pace. My training is pretty much geared to halves anyway. I still have no idea what speed I'm going at, so rely somewhat on my garmin to tell me. Before I had the garmin last year, I did a 5k in 20:15. Not a bad time, but the aim had been 20 minutes and I was like a fighter plane on afterburner for the first 2k, then running out of fuel having to glide in to land.
I did no taper for this race, just skipped the gym on thursday, shortened friday's run, and did a brief sprint the day before.
A-Chang took this from afar, somehow it looks like were talking about beer?
Getting to the finish line at the Glenmore track, I spotted a pair of feet I recognized. I'd exchanged a couple of facebook messages with Barefoot Neil, so said a quick hi. His blog is always a terrific read, and he was doing the 10k "naked". I need copious cushioning myself, due to being something of a heel striker and also running with my feet a little sideways, despite my best efforts.

Now, something went wrong in this race, though this time it wasn't down to me. There were 2 versions of the course map on the website, but the main clanger was the start time confusion. The website had the 10k down for an 8:00 start, 8:15 for the 5k. As is my habit though, I wanted to be early and watch the start of the 10k, then do some runs to get my heart rate up as it tends to spike at the start of races. Seeing 5k-ers lining up too, I asked the announcer who said all started together and that the website was updated. It was not, even at the time of writing this hours after the race. Boo! Perhaps trying to make things clear, the announcer at the start might have been telling everyone after I had asked. Although the speaker was turned up loud, however, it sounded like he was shouting through a pair of socks.
Rich, fresh from a sub-3 hour 11 min first time marathon was there supporting his better half. Perhaps he'd get a photo of me, seeing as A-Chang was at the 2.5 k mark, expecting me 15 minutes later. Pushing in Squeezing myself in at the front, I had to do an on the spot warm-up. My heart was ready for action when Mr. Muffle started to sound a little more excited and everyone shuffled forward. What seemed like a starter gun went off, then it was go. Most might have been expecting a horn, so a few even said "it's started" for reassurance.
Key for me was paying attention to my watch's pace alerts, above all not going too fast. Slight gradient for the first 1.5 or so km, and although going too quickly initially, I managed to not get too competitive and remember to go for time, not position. The free Stampede breakfast waiting at the finish should only enter my thoughts in the last km, just don't shout "pancakes" at the finish line.
Round the corner for the long "middle straight", and there was Rich camera in hand!
Great photo. I credit the photographer rather than the subject. My official photographer always does excellent work though.
Speaking of which, I was not able to see A-Chang early enough to give her a wave. She was still able to get off a couple of photos, unholstering the camera quickly (Stampede joke?). I turned my head towards the camera for as long as I could, eventually looking straight at another runner a few steps behind. Must've confused him a bit.
Wish someone had yelled "form check", look at my right foot!
Round the corner for the 3k sign, I sped up a touch, but found my lungs trying to expand to more than their actual size, lifting up higher in my chest. My breathing then got too quick, so I decided to wait a little longer. A few hundred metres after the 4k sign, there was a u-turn to do. With the running track in sight, though feeling breathless, now was the time to go for it. Before a turn to join the track, I overtook one guy looking to finish at an even pace. Up a grass bank, I did one more overtake, passing the second placed lady. 
It's great to finish on a track, and I went all out for that final 250 or so metres. "Here comes the winning lady!" said the announcer. She finished a few seconds in front.
Race pace graph, with finishing kick!
19:48 was my chip time, a PB by 27 seconds. I crossed the finish line out of breath, with my face feeling like it was the same colour as the track. The thought very briefly crossed my mind to lay down to get my breath back, for a touch of drama. I did the less diva-like hands on knees for a few seconds instead. It's quite exhilarating to push yourself to the absolute limit. Taking a bottle of water from a volunteer, I nodded as I was too out of breath to offer a "thanks".
Despite the short distance I was boiling over so half the bottle went over my head. I think I heard a chuckle or two.
My time got me 8th place overall out of 234. In my age group I was 4th, 40 seconds short of a medal (I felt tempted to take one of the Puma banners home instead). In a small irony, my time would've been good for 2nd in the younger 20-29 category - most of them were probably hung over. Still, can't complain about a PB and pancakes, sausages and scones afterward.

1 comment:

  1. Wow that's a super run, well done! I've never run a 5km race but I'm so slow I don't think I will ever try anyway. We don't have official 5k races in South Africa. They are all fun runs. Official races start at 10km. About your question: I have many coffee mugs, beer mugs, beer glasses and wine glasses from races. I actually use them and don't just display them. Have a good weekend!