After a 14-hour drive back from Vegas yesterday, I decided this morning to make up for the zero day by blowing off a bit of steam at the Poudre River Run, a local 5k supporting the Animal House Shelter.
The course was a straight out and back on the Poudre bike path (one 180 cone turn at the half) and the weather was pretty much perfect. Given the course and conditions, I figured I'd have a decent shot at running in the 16:30 range.
John, the race director, had already told me that Mike Chavez, Japheth Ng'ojoy and Mark (Horsecow) Lonac were running -- all guys who should beat me handily in a 5k -- and then warming up on the course, I saw that Sam Malmberg was also there, which was good as he is typically around my pace.
As expected, the race got out fast from the gun, and by the time we were off the Cache La Poudre High School track and on to the bike path there was already a pack of four guys putting a gap on me. Through the first, ever so slightly downhill mile, I was pretty surprised to be keeping Mike and Japheth reasonably close, but even more surprised to have split a 5:10. Through this first five minutes, a couple of the guys in the lead pack came back to me, while Horsecow (who was sporting a nifty pair of cow-print speedos) and another guy I didn't recognize went by. I think I was in fifth at the turn, which I hit in 8:10.
As I was hanging close to Horsecow's bovine cheeks through the second mile, I figured I was holding a decent pace, but splitting a 5:29 I was clearly paying for the hot first mile. The third mile was a process of reminding myself to keep pushing and then forgetting that I was supposed to be pushing before hitting the gas again and then once again forgetting (conveniently) that discomfort was a good thing. I figured I'd split 5:30 again for the third, but alas the slide was bad today and it hit in a sludgy 5:37. With the 35 second final .1, I crossed the line in a disappointing 16:52 for my worst-paced race in quite some time: 5:10, 5:29, 5:37 (8:10, 8:42).
Mike Chavez won easily in 15:20, followed by Japheth 20-30 seconds later, and third (Brooks Cowan) in 16:16. Horsecow, who I assume is out of shape right now, put a few seconds on me towards the end, finishing in 16:41. Pete scored a PR with a solid 18:20 while Jenn Malmberg picked up some cash (later donated to Animal House) for her second place finish. Her husband Sam was a few seconds behind me.
Warmed down with Sam, Jenn and Pete for four additional miles and 10 on the morning/60 on the week. I don't plan on running much tomorrow, so thankfully I've been able to keep a lid on the volume this week as I get ready for American River next weekend. While I didn't run what I wanted today, I was pleased that my legs felt significantly lighter than last weekend. It sill feels like there's some sludge in there, but I'm hopeful that they'll be good and peppy after another lighter week next week.