I almost didn't run the Seven Bridges Season Starter 5k. I signed up a long time ago because I figured I would be completely recovered from the Carmel marathon. The only problem was that I did not qualify for Boston in Carmel. So I debated running the Chicagoland Spring Marathon instead. I followed Pfitzinger's multiple marathoning four week plan and felt ready to go after another 26.2. The weather had other plans for me. A marathon start temp of 70F with highs expected in the 80's by mid-day scared me away. If there is one thing I know I can't handle, it's a hot weather marathon. Not to mention that attempting a BQ in the heat would have been a disaster.
Actual race day conditions would have meant spontaneous combustion
This is a part of the CARA race circuit. One of my goals earlier in the year was to run in more CARA circuit races for my running club, despite the fact that CARA races bring out severe speed. It turns out I didn't run any 5k races in 2012. So I was clueless about fitness. Yeah I ran a marathon but 8:00 pace is a lot different from sub 7 pace.
I got there early and drank about half of my coffee before warming up. I ran easy for about a mile and a quarter and threw in some fast strides. The problem with coffee is that it dries my mouth out. So I am now drinking Gatorade 01 Prime thanks to my friend Erin. It's the answer!
Since it wasn't a chip timed race, I needed to be almost at the start line. Any further back and it actually hurts your final time. The race started and my Garmin told me I was running a 6:10 pace. Time to back off. We cross over the east branch of the DuPage river. Mile 1 was a little quick at 6:42. I was aiming for a 6:49 so I could negative split this sucker.
Mile 2 finds me passing what appears to be 13 year old girls and their mom. The mom tells them that they are running well and have a chance to break 21 minutes. Oooof....I'm jealous of that youth speed. Apparently I relaxed too much this mile and hit the marker at 6:54.
Last mile and the street seems like it goes on forever. No one is passing me and I manage to reel in one guy in the home stretch. I can see the clock and see it click past 21 minutes even. I hit the line and enter the finishing chute. Final 1.1 was 7:32 (6:47 pace).
I have myself a new PR by a whole six seconds. I managed to grab some CARA race points and helped our club get second place in my division. So at age 50, I am still getting faster. I'm not sure how long I can continue to do that.