Every since I started running in my mid-thirties, I've done my share of crazy things, but none more psychotic than the double- two races in one day (or at least twice in one weekend). This year I'd pretty much proven I'd broken away from that way of doing things. I passed up numerous small races getting ready for big races, eschewed races for 90 minute runs and so on. But starting with the marathon-5k weekend, there's been a big racing uptick.
I ran the 8k cross country race last Saturday, then went out Sunday and ran 90 minutes. I took it easy during the week, spinning for 45 minutes and swimming 40 25s in the pool Monday, doing a 10-10-10-10 treadmill/spin Tuesday (which turned out to be good practice running off the bike), and an hour hard on the mountain bike yesterday.
I'd pre-registered for both races but wasn't sure what I'd be doing. Margit had a masters swimming at 6AM and the chance she'd be back for me to do the 5k in Branford wasn't good. However, I pre-registered for both races to avoid crazy last-minute running around, just in case the double came to fruition. Talk about a good idea. Margit got home at 8:10 and by the time I headed out the door it was 8:20. i headed out on the mountain bike- didn't want to get trapped parking- and promptly went the wrong way. After about a minute, I realised my mistake, turned around and booked up the road the other way, my heart rate over 150 (I've been wearing the monitor when I run road races, just to get an idea what I'm doing).
I got there at 8:29, threw the bike down on the side out of the path of the start, and lined-up. the race started about five minutes later. As I get older, and road racing is less central to my racing portfolio, the 5K gets harder and harder. It requires a type of training I don't do, I can't run times I am happy with, and it hurts- a lot, sometimes.
But how could I pass up a 5K that is run on roads near my home, the majority of the roads ones I am on for part of every 90 minute run ?
We headed out from the school going right and there were a lot of high school kids ahead of me. Then JT was ahead of me and JT, being a great runner, well, I knew if I could hang on his heels I might have a good race. The first mile was fast, pretty flat (an uphill, but only noticeable if you know the road). I finally passed JT, and as I was determined to go all out, I want to hold him 2-3 seconds behind me. I picked my way past some high school kids and turned hard at the cone and started to push a little. It's tough when you're on road you can hit 25 mph on your bike on to be running just under 6 minute miles.
I would have guessed that I was in 9-10th place, but I came in 5th, with Margit and Ian cheering me on at the last corner and JT 2-3 seconds behind me. I walked out of the chute, grabbed my bike, checked with Margit. I saw Michael D. finish and immediately was on my way home on the mountain bike. It was 9 am and the Madison race was at 10.
I got home, switched kit, grabbed some clif shot blocks and then Margit came home. I waited as she changed and helped Ian build some railroad tracks, then we were on our way again.
It was 9:35 when we got to Madison and parked. I wasn't worried. I had my chip and my number, but we had to pack Ian in the jogger and register Margit. I ran ahead and filed out her entry and then we got her in the bathroom line. While I was waiting for her I ran into Jen Talon, who watched Ian and all I can say is THANKS ! Brian had told me she'd watch Ian and I'd let Margit know but she'd been a little hesitant as Jen already has two kids. I ran off to get Margit's chip, which she missed when she registered- chaos !
I worked my way to the start and settled in with a bunch of fast guys I knew would beat me. It was hard not to think about how I'd ran a 5k just over an hour ago. Then the race started and the first two things that came to me were- Charlie Hornak passed me and I figured I was in for a 30:30 run and he'd beat me, and I had no fraking clue how the course ran as we headed out towards the park entrance.
I decided to go with the patient style of running and after about a mile point five Charlie started coming back. I passed him then I started passing a bunch of high school kids. We wrapped around back to the start, headed out towards Meigs Point and I was still passing and battling with people. I schooled myself to not push before the turn-around and as we started around it I was 17th. I hit the place where the 4 mile clock was at 23:38 and thought I had a shot at breaking 30. Since I had not broken 18 at the 5K...
I think the 4 mile mark was short. I worked hard to hold on as best I could and still dropped three spots and came 20th, with three more high school kids within 6 seconds. I grabbed Ian right after the race, got a beer from Bill from the Jaycees, and hung out while Margit ran an awesome 36:24. Brian and Jen are just great folks and hanging out with them and Charlie made the race a nice social event as well, and there was plenty of beer !
What did I learn ? I'm not so young anymore, but I am still crazy !