Sunday, June 21, 2009

Run for Your Life 5 Miler

Yesterday I ran the Run for Your Life 5 Miler. I didn't really know where they got that name from, till I realized it was because the course involves a 2 mile stretch running up to Spring Hill Cemetary and running in the cemetary! The slogan for the race is "the toughest 5 mile race around". That is probably an understatement. Even though I live in WV (the mountain state), most of the 5k's and other local races are on flat land, with the exception of races at Coonskin Park, the Charleston Distance Run, and this 5 miler, of course. Needless to say, the treck up Farnsworth street leading up to the cemetary was pretty brutal. I would compare it to running 119 in the CDR, but with a couple steeper points.

I started off the race feeling great. I wanted to maintain a pace under 10:00 min/mile, which would be a challenge for me. I had just come off that aweful tempo run on Thursday morning where I couldn't even maintain a slow pace. I brushed that off and didn't even think about it. Every day is a new running day, and you never know what you're going to get! So, I started off and the first mile I ran at a 9:40 pace and felt pretty good. I noticed, however, that my Garmin hit the 1 mile mark before the actual 1 mile point, which was marked with a water station. I didn't think much of it. The start of mile 2 began the climb up Farnsworth. The beginning of it is more like an on-ramp and wasn't too bad. I slowed my pace down to an 11:00-11:30 min/mile to help conserve energy. This road was long, and I had to stop and walk at about mile 1.5. I did this running/walking thing the whole way to the top of the hill, till I got to the cemetary. The road got really steep, and there was no way I could run it the whole way. There was another water station at mile 2. I got a drink, then started running again. I had to run a mile in and around the cemetary before coming back down again. The cemetary itself was comprised of lots of rolling hills; nothing too steep, but still hilly. Somehow I fell into this groove. My breathing felt great, my form felt really natural, and I felt really strong all of a sudden. I was able to tackle the hills without slowing much. It was a difficult run in the cemetary, but I felt very strong and confident. At mile 3, I headed back down Farnsworth. I was in autopilot at this point, just cruising down that hill! It felt awesome. I had a pace of about 8:30-9:00 down the hill. Once I got to the bottom at mile 4, it was flat from there. Ahh, the home stretch. I still felt amazingly strong. I'm thinking to myself, "where is this coming from??". I usually am struggling pretty bad at this point in any race. At mile 4.5 I started to feel the energy let up a little, but I kept my pace. At this point, I realized that my Garmin was reading a lot farther than the course was. I KNEW I would finish this race in 50 minutes or less. Then, I saw the finish line and the time clock. It said 53:30!! WTF?? I looked at my watch and saw that it read 5.28 miles. I was irritated, but then also determined to cross the line before it hit 54 minutes. I don't know where it came from, but I started an all-out sprint to the finish. I mean, I don't think I have ever run that fast before in my life. And I felt so strong! People saw me sprinting and started cheering for me. I guess they saw the determination on my face. It was amazing. I crossed at 53:58, lol.

I caught my breath, then headed over to the table to turn in my popsickle stick. I was number 78 to finish. Not sure how many ran in it. I will have to see when they post the race results online. I asked a girl next to me, who was wearing a Garmin Forerunner 305, what her watch said the distance was. She told me it said 5.3. Mine did, too. She said she was going to email the race director to ask about the distance. I figure they will say this is the 4th year they have done this run, and it's been the same 5 miles each year, lol. But, I truly believe that it was 5.3 miles. The way I felt and how hard I pushed myself, there was no way I ran that race at a 10:47 min/mile pace. At no point during the race did my Garmin read slower than a 10:50 min/mile pace, except between miles 2-3, the hill part. I did forget to stop the timer at the finish, so it didn't stop at 53:58, it was stopped at 54:21.

Here are my splits from Garmin Connect:
Mile 1- 9:40
Mile 2- 11:56
Mile 3- 10:49
Mile 4: 9:19
Mile 5: 9:24
Mile 0.3: 3:10

Garmin Connect calculated my average pace to be 10:13. If I use this data and extrapolate it to 5.0 miles, instead of the 5.3 the watch said, it would make my average pace 10:47. I just don't believe that. Maybe I'm just being hard headed, or putting too much faith in the Garmin. It's not really that, it's the fact that I felt amazing during the race and ran my ass off. It absolutely did not feel like a 10:47 average pace, even with the hill portion. Oh well, 5.0 or 5.3, I felt great. It was probably the best race I've ever run and felt awesome in. I really had a good time and liked the hill challenge. At the end, I wanted some more, haha. I will definitely be doing this one again next year.

Next run: Sunday - long, slow run, 8 miles
Total miles for the week: 21 miles

1 comment:

  1. Awesome job! I hate when the Garmin and race distances are off. It always screws up my planning/pacing. I bet you are just getting stronger and that's why you felt so great. Training really does pay off!!!!