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Lake Balboa Turkey Trot - Run5k

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Van Nuys, California
United States
Try-Us Events
75F / 24C
Total Time = 25m 40s
Overall Rank = 130/500+
Age Group = M30-39
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

My first ever 5k! I started running back in July, did one sprint triathlon in September, then focussed on this 5k using a running plan from the web. I have been consistently upping my mileage, and was up to around 15 miles per week for the last few weeks. I definately felt like I was ready to set a nice solid baseline 5k time.

We woke up about 7am and I had a PBJ sandwich and a banana while driving over the 20 minutes from my in-laws house with my wife, parked, and waited around for the start. Smooth and uneventful, we had picked up our race packets the night before at a local running store.
Event warmup:

With about 20 minutes till the start, I jogged over to the nearby park to use the bathroom (the 2 porta potties at the race site had a massive line) and back, about a 15 minute warmup of just over a mile or so. I felt good, everything was loose and ready to go. Unfortunately I then stood around for about 20 minutes as the race was delayed for some reason for a while.
  • 25m 40s
  • 3.11 miles
  • 08m 15s  min/mile

I was caught off guard a bit by the gun, there was no countdown or anything, and it was like 20 minutes late, so it's not like we knew when to expect it... Anyway, I was midway back and off to the side chatting with my wife when the gun went off. It took me probably 15 seconds to even reach the start banner (which is when I hit my stopwatch), and it was then VERY congested for the first 1/2 mile or so. Over 500 runners on a narrow path. I ran on the right edge of the trail, mostly in the grass/dirt on the side. At the one mile sign, I looked at my watch and saw 7:45! I was unsure of the implications of this, as it's faster than I've ever run a mile before. My fastest first mile in any training runs had been 8:00. I backed off a little bit in fear of blowing up on the final mile. For the second mile, out and around the turn around, I was passing a person every now and then, and getting passed about the same amount. My focus was on running smooth with a nice quick cadence, and trying to push a little harder than was comfortable. At the 2 mile mark I was passed by a runner looking super smooth and steady, and just a little faster than I was running at that point. I latched on to his pace, and followed about 10 yeards behind. I was hurting by now, every once in a while I'd pick out a small target up the road, and focus on running hard just to that target. Then pick another one. And so on... With about 1/2 mile to go, I started chanting 'Body Blow, Body Blow' in my head, my legs were feeling dead, but I could keep a nice cadence up if I really threw my arms forward like I was, well, throwing a body blow. It seemed to help, I may have even said it out loud a few times I'm not sure... At the final corner, I dropped the hammer. Really, it was more of a soft rubber mallet at this point, but I kicked with all I had. I passed the guy I was pacing off of, and a few others before the line. I have to admit, I totally forgot to check my watch when I crossed, but the race clock had me at 25:50 or so. Later my official scored time was 25:40, not sure why the difference but it probably better reflects reality since I was so buried at the beginning anyway.

So, I crossed the line with nothing left. My heart rate was over 170 (I never see that in training) and I couldn't get any air. Judging by the (relatively) strong kick, I guess I could have pushed a little more, but really I am VERY pleased. My first 5k, and I ran it faster than any practice runs I've done (my best practice 5k time was 26:10).
What would you do differently?:

Start closer to the front so I don't have to pass a bunch of people in the first 1/2 mile.
Post race
Warm down:

I didn't really do much, just hugged my kids for a photo, and walked around. My two girls (5 and 7) were doing a 1k run about 30 minutes after my 5k so I hung out with them and made sure they were at the start, and knew where to go.

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

It's my first 5k so I don't have much to compare it to, but it seemed like they were massively overwhelmed. I was not exactly pokey, finishing in 25:40, but they were already out of water when I went to get a cup after the race. What?!? And they were about 20 minutes behind at the start, I think because there were so many morning registrants and the signup line was moving slow all morning.

In the kids 1k run, they ran out of medals!! Totally inexcusable. Run out of water? Fine. Short on T-Shirts, no big deal. Only hand out finisher medals to the first 3/4 of the kids field? (sorry kid, you were too slow today, no medal for you but your sister got one). That was messed up, and left a sour taste in a lot of families mouthes. Either give one to every kid, or to no kids (or just the top three). But don't say everyone gets a medal, then run out. You know how many entrants you have. You know how many medals you have. How fricken hard is it to figure that one out?

Last updated: 2009-11-09 12:00 AM
00:25:40 | 03.11 miles | 08m 15s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/500+
Performance: Good
Course: Out and back on concrete, very slight hill at the end of miles 1 and 2. Fast course, from what I was told.
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2009-11-29 7:07 PM

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Subject: Lake Balboa Turkey Trot

2009-11-30 12:08 PM
in reply to: #2534955

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W. Bridgewater, MA
Subject: RE: Lake Balboa Turkey Trot
Congrats on your first 5K!  I started running in April of this year, and did my first 5K on May 2.  You had a great time for your first.  Mine was 26:48 for my first.  I have gotten faster as I trained, and have a 5K time of 22:54.  I did the same thing as you as far as starting out that first mile a little fast, but then back off a little so I wouldn't be dead that last mile.  That's great you have already done a sprint tri.  I would like to train for one maybe next year.
2009-12-01 12:12 AM
in reply to: #2535936

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Subject: RE: Lake Balboa Turkey Trot
well, to be fair the Tri I did was a Super sprint, 400 yds, 8mi, 2mi... 

I did a LOT of running (for me, anyway, 50 miles/month for the last 2 months) in prep for this 5k, and am now feeling ready to tackle a bigger tri.  I'm starting an Olympic training plan next Monday in prep for an early season Xterra offroad Triathlon next year.

it's funny, in September I'd have definately said that running was my weakest leg, and the one that I was most worried about with regards to moving up to a longer triathlon.  After a couple of months focusing on running, I'm now very confident about my abilities on the run, and more worried about the bike and swim. 
2009-12-01 9:58 AM
in reply to: #2537024

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W. Bridgewater, MA
Subject: RE: Lake Balboa Turkey Trot
That's great!  I didn't realize there was a super sprint.  I don't know a lot about tri's, I've never done one, but hope to next year.  I need to get my swimming down.  I've only trained on a exercise bike so far, but I recently bought a used Trek road bike, and can't wait to get out there and train with the real thing.

Good luck with your Olympic training!
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