Monday, March 23, 2009

Orchard to Ocean 5k

I ran my first 5k race this last Saturday. I had no idea what to expect, how to act, or how fast to pace myself. I just picked some dude who looked reasonably quick, and stayed hard on his heels. Before I knew it, we were in the top eight or ten runners, and keeping a blistering pace. I resolved to finish the race still breathing, so I slowed up a bit, and did my best to approximate a "steady" rhythm. Note: I had NO detailed conception of what constituted a quick 5k time. All I knew is that back in high school, during my track career, there was a guy who ran a 14 minute 5k and an 8:41 2-mile. His name was Dathan Ritzenhein. He currently cleans up at races all over the world, but back in Michigan, during the 90's, he was a demigod. His coach would have him run numerous events—even ones Dathan "sucked" at—because he knew we didn't have a chance against his little prodigy.

But that was then.

By mile three, I realized that I was still—inexplicably—at the front of the pack, and keeping my breakfast down. I sprinted into the finish rather tired, but still alive. I felt like I strategized pretty well, made moves at the right junctures, "drafted" the right runners, etc. My time? 20:24, which placed me second in my age group, and tenth overall. I suppose it was an okay time—for a newbie. Basically, I ran 6.5 minute mile splits. Now I have a good idea of what to shoot for at my next 5k race. I'm thinking sub 19 minute. If I can get into the low 18's by the end of the summer, I'd be stoked.

Oh, and by the way, the Orchard to Ocean run has stupendous baked goods at the finish line. Well worth the effort.

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