living in the now

Still rambling about running. Sometimes other things.

Filtering by Tag: Stars and Stripes 5k

You take the good, you take the bad ...

5K time in my @altrarunning Instincts. #RunChat

A photo posted by David H. (@runningbecause) on

It's really difficult to find the right word or phrase to describe my current state of running. 

Saturday's Stars and Stripes 5K in Howland, Ohio, was, by pure overall timing standards, the worst of the four I've done. I kind of expected that anyway. 

I didn't approach it as a race though. There was no reason to since I'm not an racing shape. It was, however, an opportunity to right some wrongs so I could walk away with some plans to get back to better shape and to be in a better place mentally. 

My overall goal was to turn this into a progressive run -- I haven't done much speedwork in the past few months, so running every mile faster than the last for a 5K seemed like a good basic place to start. 

After accidentally leaving my watch at my in-laws house, my goal became even more challenging ... or did it make my approach better? I've always believed in running by feel rather than what's watch tells me, but it's been so long since I've had that approach. 

At mile 1, the clock read 8:25. It felt slow, but that's a good thing with this approach. At mile 2, the clock read 16:25 (8 minutes for mile 2). At the finish, it was 24:49 (a 7:38 pace for the final 1.1). 

It felt amazing to finish a race strong. It's been way too long since I walked away from an event feeling good about the second half of a race. In the past two years I've started way too many races too fast and end up being mad at myself for a horrible pacing strategy. 

I am, however, disappointed that I was a couple of minutes slower than last year's event and that I've let myself get out of racing shape. I think that a race like this in which I'm ecstatic over one part of it and not so happy about another part is a good thing.

I need the motivation to get back to a level I used to be, so perhaps this is a spark to get to better things. I'll only know by running more and racing again relatively soon ... 

Stars, stripes and motivation

Stars and Stripes 5k Howland, OhioAfter a rough couple of months and probably one of the biggest running funks I've ever been in, I returned today to the site of where I set a 5k PR a couple of years ago -- the Stars and Stripes 5k in Howland, Ohio. I didn't think too much about setting a goal for this race other than using it as a test to see what kind of shape I'm in.

I'm a long way off from the type of 5k racing shape I'd like to be in, but I'm also not starting from scratch. I just needed some kind of bar to set headed into the second half of the year.

I figured that setting a goal of 24 minutes would be realistic. It's kind of disappointing that I'm not going for sub 22 at this point in the year, but I'm not battling reality anymore.

The race started off well. I fell into a comfortable group and thought I'd keep that pace for a while, only to look at my watch at the first turn and realize I didn't start it.

I took it off, put it in my pocket. Time to really fulfill that 2013 goal of mine by not wearing a watch in a race.

When I hit the first mile and the guy was calling out mile times, I was feeling pretty good. I was right at 7:45.

In the next mile I found myself pacing just behind a guy in a blue shirt. He kept looking back a bit, but I was very much running his race, not mine. And I knew that I was probably pushing myself more than I would have had I had my watch.

At mile 2, I was at 15:20. One thing was going through my head at this point -- don't fade away. Dropping off in the second half of races or the final few miles has been my biggest downfall in the past year. I wasn't going to walk away from this race letting myself down again.

When I rounded the corner for the final tenth of a mile or so, I passed a guy who had passed me a quarter mile earlier, then two other guys dusted me as they were fighting neck and neck. I saw that clock and kept my focus on sub 24.

I saw 23:49 when I crossed the finish clock, so give or take a few seconds, I hit my goal.

I have some mix feelings about it -- on one hand I'm ecstatic that coming out of a low point with running I can run a 7:40 pace 5k with a strong finish; on the other hand being 90 seconds slower than 2 years ago is disappointing.

It's my own undoing with the shape I'm in right now, but it's also motivation to turn things around in the next couple of months. I can feel myself breaking out of this both physically and mentally, and now I have to get to work making things happen.