Today was the 29th time the Gardiner 5 Mile road race was held. I have done it every year since 2002, so this is my sixth time. I am not in PR shape, but wanted a challenge/plan that would make it interesting. Here was the plan: Run mile one in 7:30; mile two in 7:25; three – 7:20; mile four 7:15; and the last mile in 7:10. I added up all those times, and the total comes to 36:40. My time actually ended up being 36:37! Sounds pretty good, but the mile splits were not what I was shooting for.
I started close to the front, even though the first mile was supposed to be the slowest. During the first 1/4 or so mile, I kept checking my Garmin for the pace. It read between 6:30 and 7:00 minutes per mile: so much for my plan. The problem I had was getting passed by many people! It got to the point I felt very few people were behind me. By the middle of the first mile, though, I started to pass people. I slowed up a bit, finishing mile one in 7:15 — 15 seconds faster than my goal. I should not have started so close to the front.
Mile one was mostly over gravel roads. Mile two starts where the gravel ends, and is pretty straight – down past Quimby field (where Little League to Babe Ruth baseball is played.) I felt good and continued to pass (or re-pass) runners. My goal was to run mile two in 7:25 – getting there in 14:55. Mile two was actually covered in 7:09, and the time read 14:24; too fast by 34 seconds.
Mile three was pretty much the same. I still felt strong, and continued to run hard. By this time the field was spread out. There was no one left to pass. The race is two loops – each 2.5 miles long. In the middle of mile three the first loop ends. I ran strong, not taking the offered water. I kept running and arrived at mile three with a time of 21:27, for a mile split of 7:03. My goal was to get to mile three in 22:15, covering that mile in 7:20.
I am sure everyone knows what is coming. My plan/goal was to finish this race in 36:40. I finished the race in 36:37. However, at the end of mile three I was 48 seconds faster than I planned to be. Well, mile four was the culprit. I slowed during this mile. Somewhere around 3.25 to 3.5 miles a fellow pulled up next to me. He was a guy that looked to be real fast, and I think he was taking it easy. I decided to run with him. After 100 to 200 yards, I checked my Garmin and it read 5:50 something pace. I think he sped up. It wiped me out. I said “thanks – good job” and slowed up. He said “thank you” and kept running. (We are polite!) At the end of mile four the time was 29:05. Even though part of that mile was spent at sub six minute pace, I covered the whole thing in 7:38. My plan was to finish mile four in 29:30, so I still was ahead of my plan – by 25 seconds now.
One mile to go, and it went by in 7:32, to get me to the end in 36:37 – three seconds faster than planned. It would be interesting to see how much I would have had left for the last couple miles in I had run as I set out to do. Maybe someday I will figure it out, but I could not do it in this race.
Thanks for reading. I am not really sure when my next race will be.
Good running all.