Wednesday, January 27, 2016

LVTC Poker Run 5k Race Report-Trading Speed for Endurance or am I Just Getting Older?

We are our own worst critic aren't we?  I know this post is going to veer on the side of whiny. But, I do want to be honest about my training and how I feel.

I have a half marathon coming up, and I was going into this weekends 5k race feeling a bit over confident in my athletic ability. This race wasn't a confidence booster at all.  I felt like I ran a smart race, it just wasn't as fast as I had hoped it would be.

Saturday's event was being held out at the Silver Bowl Park which is located behind Sam Boyd Stadium.  The theme of the event was a Poker Run, and during the 5k you pick up two playing cards , and at the end of the race you receive your third card.  Then after the race, there would be a Texas Hold em game with a flop, turn, and river card...The players with the best hands get their pick of the prizes.  The money raised goes towards track club scholarships.

I am very familiar with this 5k course. I ran this event in 2014, and I have also raced several other 5k's on this same course as well.

The last time I was out at Silver bowl park was last June.  It was the beginning of the summer, I wasn't in the best racing shape.  I was a few pounds heavier, not running as much mileage, and trying to regain some fitness that I had lost earlier in the year.  I ran a 22:31 that day, and it was a meh race for me. I took off too fast, crashed and burned at the end.  My splits ended up being: 6:47, 7:24,  and 7:15
Morning of the Race
Last Saturday I left my house at 7:15am to get to Silver Bowl Park by 7:30. The main entrance gate by Sam Boyd Stadium was closed, but  I found another way to get to the park. I also had to flag down another car, It was my runner friend Sergio and he looked like he was getting lost trying to find the park as well.  
I got to the park at about 7:40am, and that gave me just enough time to pay for the race, do a short .7 mile warm up run, use the port-a-john, change my shoes, and strip off my gear.  I had hoped to do some form drills and some strides... But, I shouldn't have been dicking around with all of my gear for so long.
I lined up close to the front.  I guess the cold doesn't bug me so much for short races. I had stripped down to my skivvies while everyone else was in long sleeves and longer shorts.
Polar bear run club anyone?
I'm in the blue shirt.
At least I'm not the only heel striker.

I wish I weren't so barrel chested.

My buddy James A. was also running, and I so didn't want to get out kicked (again).  He often races with his son, so on those occasions he will pace him.  During the first mile I heard him say "Don't worry we will get her at the end".... C'mon man... I laughed and groaned when I heard that.  I said. "I'm trying to hold back"   FWIW, we joke and kid around.  The competition is friendly and always welcome. We push each other.

We went around the first loop and I collected my first card.

Mile 1: 7:07

I felt pretty relaxed at this point.

I really like this course because there isn't any 90 degree turns.  It's one loop around a baseball field and then a nice long stretch of road before the turn around point.  On the way out there is a slight incline, but that means you have a wonderful slight decline on the way back in.

I tried to hold back so I could let loose on the way back in.

Mile 2: 7:22

After the first mile the runners had become pretty spread out.  During the 2nd mile I was able to catch one runner ahead of me.

Once I hit the turnaround point I threw it into another gear, and tried to just run all out, but still save something for the final kick down.

Mile 3- 6:52

I kept expecting to hear James come hauling by me. (he has an awesome kick)  But, I think he was working hard on pacing with his son, and on this day I managed to finish ahead of him.  

.18- 1:04 (6:38 pace)

Official Time: 22:31

That is exactly the same time I ran last year in hotter weather, being less conditioned, and a few pounds heavier....
I guess you can say that I ran a smarter race.  But, I'm feeling conflicted for sure.... I know this wasn't a big time PR attempt, But the 21 minute bench mark was always a given for my previous 5k times (I realize how lame this sounds writing it out)  

I  ran a pretty decent 10k two weeks prior.  Was it too soon to race again?
Maybe it was the 13 miler I ran on Tuesday?
Maybe it was because I didn't do a proper warm up?
Am I just getting older? (Say it ain't so)

I'm a little nervous about my upcoming half marathon on February 20th..  But, after that race I hope to back off on some of my mileage and start spending more time in the gym.

I'm not going to readjust my goals for my  next half marathon (sub 1:35)
I'm stubborn like that.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Could be any number of things! Maybe the cold, the short warm-up, or even holding back too much. You're in great shape. Don't worry about the half.

    1. Thank you Gracie! I'm trying not to navel gaze too much over this one race.

  2. I think it could've just been an off day. Your training looks awesome and I'm certain you have a faster 5k in you.

    As for the "getting older" part, ugh, my birthday is next week and I'll be 46. I wish I'd taken up running when I was in my 30s because I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle against time.

    1. Well you still have some longevity on your side. I've been on the roads for 20+ years, and I'm starting to worry about diminishing returns.

      FWIW my runner friend Toshie is in her 50's and she started running later on in life (after 40) and she is speedster that continues to improve.

  3. There are a lot of factors that could have contributed to a slower than expected race. I would imagine that the cold temps and the short warm up probably had a much bigger affect on your time than getting 6 months older. Add in the 10k a couple weeks ago and a 13 miler on Tuesday and I think it all adds up to just not being your day. Which is frustrating and I won't judge you at all for wanting to whine about it.

    With that said, plugging your times into an age grading calculator might help when your times actually start to slow down due to age:

    1. Yeah, I think I may have been asking too much out of legs on Saturday. I will look into the age grading calculator. :)