Race: Earth Day 5K

Sunday was my first “real” race of the new season. Although I had competed in the 5K Irish Jog, it had been pushing a very grumpy Max in a stroller. I was very nervous to see what kind of fitness I had. The speed work in the previous couple of weeks had not been great, I was struggling to manage 1 mile under 7 minutes. Having managed an average for 4M of under 6:45 back in February it was obvious there would be no PB’s set in this race!

The day dawned with a thunderstorm and torrential rain. It took all my resolve to not just go back to bed. Having been out to a friends 40th party the night before a long lie in the morning would have been just the ticket. However, having not run for the previous 3 days I knew I had to do something, even if the race was off I needed to get some kind of a run in, so I got changed and headed out, straight into a squal.

The start was less than a mile from the house so I jogged down in the downpour, with thunder and lightning going on all around. If this were Disney the race would be off and we would all be going home, but being Cayman about 70 hardy souls made it to the start line and the race was on. Luckily the rain cleared up just as we all walked down to the cone that marked the start, a short blast on a whistle and we were off.

The plan had been to go along at an average of about 7:15, but with the buzz of actually being in a race I decided to try and get 3 miles in at sub 7 pace. I wasn’t sure I could do it, as the last mile was going to be back into a strong breeze. Even setting off at that pace I was soon in the middle of the pack, as the runners who have slightly over-estimated their fitness go hairing off at the start. I was even overtaken by a man running with his dog!

Things sorted themselves out during the first half-mile and I found I was at the back of a small group that had broken away from everyone else. There were 2 way out front that would be contesting the win, a string of 4-5 people behind them and then us. I worked out I was probably about 15th. 

First mile slipped by in 6:59, so just inside the goal, and I had gone past a couple more people. The second mile was around the centre of George Town, and it was here one of the two leaders came running back towards us, he wasn’t following the correct route, and as the official results haven’t been published I am not sure if he was actually classified at the finish. With the second mile being a bit twistier and with my lack of fitness coming to the fore I managed 7:06.

Heading back in to the wind and down towards the finish for the last mile I had 3 people in front of me that I felt I could probably catch. None of them really enjoyed somebody going past them, and they sped up to try and keep their place, but it appears they were just like the others that had gone off too fast at the start. They were slowing more than I was speeding up! They eventually broke, and there was no way I could catch the person in front of me, even though I could see he stopped for a walk with about a quarter of a mile to go. Still it gave me the impetus to go as fast as I could into the finish for a 5th place finish in 21:49.

I suspect 5th was mainly because of the weather and quite a few people decided to stay in bed!

The time was exactly 60 seconds slower than my PB in February. As a comparison to last year it was 5 seconds slower than a 5K time trial I did in May. I had done more training for that, so to be about the same time a month earlier, shows I am not doing too badly. My heart rate was up in the 170’s for most of the race, so I was maxxing out what I could do, I didn’t leave much, if anything in the tank.

The next race of the season should be in a months time at the Discovery Day 5K. My second time-trial last year improved to 21:16 (in July), so that is the time to beat.