By far the most fun I’ve ever had at a race, the challenge was four, individual 5ks on the same course. It sounds kinda lame, but the idea behind it for me was to test pacing and see how quickly I could recover.
The course is relatively flat, but does have a few inclines. It loops you around like a lasso and takes you out along the coast, but for a 5k effort scenery isn’t something I pay much attention to. Those who sign up for just one 5k (the majority) are separated into four categories (the four races): Masters Men, Masters Women, Mixed Gender Age 30-39, and Mixed Gender Age 29 & Under.
The race schedule gave me a 35 minute break in between race 1 and 2, a 45 minute break between 2 and 3, and a 2 HOUR break between 3 and 4. I made a nutrition plan based on those recovery times. My goal was to keep a steady effort for each one, with an overall time of 1:20:00. My age group race was the last one of the day so I knew a PR wasn’t likely, but I didn’t know what that 2 hour gap would do to me, so I wasn’t going to completely give up on it yet.
The first race went rather smoothly, in 18:53. I felt I could have went harder, but I didn’t want to crash and burn. The second race 19:05, and the third, 19:11. I was really happy with how close my times were and with how I felt. It wasn’t too hard to stay loose in-between and my stomach stayed happy with the nutrition plan. But now I had a 2 hour break…
The break stiffened me up and I really felt the fatigue. I realized even though this race was my age group race, I wasn’t going to be able to make it fast. However, I was having too much fun to get disappointed by that and I had a pretty good buffer to still make my time goal. The final race began and my first mile was fine (6:01), but the 2nd and 3rd I just couldn’t hack it. I finished in 19:20.
What made this race so much fun were the people – you got to hang out between the races and enjoy the company of other like-minded crazies. And even though not many of my old track club running buddies did the 20k option, a lot of them were there for their age group and it was great seeing them, too. Typically, races aren’t “hang outs” but this one was. It is not a race to go for a personal best, unless you really want to crash and burn, but it is a really good interval session, especially for marathon training. I was really happy with my results and my pacing, beat my time goal and held cadence over 180 for all four races. I may even use this idea in training again someday.
Overall: 5th of 259
Female: 2nd of 137
Age Division: 1st of 15