This guy tried to get the slower racers to drop back, but no one paid attention to him.

This guy tried to get the slower racers to drop back, but no one paid attention to him.

Some races are so unbelievably kickass and you walk away feeling like some kind of superhero. (For me, that was the Texas Half.) Some races are terrible and you leave vowing to never run again. (See: the Fairview Half.) Others are kind of a wash. And that’s how I would characterize this weekend’s Allen Eagle Run. Last year I got second place in my age group and took home a trophy, so I was looking forward to a two-fer.

The morning started off well enough – I got up on time and was able to eat a banana and a piece of toast, and drink some coffee, before heading to the race. I live within a mile of the race site, so I briefly considered walking there, but I had a meeting to attend immediately after the race in Plano. I showed up just as the 1-mile fun run was wrapping up.

It was a good-sized crowd – nothing like the Dallas Marathon, but more than your average local 5K. People began gathering at the front of the start line and the race organizers held up a sign instructing people to line up behind the sign if they would not be able to complete the race in 20 minutes or less. Few people paid attention to it, except the runners with jogging strollers, who seemed to realize the danger of having their BOB accidentally overturned by a 5-minute-miler.

Then we were off. After darting around the usual runners who really should have been in the back half of the pack, I settled into a brisk pace. Half a mile in, I looked at my Garmin and saw I was doing 7:40. It felt good at the moment, but I knew that before 2 miles were up, I’d conk out. So I eased back to 8:00, then 8:20. It was hard to watch people stream around me, but I got a small bit of vindication about a mile later, when I passed a female runner who had passed me when I eased up.

As I was coming down the last mile, I didn’t know how well I was doing, relative to my age group. A lot of women who looked of similar age had passed me, but really, there was no way to be sure. I ended up finishing at 25:56, which was a little slower than last year’s time of 24:48. I ended up seventh in the 35-39 group. The top 3 ladies all finished under 22 minutes – a very competitive field. I was disappointed, but the winners really and truly were much faster than me, and they deserved the awards.

So, as we head into spring, I have some decisions to make. Do I continue to train for speed and just do 5Ks, or do I run for endurance and possibly look at a half in a couple of months? I fear that the answer may be “neither one,” as I went out for a quick 3-miler this morning and was struck by intense IT band pain at the end. But we’ll see what happens. Every day is a new run, and every new run is a chance to improve.

Allen Eagle Run 5K
March 8, 2014
Time: 25:56
Avg Pace: 8:21

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