Saturday, July 4, 2009

FireKracker 5k

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.


  1. I imagine going from a 100 mile race to a 5k has to be hard on those legs! Well done!

    I like the fact that you are willing to mix it up in races of all distances.

  2. I've never actually done a 5k, but I've found that warming up a couple miles and then hammering three more is good recovery from 50+ mile races.
    It's so soon after Bighorn, no doubt.
    Now I'm dealing with serious envy that you get to run the Leadville Marathon. My injuries will not allow it. I'll be at Hard Rock, so I won't even get to watch you. Good luck.

  3. I ran the Firecracker too and my daughters did the kid's race...surprised I didn't see you! Well, not surprised I didn't see you in the 5k since I was far behind! Kyle

  4. Kyle - Nice job, and way to edge out a five time Olympic marathon trials qualifier. I thought it was a tough course (all things being relative) with a ton of turns and some sneaky ups.

    Jeff - Have fun at Hardrock. It's looking like it'll be a competitive and interesting race up front. Too bad you won't be at Leadville - it's a fun race.

    Simon - I train almost exclusively on trail these days, but also enjoy racing roads as you rarely get to fully open up on the trail. Plus, there is nowhere to hide on the roads. What it says in black and white in the results at the end of the day is what you had.

  5. Holy crap - a 5k right after a 100 ... that is pretty impressive. I can think of a lot of things I'd probably ought to rather do for 18 minutes than cover a 5k after a century.

  6. Nice job. Very similar to my report from the Leadville 5K, minus a few minutes per mile. Good luck in the marathon!

  7. LOL about Alistair not getting chicked in the last 20m. Good job, Alistair! :)

    Good job too Nick. It's hard for me to imagine being disappointed with a 17:52 considering that I ran one of my best 5ks in Colorado ever and still came in over 19 minutes!

    15:05 for Kenny in college... WOW!

  8. Yup, Kenny is a speedster - at least when he's in shape ;-)