Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Post Lefty's 5K Thoughts

Some thoughts now that I've had some time to digest Saturday's 5K.

Next 5K, A Ways Off?

I'm not sure when I will run another 5K. I went from June 2008 to March 2010 without running one, and now I ran two in 14 days. The way my race calendar is loading up, I'm not sure a 5K fits in anywhere. Now, I really like my race calendar and it definitely has me motivated. I've got a half marathon, a 10K, the Mud Run all in the next 70 days. And if I stop being a wus indecisive about San Francisco, I might have a summer marathon to train for. And the fall, even though it's a ways off, could feature another half, the Ragnar Relay and another full marathon!

I did these 5Ks for a few reasons. I'd decided against LA or another marathon this spring so I didn't have a big race getting in my way, but mostly I wanted to see what I could do now, what I could do with much more experience under my belt.

What I Like About A 5K

It really is a test of speed. It's long enough so you can't just go on an all-out sprint so it requires more than just physical ability, but it's short enough that you can push yourself to your limits and hold it there for a moment. I'd probably lose to a lot of people who don't run but are fast in a 100-yard sprint or something, maybe even a lap around the track. But let's go run a 5K and we'll see what you've got. Right, Danny?

It's a short race, and that's pretty cool. It won't really interrupt any sort of training you've got going on, although the risk of injury and things like that would be enough for me to skip it if I had a big race coming up. Still, I ran 12 miles the day after the ARMC 5K and ran 14 miles on Sunday.

Also, this might be the middle ground between runners and non-runners. If you don't run, a 10K might seem way too long, and forget about a half marathon. So if running a race appeals to you, or even walking it really, then a 5K might be your thing. Same thing for runners like myself who prefer longer distances. I'll run a 5K, sure, why not? It was nice being out there with all sorts of people these last two races, and maybe it wouldn't have been the same for a 10K. I mean, I was using pre-teen children to pace myself at the ARMC 5K. It's a bit humbling when I finished in a great time for myself, set a new PR and see that an 11-year-old girl finishes the race about four minutes faster than me.

What I Don't Like About A 5K

It's short. That can be good, but that can also be a drawback. I hardly ever run three miles or less. My minimum distance is usually four for a midweek run, and I like to crack double-digits every weekend. It's not so much a test of endurance for me, and that's a big allure for me in terms of racing. Can I handle the 13.1 miles? Can I survive 26.2? The 10K to me is appealing because it's a mix of speed and distance. I don't hit six miles every time out.

The only thing that really comes into play is speed. There's not much strategy. If you've trained properly - and really, even if you don't train specifically for it - then you can finish and might do well. Other races have strategy: do I start at or below my goal pace? Or do I just start fast and try and maintain it? At what mile do I try and push myself? With a 5K, if you aren't pushing yourself after .5 of a mile, you probably won't PR.

Also, the gains you make in a 5K are minimal. There are targets for the 10K and half marathons that seem attainable: for me, that would be a sub-50 minute 10K and a sub-two hour half marathon. What about a sub-20 minute 5K? Yeah, right. I was able to shave two minutes off from my first 5K to my second one, but I am not sure if I can a 5K faster than 22 minutes. Getting down to 22 minutes would be spectacular, but even still that's two minutes away from 20 minutes. So, forget it. That'll not happen.

No Looking Down

Still, I don't look down on the 5K. I know other distance runners do, but I think it's great for anyone to run a 5K race, whether you are a marathoner or are just starting out and hoping to walk the whole distance. If you're out there on the 5K course, you're taking steps in the right direction, and not just towards the finish line.

Gettin' Chicked

Good news: I did not get "chicked" at the end!

Bad news: I did get "chicked" with, I dunno, about a half mile or more to go.

If you aren't up to speed on the latest running jargon, let me fill you in. "Chicked" is when a female runner passes a male runner on the course, although I believe it is mostly used towards passing in the end of a race, and passing for good. So if a female passes me but I finish ahead of her, I'm not sure that counts as "chicked."

Anyway, that was one of my goals actually, to not get "chicked." Some blog buddies of mine were talking about how cool it was for one of them to have "chicked" some guy in a recent race and although that guy sounded like a jerk, they took a lot of pleasure in it. So I didn't want to be the butt of someone's jokes, the lame slow guy who will forever be the subject of someone's race highlight.

So somewhere between two and three miles, a female runner came from out of nowhere and blew right by me. I tried to stay up with her but I knew within seconds that that was not going to happen. She got way ahead of me and I eventually lost track of her. She must have started late or something, because she should have been ahead of me from the start.

LB got "chicked." But just by one girl. I guess that offsets the girl I passed up halfway through who looked strong but not strong enough to finish in front of me... nevermind she was about 15...


Marathonman101108 said...

I only count getting "chicked" as being passed by a "chick" at the end of a race. Funny how women brag about beating men, but I've never seen a guy say he "duded" a female runner at the end. OK, I did use the term "duded" in a post of mine recently. Hey, what's fair is fair! I agree with your opinions about 5K races. I like them, but wish there were more 10K races.

Anne said...

Taking on my first 5K in May and looking forward to it...very likely I'll get "duded" ;)

Katie A. said...

I can't stand the 10K, but give me a 5K any day and you probably see me puking at the end because I run so dang hard! LOL!
Love that you were so hung up on getting chicked - come on, it isn't that bad!
Now, poop or get off the pot! I want to know about SF! Haha, no pressure!