Alistair is by no means a baby, in fact he just celebrated his fourth birthday, however, this morning he was relegated to the baby jogger as daddy was adamant that he needed one last hard workout before Pikes.
Despite trying to focus my energies on running a little faster post Western States, everything I do in that regard has generally been feeling labored, unnatural and uncomfortably painful. Whereas I was gliding up Towers in under 30 minutes off a diet of heavy mountain mileage prior to Western States, I suffered as much as I think I ever have on the hill this Thursday for a thoroughly dissatisfying 30:04.
With a gifted entry into the Rat Race 5k this morning, therefore, I was looking for a bit of a confidence boost, but with nobody to watch Alistair, I had to go with the only option available to me which was to borrow my neighbors rickety old baby jogger and push. I figured anything under 18 minutes would qualify as a confidence booster.
However, on arrival in Ault, where the race was taking place, I promptly threw time goals out the window when I realized how windy of a morning it was. Chatting with Jenn Malmberg at the start line, I figured sub-19 would in fact be a worthy effort on the morning.
I felt borderline ludicrous lined up at the front of the race behind the wheels of the baby jogger, but I had to do it that way to avoid taking people down from behind in the mad scramble that is the start of a 5k race. To reduce aggravation for all involved I made sure to line up at the far left of the field in hopes that I could get away quickly enough that I wouldn't block people behind me and that I could also avoid clipping heels in front. I think I caught one pair of heels, but that was the worst of it.
With the first mile being mainly downhill, I was able to hang on to the chase pack with relative ease, splitting a 5:40. Even more amazing was that I was able to negotiate the tractor ditches through the farm fields at a sub-6 pace, while not tipping the stroller. The second mile, which was not only cross country, but also included a stop to readjust Alistair's dragging blanket, split at 5:56. However, the third uphill mile into a strong headwind just about killed me. That kind of wind is bad enough when trying to cut one's skinny frame through it, but pushing a not very streamlined stroller through it was just painful. The last 1.1 miles of the race split at 7:33. Ouch.
I gave myself an A- on effort overall with a note suggesting that I 'could do better'. With a well-oiled stroller that doesn't have an evil pull to the right on a course without too many turns and entirely on asphalt, I think I could get within 30 seconds of my PR while pushing. Today, however, I was faced with a few too many challenges so had to settle for a 19:10, which by default becomes my baby jogger 5k PR.
Alistair was pretty geeked about the whole deal as we were driving out to the race in Ault, but by the third mile into the headwind he had thrown his blanket over his head, suggesting that he just wanted it to be over. He had a much better time in the kids obstacle course race.
The marathon world record holder in the baby jogger division (2:32), Zac Freudenberg, goes up the Big Hill next Saturday in the Ascent. I'm thinking those baby jogger workouts will work in his favor, hence I have him in my top 10 for the Pikes Peak predication contest over at RunColo. Go check it out for a chance to win some shoes, a Highgear watch and other cool gear.