Sunday, February 02, 2020

Super Sunday 5 Mile Race Report 2020

One of my goals for 2020 is to write more, and in that spirit I'm trying to be better about writing at least a quick race report for all of my races this year! I already missed one (raced a mile at the GBTC invite a couple weeks back) but better late than never. I think realizing that I don't need to write a NOVEL about every race will maybe help with this goal.

Anyway, today I ran the Super Sunday 5 Miler in Cambridge. This is one of my favorite local races, and one that I do every year. I did it back in 2010 when it was a 10K in Seaport, and then followed when it moved to Cambridge in 2015. I did the 5 miler from 2015-2017, then did the 5K for a couple of years (where I ran my PR in 2018!). The course is definitely a fast one and there is consistently great competition at the race, plus they have a solid post-race party and donate profits to a cancer research foundation...all in all, really a great race! While I enjoyed the 5K the past couple of years, this year the 5 miler was a USATF Grand Prix race so I supposed that I should hop back in that distance. GBTC had a fantastic team of ladies racing at the event and it's always a blast to run with friends!

For some reason I have never just run from my house to warm up to this race, which is dumb because it's 3.5 miles away. I did that today, which worked out great! Met up with Taylor, Erin, and Elise and we took care of bag drop and then awkwardly sauntered away to drop the remainder of our layers in a planter. It was so fun pulling up to the start corral and having like 12 GBTC ladies surrounding me! I can't remember the last time we had a women's team that was quite so big - it's really exciting and makes me happy since we went through a few years we were really struggling to recruit new women. Great to have some new faces at a variety of levels!

Without much ado (they kept the pre-race remarks blissfully short this year) we were off! For some reason I had decided to run without arm warmers, which I typically would do in today's weather (35 degrees, minimally windy) but apparently I've gotten even more immune to cold because aside from about 5 minutes of regret during the first mile when we turned into the wind, I was comfy! The majority of our pack pulled away from me at the start, and I hung back with Taylor trying to stick to my plan: DON'T FLY AND DIE. My only goal for the race was to have enough left for a fast last mile. I truly had no guesses as to what I would be able to run, although I knew I wasn't exactly in peak fitness - I was anticipating something around 6:45 pace overall. After coming through a little hot for mile 1 (6:22, which I definitely saw on my watch as 6:36 lol...I completely made that up) I settled into a nice groove at around 6:40 pace. One of the great things about this course, especially since they redid it slightly this year, is it is essentially two straightaways. You run out for 2.5 miles, then you turn around and come back on a different road. That's it. It's great for locking into a pace and being able to see who/what is ahead. Around mile 2 I pulled ahead of Taylor, and was feeling decent heading into the turnaround.

Focus at the turnaround; photo by coach Tom. Also, yes, I was listening to music...yes I used to judge people for this but honestly I have now found that it makes my racing experience SO much more enjoyable and I am convinced I run I stick with it when I choose to. It's better than technological doping with Vaporflys (of which I saw MANY pairs at this 5 mile race....), right?

This part of the race I had a bit of a hilarious internal monologue with myself, and was also a great reminder of the importance of SPECIFICITY of training. You see, I was running around 6:40-6:45 pace, and it was feeling exactly how I want that pace to start to feel for me, which is around 10 mile or half marathon effort. Which, you know, is a minor issue when you are running in a race of half that distance! I actually had a little talk with myself that went something like "you aren't in the place that you should be for a race this short right now" which I responded to myself "yeah, but I don't really WANT to be in the place right now!" And so I didn't go there. I stayed in the somewhat comfortable zone for miles 3 and 4. Certainly looking back, I wish I'd had a little more mental drive to push harder and go deeper into that pain cave, but the fact of the matter is, I hardly ever race short distances anymore because 1) they are painful! and 2) I'm training for essentially the polar opposite...given that situation, I can't really blame myself for not really remembering HOW to run a short race!

There's a nasty little uphill before the 4 mile mark, and once we crested that hill I knew it was time to boogie. I was curious to see what I'd have left in the tank but I knew it was something, and I'll tell you what, this was the most fun I've had in the last mile of a 5K-10K race! It's almost like if you don't go out too fast and don't pace like a total dumb shit, you can actually have something to turn on the gas at the end! I was definitely at the red line by the time I finished but was able to make some solid passes before the line, coming across in 33:24. I located my speedy teammates and high fives were exchanged all around; Taylor came in shortly after me and we went to grab our stuff. Now, here's the hilarious part: my run uploaded to Strava, and it was telling me I had 1 matched run...I went and looked, only to find that my time was within a SECOND of my PR from 2017! At no point anywhere during the day had I thought that I was in the ballpark of a PR (nor, apparently, did I have any idea what my actual PR was? LOL). On Strava I was a second faster than 2017, but officially I was a second slower...honestly, 1 second, I'm going to call it a win (just like I did when this EXACT same scenario happened to me at New Bedford a couple of years ago...I guess I should care about my PRs more?)

We went out for a little cooldown and then enjoyed drinking some beers in the sun race times with teammates are really just some of the best. All in all I'm quite pleased with this performance! It's hard to be mad about matching a time I was THRILLED with back in 2017 when I haven't gotten any younger and certainly haven't been focusing on the shorter distances in the 3 years that have passed since then. In fact, I think I really used my wisdom to my advantage in running a much smarter race than I have in the past! I was also really happy with my overall emotions surrounding this race - within the race itself I was very in the moment and I was never particularly worried about what time I was going to run or who was ahead of or behind me. I just stayed in the race and did it! Overall, a great day and a great race! I'm starting to get excited about the build ahead...stay tuned. 

Super Sunday 5 Mile - 33:24 (we're going to call it a PR tie!)
461/1519 OA, 100/? women, 26/224 AG
GBTC 4th women's team (not that I contributed to that at all!)