Well after carb loading with some Dos Equis at the Mexican restaurant Friday night I went home and put together my speed-inducing playlist for the day. I awoke early to head out to the far side of town for the Chili Bowl run. Met up half way with some friends and got to the race with plenty of time to spare. I quickly spied Liz and after a bit we were off on our warm up run.
The warm-up sort of stunk as the snow started to fall with a vengeance and it kept getting in my eyes. I was starting to think that the conditions were just not ideal given it was only about 15 degrees, snow and there was a light wind that would hit our face for a bit of the course.
The game plan was to hang with Liz who was using it as her tempo run and shoot for a PR. In my last 5K I had broke my old PR and thought that if I could just get close to my last one that it would be an accomplishment.
Upon the ring I was off. There were about 500 people racing and this race was chipped so it was a tight start. I was looking around a bit for Liz with all the people and before long, decided I was just going to go and not worry about it.
Mile 1 I was rocking out to I Like The Way You Move by the BodyRockers and was just moving along into the wind. I felt good and the crowd started to spread out a bit which was nice. I turned the corner and hit the split at 6:35 for Mile 1. A little nervous thought popped into my head hoping that I would not blow up with a fast first mile, so I backed off a bit. I made another turn and started picking off a few other runners. I got passed by this one female in this stretch that was clipping along at a good pace (incidentally later I watched her pick up the first overall female award--must have ran a nice negative split race) Still cranking the tunes and not feeling too bad I hit mile 2 with a 6:58 split. I started the one out and back section and had to slow a bit for a u turn and started heading back. I was happy I had run this part of the course in the warm up as I knew exactly what was left and I started to pick up the pace as we headed back. A few hundred yards I started pushing and was hoping to pass the only other female in my sights. I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable with this pace but I knew the end was near. Hit mile 3 with a 6:38 split. I picked up my final kick and the lady heard me coming and sped up as well. The end was slick and I just decided it would be too close so ended up sailing in behind her as I watched the clock read 20:51. Official chip time, 20:45, a 6:42 pace and a new PR!
Sweeeeeeet!! I was stoked as this was way above my expectations. On top of that, even as I manuevered a with the wintry conditions, I felt generally pretty good especially compared to many of my other 5Ks. So all & all, happy for the day! I ended up with a 1st age group award and 8/211 females and 58/484 overall.
The best thing in my opinion is the improvement. Last year at the Chili Bowl I was so excited as it was the first time I had ever broke 23 with my 06 time of 22:56. Then I danced around in the 22-23 minute range for most of the year and breaking 22 was this goal for the 2006 that I had for myself. Finally at my last race of the year I broke my 22:07 PR with a 21:37. Goal accomplished! I had thought about my goal for this year but still was not sure how things would go and then I came out first race of 2007 with a 20:45. All I can figure is my speedwork is helping! So we will just keep putting in the work and see what happens!
After the race, I cheered a few friends in. Liz, who had ran a nice even race according to plan, went for a cooldown but I was already starting to freeze so I declined to head in and change out of my wet clothes. The best part of these races is the aftermath and getting a chance to chat it up with fellow running buds. We goofed around snapping some pictures and BS-ing with others before I headed off for breakfast with a few pals and my long day of taking down wallpaper!
Quick Sunday Long-run Update
Well the schedule called for a 17 miler. I totally had not organized the plan so I was on my own as pretty much most of my normal running pals had something going. The weather conditions continued to deteriorate and I was not looking forward to a long cold run by myself. The towpath where I normally have been doing the long runs is currently buried and not really an option. So I decided I would meet the Sunday SERC group and hope I could keep up. I was even more nervous when I showed up the lone woman with about 20 guys. Oh well, I brought my headphones in case I ended up alone....just so I could find my way, I would be OK with that.
Always a good choice to run with others when it is crappy out. About two thirds of the run was slick but had some easier wet surfaces for a little while. I ended up running with 2 guys for the first 10 or so and then one split off as he had already ran 8 and was going to wrap up the 12 loop for 20 total and call it a day. The other guy and I continued on with two others to do the 15 mile loop. Some of the hills were slippery and I was kind of tired as my long run pace on this slick surface felt a little faster than normal, yet I was too headstrong to let up. We ended up back at the parking lot as snow men 15 miles later in about 2 hours, 10 minutes, so I guess we ran approximately 8:40 min pace. So not the 17 the schedule called for, but had got in the unscheduled 5K the day before and had ran 17 last week, so I am OK with that for the day. My warm shower when I got home felt so good!!