Whew...what a race! I knew going in that it was going to be a tough course. The race was advertised as a "flat, shaded, and entirely in the country," well at least they got two out of three right. The person making the claim that the course was flat must've just looked at the net elevation gained/lost--this was pretty much a loop course, so of course the net elevation change is going to be about 0!
As I was saying, I knew it would be tough going in. I found the course on USATF.com and mapped it on MapMyRun.com, to get an idea as to what it would be like. My coworker, Darren, who also ran it (new PR and not only his first sub 30:00 5K, but his first sub 29:00 5k!), took a look at the course using Google Earth, which gave us great feedback on the elevation throughout the course. Fast, downhill start, pretty flat for the next mile and a half, and then uphill for the rest of the race.
In my Pacing the Buffalo Boogie post, I posed the question as to what approach to take for this race. In the end, I decided to go out a little faster than normal, since there was the nice downhill for the first .35 mile. The hope was that I would gain some valuable time, without using up too much extra energy, and then I'd be able to afford to lose a little time in the uphill final mile plus of the race.
Right on time, at 8:30 AM, we were off. As planned, I went out fast, and Darren initially started out even faster. I pulled even with him and let him know we were running a low 7 minute mile pace, at which point he pulled up just a bit. I really tried to hold that pace, but soon found myself running 6:20/mile pace by the bottom of the hill--probably just a little too fast, as I was sucking air already. I spent most of the rest of the first mile trying to recover, while still holding my pace at around 8:00/mile.
The second mile was nice and shaded, though the sun wasn't out, and with the temperature at 75°F, with near 80% humidity, it really didn't matter. Mile 2 was mostly rolling, and never really afforded me a chance to get comfortable. The goal here was to not lose any time to my 8:32 overall pace, which would be necessary to hit my current PR of 26:31. Towards the end of mile 2 we begin the uphill towards the finish.
Mile 3 was as advertised, if not slightly worse. It went up, and up, and up. I was suffering. I had to walk. 3 times. I've not done that before in a race. Somewhere between 2.6 and 2.8, I walked 3 times, for a total of 30-40 seconds. Could I have gone sub-26:00 without walking? I don't know. Maybe. I feel like such a wuss for walking. I can't believe I gave into that little voice that is always sitting there saying "you've done good, it would be okay to walk now." I even took some water at the second water stop, which was somewhere around the 2.5 mark.
In the end, I was able to pull some time back in the final .25 mile, and come through the uphill finish without walking anymore, spewing, or collapsing. My chip time for the Buffalo Boogie is 26:25.76--a new PR! I even passed a few of the folks that I had been running with, who I figured were long gone when I started walking.
Here are the official results: 2008 Buffalo Boogie Age Group Results (It goes straight to my age group--4th place!)
It's funny. I did a 5K today and as I was waiting for the gun I was thinking about your post! I went out fast as well and then hung on at the end to set a new PR too, but my course was flat all the way! Well done on yours!
Posted by AndrewE on 5/10/2008 11:20:58 PM
Dude, way to go. You had the worst possible situation with the heat and the hills. And its always too easy to go out to hard, but you held on. You'll be sub 25:00 5k before you know it. Id run some midweek (once a week) intervals, and you'll be there before you know it.
Posted by kevin on 5/11/2008 10:02:11 PM
Bryan You have great timing. Just as you were sending me that message, i was writing a post on that very subject on the Top 10 in my age group. I used to work with the guy who keeps that list and I emailed him today when I found out I was on the list.
Posted by kevin on 5/13/2008 12:50:18 AM