Another solid performance!
This weekend we ran the Minnesota 5 Miler. I was so happy to see they added this distance to this race. Last year we ran the half marathon. It was horrible. It was hot, they ran out of water and the so-called ice never appeared. I honestly have no desire to ever run that half again or any half that runs on Shepard Road again. I’m sure you have heard my hatred of Shepard Road. The sad realization I just came to is I get to run a 10K, 5K and 2.5K on this awful road in just 19 days. NO!
So back to the race…It was very small at 161 people. By comparison, the Half had over a 1,000 people, and the 5K had 561. We started 30 minutes after the half and 15 minutes before the 5K. This turned out to be an awful thing for me. The course was a double out-and-back. And you know how much I love out-and-backs…I don’t! The first out and back was 1.31 miles out and then back to the start area. After that we went out another 1.38 miles and turned around and ran to the finish.
The start was great, I started in the back and did not really pass anybody and nobody in the 5 mile race passed me either. The nice thing about the smaller race is I could break into my run/walk intervals early on and not worry about other runners. My goal for today was to finish most miles under 13, if not all of them. I know the Lift Bridge 10K a couple weeks ago was anomaly, and it was all downhill which helped my pace. This race was hilly. Long hills.
Mile 1 was ok. I ran the first 3 minutes before I started a walk. I tried to only walk for 20 seconds and run a 1:10. My watch will only do run/walk intervals in the 15 second so I can’t set it for 40 seconds/20 seconds or any other combination. So I stick with 1:00 and :30 and adjust as need, usually shortening my walk break as 30 seconds seems like a long walk, especially in the beginning of a race. My time was 12:53. So my first mile was under 13. This was a good start. We get to the turnaround and the usual two St. Paul police officers are there. I love these guys. The one is very obnoxious but a great cheerleader. I even told him as I slapped his hand at the turned around that he was the only good thing about a Shepard Road race.
The nice thing about this turnaround is it downhill for a while. So not surprisingly mile 2 was faster at 12:48. The horrible thing about Mile 2 is the 5K runners. So near the end of mile 2 is the 5K turnaround. Like I said, they started 15 minutes after us so when I reached their turnaround point all the super fast 5K runners were already there. So here I am plodding along and I’m getting passed by these super fast runners. It is bit demoralizing. But to make matters worse, the really fast half marathons caught up to me at this point too. I had people passing me on both sides and I didn’t know where to go. I felt like I couldn’t do my usually intervals because of all the fast runners around me but at the same time my running would slow down so much that I was basically walking anyways. I tried to stay to the far outside and when I walked I jumped on the grass to get out of their way. It really was horrible for about 2 miles.
Mile 3 was plagued by what I described above, the only good thing is it made me run a bit faster and I had 12:47 mile. Shortly after Mile 3 the 5Kers had another turnaround so I was left with the just the fast half marathoners and 10 milers. Soon after that the 10 milers turnaround and it was just me and the half marathoners. Finally we to got our final turnaround and hit mile 4. It was up a hill and there was a disorganized water stop during the mile so I think that hurt my goal of hitting under 13 minutes for every mile. I got a 13:23. But I didn’t give up hope. I knew most of mile 5 was downhill so I got back into the groove. By this point, I was surrounded by the very slow 5K walkers and the faster half marathoners. It was a weird combination. I came in with a 12:41 final mile and the course and my watch agreed. My watch had exactly 5 miles.
Overall, I had a 12:54 pace. That mile 4 really messed me up. But I’m happy with my result and can’t wait to see how this weekend’s half will go. I know I can’t maintain under 13s for that long but maybe I can get a few in and maybe break the 3-hour mark again. It has been a long time.