Sunday, October 28, 2007

Strides 5k- Day after Hartford Marathon

I don't usually go out of order, but hey, it's my blog/private record of my races and training.

I really wasn't expecting to run a 5K the day after the marathon. Margit was running the Strides 10K for the Pfizer team, and there aren't too many opportunities for us to run back to back races. The 10K was at 10AM, with the 5K at 11:30. I needed the extra recovery time, every minute of it. I had decided after the soreness in my left thigh, my calves, and both hamstrings was simply too much, that even a slow jog was going to be too much and that I should just come home and spin (or take the day off). But Margit gave me an extra little push in the morning, so I threw my Hodska kit on under my race hangout clothes and we piled in the car and headed out to the eastern end of the Nutmeg State.

I should note right up front that all the talent- the Mohegan Striders- ran the 10K. No one would have even noticed me if I ran that race, stumbling in 5 minutes or more after the race winner. Ian and I stood about a quarter mile from the finish- he banging his cowbell and cheering 'go team pfizer' as the 10K unfolded. Margit ran a good time, finished second in her age group, and about twenty minutes before the race, I started warming up.

It did not go well. Aerobically, I was fine, ready to go. But my legs were so sore than after half a mile warmup, the beginning of which was unbearable, that I was pretty sure I was not going to race. It seemed absurd to try.

I did some strides. These felt a lot better than the steady running. I pulled out my Cliff Blocks, ate them, though about it. I'd paid my 15.00 and gotten my t-shirt. I decided, why not ? It's just, unfortunately, the way I'm wired. I can make smart decisions in cases like this, but I rarely do. The night my nose was broken playing dek hockey, I went out, unable to play goalie, but came back in the second half playing center. That just makes me, well, stupid, and not really the good kind of stupid.

I got on the line, took off the headphones, and waited for the two commands. I decided that if I couldn't be smart, I could at least run smart. I didn't go out all out. I worked my through the crowds, but I hung back until I could judge the field and figure out what if anything I could do to control the race. We took a quick left and then went up a fairly reasonable hill. We hooked a right at the top of the hill and a woman master I recognise started to pass me. That was it. I might be hurting, I might be trying to stay patient, but I wasn't about to get beaten by any female masters who don't run for Hitek. I opened up my stride and to be honest, it started to not hurt as the muscles warmed up.

We headed out of the park, hooked another left and there were four people in front of me. I picked them off causually, not speeding up, just doing my job. Then it was there- I was chasing the police car, everyone behind me, stamping out a nice pace. I just ran, hard, hard as I could. The police car finally came to a turn-around in a gigantic circular driveway. I wasn't even sure I should be following him, because he turned strangely in the driveway, looking almost like he was parking. As I passed the bulk of the field going the other way, I heard 'Nice marathon yesterday'.

I never looked back and while it got a little tough in that last mile, I just kept striding out until I broke the tap.

Really, this race is great family event, with two road races, a fitness walk/kids event (all at different times), food sponsored by Outback Stake House (they did have caesar salad), long-sleeve t-shirts. I really recommend this race as a nice way to combine racing and family hang-out time.

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