Sunday, January 1, 2012

Get Off My Lawn! Resolution Run 5K

In what has become a bit of a tradition, I ran once again at the Resolution Run 5K, held at 2pm at Patterson Park in Baltimore.  For anyone who has run in this park, you can understand that any 5K held there would be reasonably tough thanks to the decently long hill right in the middle.

The weather was pretty good, low 50s with a light to moderate wind.  Since the course direction changes so frequently, the wind would not be too much of an issue.  The start and finish were shifted for this year's race, but the overall course basically stayed exactly as it has been the past 3 times I've done this race.  It started off with a short loop back through the start, knocking off the first mile and going uphill ever so slightly.  It then turned off for a longer loop complete with about 2/3 mile worth of up hill before coming back down to Earth at mile 2.  The longer loop then continues onto the back part of the short loop, before finishing on the same slight uphill encountered during mile 1.  Basically, it was a slow and painful course.

Going into this race, I was just looking to get the legs moving a bit and "see what happens."  My first track workout in well over a month was just this past Tuesday, a 5x1000 meter.  Besides that run, my last 5K and 5 Mile races in December were my only hard runs.  As I took the start line, there were two guys who looked like they would make this a race.  One looked slightly familiar, the other looked young, wearing a Pacer running store singlet.

The gun went off and we started at what felt a bit fast; shocking for a 5K.  Pacer singlet seemed surprisingly relaxed.  I decided he was faking it and there was no way this pace was comfortable.  I got tripped, cut someone off and got elbowed, so for some reason, we were all very antsy running around each other.

As we moved through the short loop, I began to realize that we were going way too fast.  At about the 0.5 mile point, I decided to back off, right before the hills and let Pacer and Mr. Familiar go.  After a slight uphill I hit the first mile in 5:13.  Those other guys never skipped a beat and had a huge lead on me in a hurry.  They easily hit that first mile at 5:08 or better, meaning that we had to be flying before the first uphill.

Regardless, I was pretty happy with my decision to back off, lest I die of asphyxiation trying to get up the big climb in the middle of the race.  As we turned up to the hill, Mr. Familiar began to put distance on Pacer, and I realized Pacer was already starting to drop back to me.  My gamble may have paid off, as I was fresher for the hill.

As we finally crested the top and began flying down the backside, I continued to slowly creep up on Pacer.  Mile 2, which I didn't get because I missed the split button on my watch was about a 5:34.  Kind of slow, but I suck at going uphill in 5Ks.

We pushed on and in about another 1/3 of a mile, I finally established contact with Pacer.  He seemed extremely impatient and uncomfortable with me running near him.  Every time I came up on his shoulder, he put himself a stride ahead of me.  This must have happened 2 or 3 times over the next quarter mile.  Finally, I decided I just needed to pass him.  We were closing on the finish, and I know I have no 5K kick, so I had to get distance on this runner.

I managed to pass him, but could tell I wasn't gaping him.  I knew now this was going to be a painful finish.  He went and passed me again and tried putting the gap on me.  He almost succeeded, as I had to dig real deep to get back up and stay on his shoulder.  We then unfortunately hit a wall of walkers doing the 1 mile walk who were all over the course.  At that point, I was content with just staying right behind him as we weaved in and out of people.

Once we cleared the walkers, we hit the same uphill where earlier in the race I had backed off to save energy.  Of course now, I was pretty spent, but managed to get ahead one last time as soon as we cleared the walkers.  But AGAIN he passed me and as we hit mile 3 in about 5:22; I just didn't have any gears left after that.  Pacer crossed the line in 16:41, I crossed in 16:44.  The winner (who actually finished 3rd and 12 seconds behind me last year) finished in 16:32.  Overall, it was a decently close race all the way around.

I wasn't sure what this 16:44 meant at first.  Then I finally had some perspective.  I matched my 5K time from December, which was on a much easier course and this time was 3 seconds faster than this race last year.  Though the start and finish lines moved, the course was basically the same.  I also managed to run a real fast 3rd mile, which really surprised me because that NEVER happens.  With a flatter course (or some more hills/speed work), I think I can get back down to PR range in a hurry.  Either way this a great way to start off 2012 as my mileage and workouts start to ramp up.  It's time to get some this year!

The only really, really, really unfortunate part of this whole story is the guy who beat me.  As it turns out, this kid is 16 years old.  Really?  16 and running a 16:41 on a tough course?  So in my first race of 2012, I got burned by a FREAKING 16 year old.  GWAH...get off my damn lawn!!!

Seriously though, it was a great race, I wish they were all like that (though I wouldn't mind winning the duel next time!).  I also need to stop getting burned in 5Ks, it seems to happen way too often!


  1. ....Kids these days! Funny you mention the speedy youngster tale, because I watched a 10-year old girl run a 21-minute 5k tonight.

    Regardless of the winner's age, way to start the year off right!

  2. 10 years old, and 21 minutes, wow. I do always hope kids with that much talent get the right guidance and stick with it because they can go places!