On Saturday I woke up to an email that the Lawyers Have Heart 10k had been changed to a 5k because of the weather. I was pretty surprised, given that this is a pretty well established race (this was 21st year) that has always been run in June. I just couldn't imagine that this was the worst weather on race day, especially since when I ran it last year for the first time it was REALLY hot. The temperatures at race time were projected to be in the upper 70s-low 80s, though the humidity was high (75%). I suppose this is why I'm not a race director, I don't know when to make these kind of decisions. (I did see on Elizabeth's blog that she talked to the race director who said the call was made by city officials concerned about heat, humidity and smog)
While I can't say that I was feeling particularly trained for this race, I had spent some time this week thinking about how to approach the race and pace myself. I knew that with the heat and humidity, and my recent focus on tri training, I needed to make sure that I didn't start out too fast (a common problem of mine). So I had this all sorted out for a 10k, but was a bit thrown off by the switch to 5k. I was pretty confident that I couldn't run my PR pace (7:35), but wasn't really sure what to shoot for. I decided that right around 8:00, hopefully just under, was probably reasonable.
I only live about 2 miles from the start, so I decided to run over as my warmup. It felt warm and sticky when I stepped outside, but I really didn't think it was all that bad on my way over. I did notice, though, that my legs felt sort of "blah." Not sore or noticeably tired, just lacking in energy.
I got there about 10 minutes before the race started, which worked out well. I made the decision to start with the first wave, which was for 8:00 minute pace or faster. The start was crowded, but I felt like I was moving well initially. However once we got up onto the Whitehurst Freeway, I could tell that it was not going to be an easy race. I didn't feel all that bad, but my legs just didn't want to go and the air felt thick and soupy. I was somewhat surprised that I was still holding a sub-8 pace because I didn't feel like I was moving all that well. I hit mile 1 in 7:48 and that was the last I would see of that pace. Mile 2 was a brief out and back along Canal Road (shortened version of the 10k course) and I was feeling less and less like racing. I skipped the water stop on the way out, but probably should have tried to grab one of the cold sponges. Normally getting to a turnaround point gives me some extra motivation and I'm able to pick it up a bit, but that was not the case here. My pace continued to drift upward and I finished mile 2 in 8:18. Even when I knew I had only a mile to go I just couldn't get moving. My pace was up in the 8:50s and my only goal switched to staying sub 9:00. My stomach felt kind of off and my legs just had nothing. I was honestly tempted to walk, but I told myself that walking was completely unacceptable in a 5k. During the second half of the race people just kept passing me and I had absolutely no response. Even when we made the final turn and headed back under the freeway to the finish I had none of the finishing kick that I can usually manage. My Garmin says I did mile 3 in 9:11, though I think it may have been thrown off when we went back under the Whitehurst Freeway since it had the final race distance as 3.02. Assuming the course was accurate (and I suppose since it was changed at the last minute it's possible the distance was slightly off), then I ran the last 1.1 in 9:33 or about an 8:40 pace.
Final time - 25:38
As bad as I felt, I can't really complain about the time. It's actually my 2nd fastest 5k ever and a time I would have been thrilled with last year. I guess in many ways, it's a good thing that my expectations have changed! What's a bit disappointing is that it is only about 10 seconds faster than my 5k split from my tri two weeks ago. However, that was a much better day, weather-wise.
I think that this race was a struggle for a number of reasons. First, there was the weather. Even if though it wasn't the worst day of the week, it was pretty warm and really humid and I'm still in the process of adjusting. Second, I haven't been running as much recently because I've been trying to fit in time on the bike and in the pool. I know that need to make a better effort to raise my weekly mileage and get my base back up. It can only help me in my tri on July 30 and I need my body to be ready for marathon training in August. Finally, it probably just wasn't my day. We all have off days and I think this was just one for me. I should have felt well rested since I gave my legs two days off (swam on Thursday and took Friday off completely), but instead I just felt sluggish.
In more exciting news, I ended up as the 3rd law librarian! Gotta love the special categories. I missed out on 2nd by about 20 seconds and unfortunately I was 30 seconds ahead of this woman at the halfway point. Need to work on my extreme positive splits...