Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Anthem 5K Recap

This year, because of the interstate construction downtown, the race was moved out to Anthem headquarters (off the Gene Snyder between Old Henry and LaGrange roads). I was pretty pumped about the change, since it was so much closer to home for us.

Since it was so close, I decided to pick my packet up race morning and completely avoid heading downtown.

We left the house shortly after 7:00am, and after hearing countless reports of "the interstate is a parking lot" we took the back roads.

Said parking lot. Notice the time on the image is just 3 minutes before the intended race start.
Source: TRIMARC / Wave3 News

We had a little trouble parking, but it wasn't too bad. Even though the packet pickup was supposed to close at 7:30 they were still set up and I got my packet with no issues.

From there it was a matter of killing time until things got going.

Just me and 6,000 of my closest friends

Since so many people were stuck in traffic (my brother-in-law, Chris, included), they kept pushing the start time back (although they never said for how long).

Spoiler alert: he made it

So we just stood around in the cold and waited. I wouldn't have minded so much, but Baby G is currently sick and I hated that he was out in it for a lot longer than we were anticipating.

Things finally got going a little after 8:30. Chris ended up making it with a little time to spare, and since we had been waiting just outside of the corral right behind the start line, we were able to jump in about a minute behind the clock and avoid the majority of the crowd (although a 5K with nearly 7,000 runners is going to be crowded no matter what).

My strategy going into this race was to not go out too hard, but not too slow either. I was kind of hoping to have my splits land somewhere around 8:00, 7:30, and 7:00 so that my average would fall around 7:30, or roughly 20 seconds faster than my previous PR.

I started off pretty fast (low 7:00s) and did a fair amount of weaving, but it didn't affect my time or pace all that much. I was worried that my feet and ankles would be too cold from standing around for so long pre-race, but it's wasn't bad (I did a little jogging to help me warm up, and I think that helped). And even with some rolling hills, my first mile came in at 7:40. Prefect!

I knew going into the race that mile 2 was a gradual incline, so I paced myself accordingly -- not going too hard to make sure I still had energy left to finish strong.

Here's a rough elevation chart from MapMyRun

I was a little surprised to see that one come in at 7:40 too!

And I didn't really feel like I was working too hard for it!

I thought the last mile was all downhill, so I stepped it up. I was caught by surprise by this nice little climb at around mile 2.75 (you can kinda see it in the elevation chart above; we're only talking about 30 feet here, but it was enough to send my heart rate up pretty high). I pulled back a little, which helped, but I was worried it was going to drain the energy I was saving for the finish.

I used my momentum coming down that hill to roll into the finish, and I. Was. Flying!

With about a tenth left I noticed a guy who looked like he might have been in my age group, so of course I tried to pass him. (I'm in the blue shirt, he's in the gray.)

He had more gas in his tank than I did, though, and he held me off.

That's okay, he didn't end up being in my age group anyway.

But -- we were doing low 5:00s!! That's definitely faster than I've ever run in my life!
Fun Fact: the winner finished with an average pace of 4:44! In-freakin-sane!
My last mile ended up being 7:05, and the last little .15 that my watch picked up came in at an average pace of 5:36!

Officially, I finished in 23:12, just over a minute faster than my previous PR!!

We waited around to watch friends and family finish, then we headed to the car where we sat for another HOUR trying to get out of the parking lot.

We literally sat in this exact spot for an hour.

Fun times.

When we finally made it out onto Old Henry, I realized why it took so long... there weren't any cops directing traffic! They all went home I guess.

I can't say for sure what's different this year from my record-breaking season two years ago, but maybe it's a combination of all the new changes. I really feel like the new training program is making the biggest difference, especially since I'm running intervals at a 6:30 average pace every week.

And although I don't notice huge differences in the way I feel since going vegetarian, I know they're factoring in at least a little bit (I'll have an entire update post on how that's going soon).

What a great way to start off the year!

And a big congrats to Chris for putting up an awesome time for his first ever 5K!


  1. Congrats on the PR! Now you're close to beating me! :)

    1. Thanks! I would have worked harder if I had known I was so close to catching you!


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