When it rains it pours. No, not at the race today; although skies were threatening, not a drop fell during the Red Lizard Five Miler (at least, not while I was out there). No, I'm talking about my house. Couple of weeks ago it was the washing machine that died. Then last week we discovered the radon problem. Today? Furnace isn't working! Luckily, it's not too cold today and with a couple of electric space heaters and an extra sweater or two we're doing fine until we get a tech out here tomorrow. (It's 65 indoors, up from 63 earlier in the afternoon. Anyway, it could be -5 and I wouldn't pay Sunday emergency-call rates.)
Back to the race: the smell of rain in the air, temps in the low 40s, a tidy crowd of 300 or so runners of various shapes and sizes on hand, including what appeared to be a large contingent of serious racers. (You could tell by their skinniness and their long, speedy warmups. Me? Not skinny, and I didn't do a very good warmup. Maybe that's why my first mile was so painful.) We started near the Foot Traffic in Lake Oswego and in the first quarter mile dropped more than 100 feet down toward the Willamette, then leveled out. I hit the first mile marker in 6:26. Not a bad split, considering I hadn't done any sustained hard running in four months, and my long-shot goal for the day was to come close to my 10K PR pace of 6:41/mile. But I could feel this pace was definitely not going to be sustainable, not even close. (I wasn't the only one out too fast; it was painfully obvious that many people in front of me and around me had let enthusiasm or optimism supplant good sense. After the first quarter mile, nobody passed me, and I must have passed 25 runners.)
Mile 2 was a more realistic if disappointing 7:00. Well, you see the numbers up above. I'm fine with the time, but a little surprised at the hurt it took to get it done. I guess that's what happens when your heart rate is at 85-95% of max for a half-hour or so:
Not that it was an easy run. First the big plunge out of the chute, then pretty flat, then a gentle climb that regained most of the loss, then a downhill, then, at 3.3 miles, a very steep climb—kind of the reserve of that opening drop, more than 100 feet up in not even a quarter mile, then largely flat or slight decline to the finish. My quads were feeling pretty whipped that last couple tenths of the race. Of course, I did not taper at all for this race, and was probably still recovering from my sprints last week, or my bike rides the last few days. Nevertheless, it was great to race, and a nonfat chocolate milk and some Dave's Killer Bread with cream cheese immediately afterward had me feeling good. It didn't really fit into the Ironman training, except in one important way: It was fun. Gotta have some fun along the way.
Photo courtesy Red Lizard photographers.