AM - easy shakeout run on the canal trail. 7.5 miles, no watch. It's going to be a warm one today, 70+! The 5000m is at 3PM.
noon - mowed the lawn. Got on the roof to tinker with the swamp cooler.
PM - went to Utah State for the Mark Faldmo track meet. I had signed up for the 5000m as an open runner. This was my first track race in 9 years, so I was a little nervous. Fortunately, it's a pretty low-key invite.
Got there early in case the meet was running fast, and indeed it was ahead by about 30 minutes. I warmed up for 2 miles, used the potty, etc etc. The 200m finished, but then it took a while to get the women's 5000m going, and then finally it was our turn.
There were only 7 runners that ran the race, but one of them was Brian McKenna, Utah State's top runner. He's the WAC xc champ, and made nationals this fall. He recently ran 14:30 for 5K on the track, so definitely my superior at this distance. Fortunate for me, he'd already run the 1500m, so was not fresh. Unfortunately to me, I suck at the 5000m, and was at the end of an 80 mile week.
Chatted with Brian before the race, and we agreed to trade some laps and try to run 72s/lap. I was actually a bit dubious of my ability to do this, with lack of speed work, plus an intense sun with temps in the low 70s, and a decent wind going into the backstretch. Conditions were less than ideal for a distance race. But I figured my options were to run with McKenna, or run by myself, so I chose the former. I tried to alleviate the heat some by dunking my head in the steeple pit right before the race. Felt great at the time, but I was bone dry by the 3rd lap.
Gun went off and about 4 of us packed up quick for the first 200m, but then I managed to get around everyone and tuck in behind McKenna. First lap was a 74-75 or so, which was too slow, plus it felt awful. McKenna and I cleared out the pack on the 2nd lap, and were through the 800m in about 2:25, so about a 70s split. Quite a bit faster, but it actually felt good.
After 800m, I took the pacing duties for the next two laps, and we hit 4:50 at the mile. Pace was feeling hard, but sustainable for the time being. Brian took the lead back (and I was grateful to tuck back in and let him take the wind), and we hit a couple more 72-73's for the next two laps.
At just less than halfway through, I started feeling...less than good, and McKenna dropped me pretty quick. He kept running 72-73s laps, and I dropped back to 75s/lap. I went through 3200m in 9:46, so 4:56 for the 2nd mile. This drop in speed is the 5K equivalent to a death rattle.
McKenna was soon on the verge of being long gone, and I was fast wilting from the heat and from fatigue. Man, it was hot! My left calf, which had been giving me trouble for the last 10 days, decided that 2 miles was enough, and started misbehaving with 4 laps to go. It hurt, but not too bad, and I was able to deal with it. So it goes.
Lap 9 was a 76, and then a 77. Things were going downhill, but at least I was close enough to sense the finish and find some hope in that. McKenna now was approaching a 100m lead on me, and no one was close to me from behind. I was about to lap a couple runners, though. I didn't grab splits for the last two laps, but they were about the same as the previous two, in the 76s range. I just gritted to the finish the best I could. 15:27 was the finish time (McKenna was 15:05), which means my last mile was something like a 5:05. I was never great at finishing track 5K's.
So it wasn't an amazing race or anything, but I came out of it fairly satisfied with both the time and the effort. It was good for me to try to run with a national-caliber collegiate runner, and the heat, wind, and elevation certainly tinkered with my time some. I would have liked to have been in the low 15's, but I have to take what I can get on the given day. It was a little discouraging to run slower than my solo First Dam Run effort last November, but I know I'm actually way ahead of where I was then. I still think that sub-1:07 is still worth going after in Indianapolis, and hopefully the next several weeks of training, plus sea level, plus better conditions, plus a little more moxie will allow me to click off 5:05/mile for 13.1 miles. We'll see.
Went to the Logan Zoo with Stacy and Seth afterward, and then I grabbed 5 more miles when we got home to finish out my week. The calf hurt, but was runnable.
The next two weeks of training are big for me. I plan on two 85 mile weeks, with two good workouts each week. I hope it's all worth it, because training is hard work.