Monday, February 4, 2013

Super 5K

Sunday, February 3

Results.     Photos.

17:55, 5:47 average pace.  12th out of 268.  3rd place in age group.

Got to the race early, turned in the team roster (we ended up getting the “Best Penmanship Award” for a printed, formatted copy), picked up the bibs, secured WTAC tables, and started to gather with my awesome WTAC teammates.  Went out for a warm-up on Canonchet trails I had never been on, with Mike G, Mike C, Muddy, Jonny, Tom, Riyan, and Matthew.

Mile 1:  Despite getting there just over an hour early, the time flew by and I found myself at the starting line.  Dropped to second row to give Mike G a front row start.  I had a single goal in mind:  beat my 18-flat time from last year’s race.  The gun went off, and I ran elbow-to-elbow with Jonny (literally hitting a few times) for the first ¾ mile.  I followed right on Jonny’s heels as we turned off Ocean Road onto Earles Court, and then I felt like Jonny took off, although later data analysis (yes, I’m a data geek) shows I slowed quite a bit.  Mile 1 split:  5:39.

Mile 2:  Left turn onto Gibson, running part of the Blessing in reverse.  Felt good coming into the turn-around, as I saw Mike G, Muddy, Tom, and Jonny coming back at me in their WTAC singlets.  The positions were relatively fixed by now, although just after the turn around I passed one of the Rhode Runner team racers in their distinctive orange uniforms with an anchor symbol.  Now it was just a sea of WTAC singlets coming at me, with Riyan, Jeff V, Mark, Matthew, Steve, Mike C and so on and so on.  Really cool and uplifting!  Now for the down part (what’s the opposite of uplifting?): passed through Mile 2 in a split of 5:57.  What?  18 seconds slower?!  What happened?  I felt like I was running the same pace in the 2nd mile.
Sprint to the finish

Mile 3 and finish:  Disappointed with my Mile 2 split, I picked it up slightly and just tried to hold on to finish.  Come on – that Coast Guard House restaurant still seems far away.  Finally, under the castle, I hit Mile 3 split at 5:44 (much better) and near-sprinted the last 0.1 at 5:21 pace.  Just like last year, I turned the corner and saw the clock ticking away towards 18 minutes, but this time got just under at 17:55.
Yes - made it under 18 minutes this time!  Fastest Super 5K for me.

Post-race cool-down with Muddy, and then with Steve and a bunch of other WTAC’ers.  It was really neat to run in with Mason.  I felt bad for him dodging pedestrians on the sidewalk – probably the safest strategy given that the course was open to traffic, but certainly not the fastest.  Good time back at the restaurant with pasta and awards:  an orange hat for my 3rd place age finish, and $100 Mews certificate for another WTAC outing in the near future.  Mark, Mike C, Muddy, and Riyan all PR’d today for WTAC.
Awesome showing for the awesome WTAC team!

Post-race analysis:  Checked on Strava, and was astounded to find it’s a 74’ rise from Ocean Road to the turn-around.  No way!  I thought it was near flat.  Just as Mike G surmised, I had kept the same physical effort, but did not compensate by running harder up the hill to maintain the same pace.  Strava shows I slowed to a 6:21 pace on “Earles Court Rise”, while Jonny only slowed to a 5:48 pace on same segment (he's smarter than I am, not to mention faster).  Like I said, I’m happy with my overall finishing time, especially for the first road 5K of the year, but not the erratic pace path that I took to get there.  Will try to learn from it.


  1. Great write-up, great race, great showing by the WTAC! Very impressive showing (and penmanship!), looking forward to Brrr-lingame!

  2. You really shouldn't attack the hills to try and maintain pace. The only reason to run harder up a hill is to drop a competitor. Otherwise running even effort is the smart way to race. Basically that means you will be slower on uphills but your effort will be the same. Sounds like you ran a great race. Nice job!!

    1. Thanks Greg; always appreciate your input. I hadn't thought of it that way. At minimum, though, I do still think I'm better served researching the course elevation changes ahead of time so I'm not surprised or I at least understand when a split is much slower. Thanks again.

  3. Jeff - it was fun rubbing elbows with you out there! That entire second mile is tough.