Since my whole little "running" project began in January, my best mile has been 9 minutes and 30 seconds, and that was pushing it. My average time for the whole year is a little over 10 minutes a mile (~10:02 or something). I knew I could do better than this in the race so my goal was to run the whole race in under 30 minutes, which would calculate to just under 10 minutes a mile since the distance was actually 3.1 miles. Here is a link to the actual route: Arnold 5k Classic 2007 Route (opens in Google Earth)
When the siren sounded, we all took off (see image at right). For the first 20 yards or so, I basically just went with the flow and kept the pace of the herd. I mainly focused on finding my own little running area; it was extremely crowded when we all started moving. Once I found my space, I decided to pick up my pace right away. I cut outside the racers and dug for about 30 seconds; I probably passed 15 or more racers. Once I got back into the crowd I held a comfortable pace that was much quicker than what I typically run at. When we got to our first mile, I hit my timer on my watch and it read 8 minutes and 12 seconds! WHAT!?!?! That wasn't hard at all...
This only motivated me to keep the pace going through my second mile and try to get the same (possibly better) results. Every minute or two I would burst for 10 seconds or so to try and pass a couple of people; after each burst, I kept my fast pace so not to loose any ground. It worked! My second mile was 7 minutes and 47 seconds!! HOLY COW!!??
By this point, I was pretty well spent. I was gasping for air heavily and my legs were telling me to slow the pace down a little bit. The air was still real cold and each breath was a big "wheeeeze". I decided that I wasn't going to kill myself this morning, so I slowed down my pace a little bit and let some of the racers that I just pass pass me. I slowed down just enough to let 5 or 10 runners get by me. Every now and again, I would pick up speed when my lungs aloud it. As we were reaching the last turn, I knew I had to really dig to keep my 9 minute pace so I took off my toboggan to get some cold air on my head and I took out my ear buds so I could hear when someone was coming up behind me. This worked too. Whenever I heard someone getting close to me, I increased my stride distance just enough to loose them again. I'm sure this had to drive them crazy. :) I did this off and on for the last 1/2 mile, and nobody passed me the rest of the race.
As we made the last turn, I dug as hard as I could and just focused on the finish line. I was keeping my eyes open for Jennifer and the girls, hoping that they would be there to cheer me on, but I never found them. I did (however) see my cousin Bobbie who has been a runner since middle school. If you do a Google search for Bobbie Hardbarger, you will see her name everywhere. She has broken countless running records over the years in so many different running events; she actually got a scholarship to Akron University for her excellence in running. The fact that she was there cheering me on meant everything to me at that moment (sounds silly, yes... but it's true).
I crossed the finish line at 26 minutes and 25 seconds!! I would have NEVER guessed that I would have done that good... Here were my stats:
- First Mile: 8:12
- Second Mile: 7:47
- Third Mile: 9:36
- Last 1/10: 0:50 (on pace to 8:20)
I'm scheduled to race another 5k on March 17th up at Polaris for the Shamrock Shuffle. I'm hoping to get my time down to the 25 minute mark now that I know my personal limits...
Click here: http://www.fairfieldphoto.com/2007Arnold5k/ and select 'Race Bib 237' in the combo box. If you do place an order, I'll sign the photo for you. Also, the race results are finally posted and my time is showing as 26:25 (104th place for mens group and 132nd over all). The time did not match my originally estimated 25:46 time, but there is a big story behind that... I updated my numbers on this blog post (namely the 3rd mile pace, as it was roughly calculated to begin with) and my average mile is still a stellar 8 minutes and 31 seconds.
Needless-to-say, I'm extremely excited about my first race results and miles 1 and 2 were far beyond my expectations. I see this whole event as a huge success for me on many levels!