Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ladies & Gentlemen, The Smokin' Lamp is...ON!

The rocket got lit at the quarter mile and I was on one heck of a ride. I didn't dare look down, oxygen gone, just blue lights as the world blurred...

Salmon Festival 5k Results: Win in 17:06

What a race. Disclaimer upfront: I think the course is a few yards short of a true 5k. I've called the distance 3.05 miles in my log to be conservative.

The Eastport Salmon Day 5k began at 9:30 with a blip from the lead cruiser's siren. The crowd rushed down the hill. At a quarter mile the street turns sharp left and I was pacing behind the lead 3. Ignition. I wasn't waiting around. And without a thought for consequences the rockets were lit and I took off like the finish was in sight.

I redlined immediately and was past mile one in 5:35. I was starting to wonder whose body I had borrowed when I didn't fall apart. My mouth open, breathing hard, spittle making its way out on its own, I tore down every decline and battled the next three rolling hills with a steep one at 1.75 miles. I was running as fast as I thought I could.

But there was more. I topped the steep hill and onto County Road - 1/4 mile slight up, 1/4 mile slight down. I had no idea where my competition was. I didn't look left, right, or behind. Nowhere but on the blue lights of the police cruiser ahead of me. I dug. Like a wild man running I hit the marker in 5:17 (short?) and then pushed and pushed and pushed to the end of County Road where the course dives.

Where's the death??? I couldn't believe I was still trucking at the red line. Occasionally, I felt like I was struggling but I kept finding more. Each time I'd doubt I'd just push a little harder. Just willing myself to fall apart.

Down a steep hill I forced myself to lean as forward as possible and avoid the "rest" that is so tempting. Sharp turn left and up and I thought "here it comes" but death held off allowing me to crest the hill just above my neighborhood.

Adreneline rush! Oxygen or no, I kept it together. As soon as I was around the corner I felt the rushing
approach of fatigue. I struggled up a small rise to the old railroad bed for the final 1/4 mile to the finish. A final push but no kick brought it to an end 48 seconds faster than my best time here in '04 and my fastest pace in a race since I was 20 years old.

The miles are paying off.

I guess I can say the race went to "strategy" since my plan (if there was one) was to run hard the 1st mile, faster the second, and pour it on for the third. I've been planning to run in this manner after my 3x1 mile repeats last weekend. I kept thinking that if I could only string 3 miles together at my maximum, what a good race I would have. Then I started dreaming about the race all week. In each of these dreams the same part of the course (the 1/2 mile stretch on County Road) was the main focus. In the dream I'd push and push and push to the point of exhaustion - and I'd wake up tired.

The difference between this race and the other Salmon Day 5k's I have run is this time I wanted to test the "non-tiring" aspect of Lydiard training. Was it really true that the training could bring you to a level where you could hold your limit longer? Sure enough. I didn't feel like I could move much quicker but the burning in the lungs was gone. When I finally started to feel the wave of fatigue it was in the legs not the lungs. So I took a chance and ran at a level that previously would have been unsustainable for 2 miles let alone 3.

3.05 miles in 17:06. No HR data as my strap came loose in that 1st quarter mile and I had to ditch it.


Blogger Mike said...

You are awesome Andrew. It's very hard to win and you did it in style. I'm sure you've already looked up what a 17 flat 5K guy should run for the marathon. I hate those types of race predictors, but hell, it's inspiration! I was so pleased to read this post and see how the training has paid off in a real and concrete way, well beyond the clinical BPM at certain paces.

Make sure to celebrate a little, these chances don't come often! And you've earned it.

9/10/2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger David said...

Wow weee! Awesome. As someone unsuccessfully chasing a sub-18:00 5K for 2 years, I'm impressed. Congrats! I think I need more miles.

9/11/2006 12:07 AM  
Blogger Thomas said...

What a race. And a win! Congratulations. The hard work is truly paying off, and you didn't get a half-bad speedwork into your legs that way.

9/11/2006 5:03 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

Hey, leaving Ozzie at the 1/4 mile mark and not looking back is no small feat - especially on this course with the soul sucking hill before turning on County Road. Well done my friend!

9/11/2006 7:28 AM  
Blogger Love2Run said...

Ha Andrew! What a good read and you're plan was so . . . like you. Run hard and then run harder, great! And well deserved after all those early mornings.

9/11/2006 7:29 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Great job Andrew. I like your race strategy. I have the run the first mile hard thing down to a tee, it's those next two things that I have problems with.


9/12/2006 10:41 AM  
Blogger Arcaner said...

congrats on the win. That's a great time!

9/13/2006 9:59 PM  

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