Monday, June 6, 2011

Entirely different beast altogether: Mine Falls 5k

I finally obtained a running benchmark of sorts. A couple young guys I work with convinced me to come out to Mine Falls Park in Nashua, NH for the trail running series held there on Monday nights. The race is put on by the Gate City Striders.  When I hear trail running, right away I freak, as I think rolled ankles. However, the 5k course is held on fairly tame gravel and packed earth surfaces with just a few rocks and roots here and there. There's also a 5 mile course that gets a bit messier.

I have a lifetime total running of about 25 hours now. Almost all of that is since the beginning of the year. Should I even be pushing myself at a 5k pace yet? So far I haven't noticed any lingering effects from running. Just the normal good kind of pain that a healthy level of stress induces. I knew from lunch runs I could run 5 miles at 6:36 pace without pushing myself at all. Could I break a 6 minute pace in a 5k if I pushed myself? I had absolutely no idea.

I'd guess over a hundred people lined up. Only a couple dozen looked like serious runner types. I was mentally prepared to get beat by 10 years old girls and 75 year old men. We go off, and in no time about 20 runners dart ahead of me. Maybe I wasn't mentally prepared enough for the schooling I was about to take.

It didn't take long to recognize that many of those runners were on borrowed intensity and were soon paying the intensity gods back with interest. I started passing people, in a foot race. Imagine that! Even my mother said she can't imagine me in a running race. Somebody was giving split times at the 1mi mark. I was 5:47. Wow, there's no way I'll maintain that pace.

During my second mile, I started to get that legs-moving-through-molasses feeling you get in bad dreams when monsters are chasing you. I feared imminent implosion. I still managed to pass another guy at about the halfway point. I had no idea how I was going to keep him behind me. My respiration was flat-out hardest of any effort I've done so far this year. And my chest hadn't yet recovered from inhaling all that dust at the Big Ring Rumpus the day before.

I heard my GPS beep at the 2 mile mark. If I could just hold on for another 6+ minutes, I could hurl after I finish. I managed to hold my position for the last mile. I finished in 19:02, good for 6th place overall, at a 6:08 pace. I think with a little running intensity and fresher legs, a sub-18 minute 5k is possible. Not sure what I'd be giving up on the bike to achieve this, but a morbid curiosity may push me to find out.

Looks like my left calf is back. Photo by Meg Turner.


DaveP said...

I'm a bit disappointed by the picture - Where's the singlet?

CB2 said...

I doubt it will have a negative effect. You never know, by making you a more well rounded, stronger individual it might make you even stronger on the bike.
I remember that molasses feeling from when I was a kid. You'd look down at your legs and be thinking "why won't you move faster?".

PatrickCT said...

Doug - how close to max HR were you that last mile @ 170?

Hill Junkie said...

Patrick - no idea what my max HR is these days. I'd like to think it is still higher than 170bpm. It's probably been 5+yrs since I've seen 180, and I think that was in a sprint ski race. Run has to come close to same cardio load as XC skiing. Just brutal.

Anonymous said...

So, in your first timed 5km you beat my PR by 3 sec, and it is not even a real 5km. Looking forward to Cigna.