Saturday, July 4, 2009
Didn't happen today. Went into this race thinking I had a realistic shot at dipping under 17 minutes, but in the end came up way short; content to get a decent faster workout in.
The FireKracker 5k is put on by the Fort Collins Running Club, and is one of the bigger races on the local road-racing calendar. Today there were a total of 992 runners signed up for the annual athletic celebration of independence from the Mad King.
I lined up at the front determined to take it easy through the first few hundred meters. With the big crowd, there was bound to be some talent in the field, and right from the gun I found myself 15 to 20 runners back. Despite starting out slower than I normally would for a 5k, I immediately knew it was going to be a rough 3.1 miles. The legs had nothing for me and my breathing was all over the place.
Went through the first mile in 5:27, which was on pace for the 16:5x, but I knew I wasn't going to hold it. To make matters worse, I was running in no man's land between a pack of four ahead and a gap to runners behind - nobody to pull me. From the mile, I was able to reel in just one runner, and it had nothing to do with my speed, rather his over-exuberance from the gun - he was breathing hard.
I felt myself getting lazy through mile two, and watched the four guys in front slowly build their lead on me. I wasn't surprised to see that I had slowed by 30 seconds over the second mile (5:57). Lucky for me, a guy with some pep in his stride came breezing by at the two-mile point and I was able to tow his pace through the final mile (5:45). I wanted to race the last .1 for the sake of it, but had nothing left in the tank. In fact, some sneaky little kid whizzed by me with 50 meters to go. I'm pretty sure I could have fended him off, had I known, but by the time he was by me it was way too late, and I jogged in for a 17:52 finish.
Disappointing to say the least, but a definite indication that the legs are not fully recovered from Bighorn, the track workout on Tuesday and the time trial up Round on Thursday. I'm sure I could dig deep for some more excuses, but those will have to do for now. On the plus side, I beat my neighbor Kenny (15:05 in college) to even up our head to head over this course at one win each. I'll be looking to settle the series on an as-yet-undecided course.
The highlight of the morning was Alistair's first ever race in the kid's event, in which he held off some serious female competition through the last 20 meters. Way to keep the male ego intact, son!
I think my best course of action in getting ready for next weekend's Leadville Marathon is to take it easy and get lots of rest. Hopefully, there will be a little more in the tank for me than there was today at the halfway as I make my way back down from the turn at Mosquito Pass.