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Birch Bay Road Race - 5k - Run

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Blaine, Washington
United States
Total Health Events
48F / 9C
Total Time = 22m
Overall Rank = 5/120
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 1/6
Pre-race routine:

I was pretty sick the last two days and was up most of the night coughing but couldn't pass up a good local race. Before I got sick I felt I was in a position for a 5k PR and mentally just couldn't let the race go. I decided not to drink my usual morning cup of coffee or eat any food. I was still a little queasy and did not want to get sick midrace.
Event warmup:

Jogged about a mile and then did a few run drills. It was windy and cold so didn't spend any more time outside then I had to before the race.
  • 22m
  • 3.17 miles
  • 06m 56s  min/mile

I've been building for a marathon next week and wanted to run this race as one last test to gauge how my run focused winter had gone. Nobody really wanted to get on the front row as we lined up for the start. It was chip timed but wasn't sure if they would use gun time for OA awards so I hopped right in. There was a young lady next to me that had some numbers written on her backhand and the last number was 15:28 so I had to ask. "Are those your splits. I saw 15:28 and didn't want to get in your way." She said that they were her splits and the last number was for 4 kilometers with a goal of 19:30 to 20:00. I wished her luck and the gun went off.

One guy took off at a sprint and just kept pulling away. He easily won overall by several minutes. I settled into a pack of 5 or 6 others. The start was into a headwind so I kept trying to duck in behind someone and draft. I couldn't quite stay with the first three and the next two were behind me so I slowed a bit and let them in front and pulled back in behind. First half mile split was 3:10 so its a good thing I pulled up a bit as there is no way I could maintain 6:20. I hit next split at 3:20 so 6:30 first mile and I felt very relaxed and strong.

Hit the first turn around and started reeling in the young lady from the starting line. I kept thinking I was going too fast to be passing her given her stated goal. Slowed to about 6:45 and decided the heck with it she must not be having a great day and I passed her. I put a pretty good gap on her and with the rabbit and next two folks too far ahead to catch I figured I'd hold pace and just cruise the last mile.

The second turnaround was at 2.25 miles into the race and there was just a faint arrow on the pavement. As I turned I heard a course worker who was standing about 10 yards past the turnaround near an intersection yell "turn around here." I stopped, went back and asked where I was supposed to turn. She said I was fine and she was just yelling where to turn for the others coming up the road behind me. I just saw my gap evaporate as I headed for home right into a 20 mph headwind. My recent illness, the break in concentration, and the wind just hit me like a ton of bricks. I don't know how I managed to keep going. I know I went out fast but I felt so strong up until that point. On any other day I think I could have held it together. One guy caught and passed me on the last hill right before the finish. Rats. That was 3rd OA male I just lost. One other lady was ahead so that left me with fifth. I had mixed feeling about it. On the one hand I really felt good through most of the race and even at 6:30ish pace I felt pretty relaxed. It gave me a tremendous amount of confidence for another 5k coming up in about a month. I know I can hold it together under better circumstances and don't think I went out too fast because if I had not been sick things would have been different that last .75 miles. The course was about 30-45 seconds long and the goof up at the turn cost me another 10-15 seconds so that would have put me close to a PR. Wow, that's sounds like a lot of excuses. Oh well, I had a lot of fun and can look forward to next weeks race.

What would you do differently?:

It would have been a good idea to have run more of the course in warmup or at least scouted out the turn around points as this has been a problem at this venue and I knew better.
Post race
Warm down:

Drank some coffee and waited around for awards. Took home a plaque for 1st place Masters and a blue AG ribbon. Skipped the post race beers after meeting up for lunch with my family as I was headed to the pool later to get a swim in.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Being sick with a bad cold leading up to the race had a big impact on my last mile. I need to stay more focused on my own race and be more confident in my on course decision making.

Event comments:

This is a great early season event.

Last updated: 2014-03-29 12:00 AM
00:22:00 | 03.17 miles | 06m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/6
Overall: 5/120
Performance: Good
Course: Flat road course that was two out and backs on Birch Bay Drive along the beach. One short hill just before the finish.
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2014-03-29 5:53 PM

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: Birch Bay Road Race - 5k

2014-03-30 5:03 AM
in reply to: #4973388

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Birch Bay Road Race - 5k

Great race, Steve....sounds like the fates got you a little bit the last mile but you can tell the winter run focus has really helped.  Holding a 6:30 pace, huh?  You'll  be sniffing sub-20 soon!

2014-03-31 9:18 AM
in reply to: #4973388

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Subject: RE: Birch Bay Road Race - 5k

It actually doesn't "sound like a lot of excuses" -- it sounds like you're thinking critically and fairly about your performance :)

Many would not have raced with the preceeding two days you had, but you still toed the line and still had a very good run.  I think you should feel very confident about both your mary and your next 5K.  You've put in real, consistent work, and it's totally paid off.  Nice job Steve.


2014-03-31 12:42 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Birch Bay Road Race - 5k

You've been a racing machine!

Nice work. Now rest of. Can't wait to hear about the next one!

2014-03-31 6:01 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Birch Bay Road Race - 5k

That is a GREAT result.  Full stop.


Don't sweat the turn - just learn from it, and your next one will be even mo' great.  


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