Thursday, February 6, 2014

Super 5K 2014

I'm a little late on this report and lost a little motivation to write after being "outblogged" recently.  I will give it a shot. 

I came into this race with mixed expectations.  Sometimes I would think that I was capable of rocking a 16:59 PR.  Other times I figured I would be happy just to beat last year's disappointing result (17:35).  What I didn't do was taper.  Somehow, after the previous Sunday's indoor mile race, I did workouts on Tuesday (3 x mile @ 5K pace indoors), Wednesday (trail 10K tempo), and Thursday (4 x outdoor mile @ T pace).  My legs didn't feel bad on race day, but certainly this wasn't optimal.  This wasn't even my plan for the week, but I got carried away.  The other issue was that I was extremely anxious the night before and morning of the race.  This was beyond pre-race jitters, and dipping close to anxiety attack zone.  I'm not sure what was the trigger, but it was not fun. 

I got my act together and drove over to Narragansett.  I was hoping seeing my teammates and running would be the distraction I needed.  This proved to be the case.  I was ready to turn this anxiety into an awesome race performance.  So many familiar faces at registration.  I made sure to get out early enough for a warm up so that I had some time before the race.  I've felt rushed the last two races coming back late from warming up.  If it meant I needed to go solo, then so be it.  Luckily, Justin and Mike were able to join me.  I wanted to run nearby trails, but Mike convinced us otherwise.  I'm sure it was a Daniels thing.  We ran the course to check out the conditions.  Yup, I still hate it.  It is picturesque, but the hill at the end of mile 1 is tough in a 5K, I hate cone turnarounds, and it is always going to be windy along the water.  Okay, I just don't like roads too.  Anyway, it was going to be a headwind on the way out, tailwind on the way back.  Mike kept hammering home the idea of staying on pace through the turnaround.  It was downhill or flat the rest of the way with a tailwind.  Got it. 

I had a little over 10 minutes to spare for the start.  I fiddled with my wardrobe options: shorts and windbriefs or just shorts?; no hat, winter hat, or brimmed hat?; gloves or no gloves?  It was hard to pick since it was sunny and warm (mid 40's).  After figuring that out, I went back outside and did some strides.  We were told to line up and I parked myself behind Mike and next to many of my teammates.  After a longish wait, the gun went off. 

The start.  Photo by Jana Walker

What I do love about this race, besides the team competition, is that there is more competition for my level of running than in most local races.  I knew to not go out too fast and not be up front.  I kept my pace under control, and without looking at my watch, I knew I was in a good spot based on who was around me.   

I see me.  Do you see me?  Photo by Jana Walker
I was chasing the chase group that included Chris Garvin, Tom Bosquet, and Shaun Horgan.  Next to me was new TNT nemesis Dan Hawkins.  We seemed to take turns leading each other through this mile.  Nearing the turn onto Earles Court (the Hill), I checked my watch, assuming I was going low 5:20's.  Nope - 5:27.  This was not a good sign since I hadn't reached the hill that was definitely going to slow me down.  I made the turn and plugged away.  I passed a guy on this climb and he muttered good job to me.  I reached the mile mark in 5:35.  Okay, this is not going to be a PR day.  I continued to fight up the hill when Justin went by me.  Hmm.  I thought he was going to have a good day, but I didn't expect him to pass me on a hill.  My legs didn't want to go any faster and I was working hard.  I lost contact with him right away.  I was more focused on Dan.  He was still right on my heels after the hill.  We took another left and headed towards the cone turnaround.  I felt like I was giving a great effort, but I was clearly well off pace.  It was cool seeing Mike close behind Will Sanders.  I was a little afraid he was going to yell at me for not staying on pace.  More WTAC jerseys soon followed: Woolley, Garvin, Tom, and then Justin.  I then made a terrible turn around the cone.  I feel like I come to a complete stop. 

Now I had the wind at my back.  I could see many more WTAC jerseys heading in the opposite direction and many people called out my name.  I couldn't talk, I would just give a thumbs up.  Dan was still right with me and I was now nervous that my teammate Nate was getting closer.  At the mile 2 marker  (watch check - 11:27 - 5:52 2nd mile - really?) Dan surged ahead of me.  We were descending the hill.  I didn't let him get away.  I knew I could at least have a strong finish.  We then reached the long straightaway along the seawall.  I was working hard a second or two behind Dan with Justin another 10 seconds or so ahead of him.  I checked the distance on my watch, wondering when I should try to make a move.  There was about 1/3 of a mile left.  I threw down a sprint and passed by Dan.  I think he made a groan that let me know he was probably done.  I was still scared, since he ran a 4:37 mile the weekend before, and what about Nate? 

Last strides to the finish.  Dan behind me.  Photo by Jana Walker

I was able to put on a final sprint rounding the last turn to the line.  17:29 finish time (5:28 mile 3, 4:50's pace final .1).  My effort seemed like it should have been 20 seconds faster.  I'm hoping it was the hard week of training that was the cause, and not that 17:29 is the shape I'm currently in. 

It was fun chatting with everyone about their races and doing a large group cooldown.  It was then time to head back inside for food and awards. 

Men's and Women's team winners!  Photo by Jana Walker


  1. Nice work out there, considering all the workouts you did last week. I'm sure you'd have dominated with a lighter workload. Now prepare yourself: the Belleville Sufferfest draws nigh.

  2. To echo Seth's comments, good job on Sunday, given the previous week's activity, and good to see you there! I love the Super 5K, but I do hate that cone. And this weekend...some "Meat and Potatoes" trail racing...

  3. Don't be too hard on yourself. You're at much better fitness right now than 17:29. Everyone out there ran slower than their fitness level (except for The Freak and Nate V). No worries! TRUST IN MY PREDICTIONS!!

  4. we (place I work) make a pill for that anxiety issue ;)

  5. Jonny, you ran a great race! Based on your 5:06 mile you should have run between 17:33-17:42 for 5k. McMillan believes there are 2 kinds of runners: endurance monsters and speed demons. Speed demons like Mike and myself, perform better with speed workouts. Endurance monsters perform better with tempos and progression runs and limited speed workouts. You are definitely an endurance monster. To get back to 5k pr shape do the stuff that works for you the most. Limit your speed workouts and for god sakes, taper a little bit!!! Great race, I know you'll do awesome at the trail 10K!

    1. What's funny is that I've had the same thoughts. It's good to hear it from someone else.

  6. Ps. You're calves look completely jacked in that picture!

  7. Great job Johnny! Out blogged? I really enjoy these kind of race write ups! Thank you for trail busting at Bellville!

  8. Jonny - that was a really solid race. Let's start doing some cone training this year. You'll easily knock off 10 seconds from that alone. Other positives: you took it to your nemesis in that final mile (I've never had anyone groan when I passed them - that's awesome), and, like your brother said, look at those calves!