Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sierra's 5k

First off, a thank you to Simon of RunColo for the comp into this race.

There are a ton of races that fundraise for various different charities and causes, and this one was run in memory of a local girl, Sierra, who died two years ago from meningitis. Not only was it run in her memory, but also as a fundraiser for meningitis charities, and in its second year this race attracted a massive (for Northern Colorado) 1,300 runners. It felt like a lot of hard work went into the organization for this race, and they did a great job ensuring people realized why they were there (today was World Meningitis Day). In addition to conveying their message, the organizers had rounded up an army of volunteers and a ton of sponsors. I am guessing this race raised some serious cash, so good for them.

The nitty-gritty: I got to Crossroads Church, which served as race HQ, by about 7:15, giving myslef a good half hour to test my bum calf, which had been giving me some serious grief for a couple of days. It felt very tight, and after doing a couple of striders I had serious doubts about starting the race, but figured I'd give it a go and pull out if the pain got too intense.

From the gun, I found myself running in first - exactly where I didn't want to be - but nobody seemed too interested in setting the pace, and I felt aerobically comfortable. The calf hurt, but not to the point where I was concerned about doing serious damage. Halfway through the first mile, the eventual winner came cruising by, and I could tell by the smoothness in his stride that there was no way I would keep pace. Steve Folkerts and another guy also passed me by the end of the first mile, which I went through in 5:29. The pace felt good, and I figured I might have a shot at dipping below 17 minutes. The second and third mile, however, were slightly uphill, so I slowed even though I was maintaining a consistent effort.

Steve F went after the lead runner, and I was content to let them both go so I could focus on third, who had a ten meter gap on me half way through the second mile. I was in a pack of three guys at this point, one of whom - Doug Bell - looked to be about twenty years my senior. Doug and I dropped the other guy running with us by the end of the second mile, which I clocked at 5:47. I was pretty disappointed to see this split, but I wasn't going to sweat it with my calf the way it was. Through the third mile, I put a bit of distance between myself and Doug, but was making no ground on third. I felt like I could have pushed harder on this mile, but was dubious about being able to pick up third, so not wanting to chance anything injury-wise, I didn't push particularly hard. Went through three miles in 17:00 flat (5:43), and crossed the finish line in 17:32, with Doug in fifth just two seconds behind me.

I was disappointed to fall so far short of 16:5x, but considering I still had the Fruita 50 in my legs and a bum calf, it was a decent result on balance. I wish I could have given it 100% to see exactly where the top-end speed is right now after a winter of 9- to 10-minute mountain miles, but no big deal.

The plan for the upcoming week is to take it very easy, and not run a step until this pain in my calf is gone, which may well mean that I won't run until the Collegiate 50 next Saturday. Considering the work and miles I have put in through the winter, it would be a real shame to not get to the Big Horn start line in June, which remains the main goal for the season. If I have to take a goose egg through the week, then so be it.


  1. Big field indeed! And in only it's 2nd year as a race, good to see they're having success.

  2. Nice work! I was really surprised at how many people showed up, impressive. Sorry I didn't get to introduce myself, I saw you come through at the finish but didn't see you later. I was a bit busy chasing my daughter who was chasing the Chick Fil A Cows around!

  3. Awesome race, Nick -- impressive you were able to run in the mid 17s with an ailing calf! Sounds like your calf is feeling better now plus you will be on trail so really looking forward to hearing how the Crazy Legs 10k went today!