Sunday, March 6, 2011

Race Recap: Coogans 5k

In sitting down to write this race report, I realize that I haven't blogged in quite a while. Looking back on previous posts, I had high hopes for my return to running in 2011, and quite honestly, things didn't really turn out as well as I had hoped. The weather in January and February made training VERY difficult (not just for me), and I am still struggling with the comeback.

For those of you that have never had to "come back" from a hiatus, injury, whatever - let me tell you: IT SUCKS. What frustrates me the most is that I have no sense of what my "race pace" (or any other target pace, for that matter) truly is. I find myself comparing my performance to what I was capable of before heart problems sidelined me for 6 months - and it just frustrates and disheartens me.

Thankfully, with the help of my running friends, my clubmates and Coach SpeedySasquatch, I feel like I am finally turning the corner on all of that. Which brings me to today:

I had plans to run down to Coogans, but the iffy weather made me rethink that. I hopped in my car, and made my way down to the race. Getting ready for the start, I ran into fellow Flyer Mark, friends Sharon, Ari and Yosef - and we exchanged pleasantries and smalltalk waiting to head to the corrals. The weather was still holding up reasonably well.

Heading into the race, I didn't really know what to expect - but starting up the first hill, things felt good. I kept up my momentum all the way into Ft Tryon park, and looped back to the turnaround. The hill leading out of Ft Tryon park started to take the wind out of my sails, so I dug in, worked my arms, and gutted it to the top. Just when I thought I was out of gas, we hit the top of the hill, and I was able to coast for a bit.

The final hill ended up getting the best of me. I had to dial it back for the final surge up the top, but was able to pour the speed back on on the backside, and felt like I passed a lot of folks in the final few hundred feet before the finish.

I wound up running a 26:00 - my previous times for this race were 25:45 (in 2009) and 25:08 (in 2010). My splits were dead even (8:15, 8:17, 8:16) which I was really happy about - and I am showing a consistent pattern of improvement in 2011, which is all I can really ask for. I ran the 5 miler in January at a 9:14 min/mi, the 4 miler in February at an 8:49 min / mi, and the 5k today in an 8:23 min /mi.

The theme for the spring of 2011 is going to be a consistent pattern of improvement. That's all I'm looking for now - and I'm going to train hard and achieve it.