I took 12 days off from running after the Bayshore Marathon, and just resumed running a few days ago on a reduced schedule similar to the one I was on in the weeks leading up to Bayshore – runs done by time (instead of distance) at an easy or comfortable pace. No speed work or other running for me until at least the end of this month. As a result, I didn’t have any races on my schedule for the foreseeable future, other than maybe a couple of short local races to run at a training pace (rather than at race pace).
However, there are some smaller local races this month that might fit in my training/recovery schedule as long as I treat them as training runs rather than races so I don’t risk aggravating my hip flexor/glute/hamstring. One of those races is the Run 2 Read 5K and 10K benefiting the Macomb Literacy Partners and the Oakland Literacy Council. I first heard about this race via Twitter a couple of months ago, but I didn’t commit to it because I didn’t know when I’d want to race again after my first marathon, especially if my injury hadn’t healed prior to the marathon. My first post-Bayshore run, an easy 20 minutes on Thursday, went well. My next scheduled run was 30 minutes on Saturday – the day of the Run 2 Read races – and I thought it would be fun to run the 5K and then add on whatever time I needed to get to 30 minutes as a cool down. As difficult as it can be to resist the temptation to try for a PR every time I race, I knew that I would need to exercise discipline and not run all out if I want my leg to heal sometime this year. So I decided to run the 5K at a moderate pace that was faster than an easy run, but nowhere near race pace.
The race was held at Stony Creek Metropark, which is one of my favorite places to run. Even better, most of the race was run on scenic trails within the park rather than on the less-scenic paved path that circles the park’s lake. I think running on the softer surface of the trails helped make up a little bit for the faster pace, as my legs felt OK during and after the race. I definitely notice the difference in surfaces when I’m running with an injury or significant soreness. I think there were between 150-200 runners and walkers total for the 5K and 10K. Because I decided so late to run the race, I had to register on site before the event, and that process went very smoothly. The race shirts were gray cotton with a red logo and red lettering for the sponsor names. Luckily there were still some available for race-day registrants. The volunteers and race officials were extremely friendly and helpful, everything seemed very well organized, and there were periodic announcements letting runners know what time the National Anthem would be played and where runners needed to go prior to the start. The race was chip timed, but there wasn’t a timing mat at the start line, so all times were gun times. There were some late arrivals still approaching the start line after the race began, so their times were based on the gun time and not when they actually crossed the start line.
I wasn’t sure what to expect while running, as I haven’t done any speed work or even tempo runs in about two months, but it went well under the circumstances. My pacing was uneven, with my mile splits varying by almost a minute (yikes!), and I felt a little winded at a couple points during the second half of the race. My first mile was the fastest, my second mile was the slowest, and my third mile was somewhere in between. My average pace for the race was almost halfway between my 5K PR pace and my marathon pace (a few seconds closer to marathon pace), which I’ll accept as a decent pace for what was supposed to be an easy/comfortable run. I definitely labored more than I would have liked (and much more than I would have if I had been able to do speed work recently), but I don’t think that’s abnormal when running faster than I have for several weeks. It was weird running more than a minute per mile off of my PR pace, but it was nice to run faster than an easy pace for a change. Even better, I managed to finish fourth overall, fourth among males, and second in my age group! I got a nice certificate of completion for finishing, as well as complimentary tickets to Cranbrook House and Gardens for placing in my age group. That’s a very cool prize, and we’re looking forward to using it. We haven’t been to Cranbrook in several years, and it’s a very scenic place that we should visit more often. My wife has taken some great photos of Cranbrook on previous visits. The post-race snacks were pretty standard; since it was a short race, I just had a banana and a bottle of water before I did my cool down run to get to my 30:00 total for the day. When I returned to the race area after I finished my cool down, I made a beeline for the Hudsonville ice cream trailer I had seen before the race. They gave me a very generous scoop of ice cream, and it was a great post-race treat.
The course was very scenic; after running on a paved drive for close to a half mile, we turned on to the trails and stayed on either trails or grass for the remainder of the race. It was a moderately challenging course due to a few hills. The hills were a little challenging, but they weren’t brutal, and were nothing out of the ordinary for a trail course. The only thing that frustrated me along the course was the lack of signage. There were signs posted where the 5K and 10K branched off or where runners and walkers had to turn, but I would have liked to see signs at every trail intersection, even when we didn’t have to turn. Fortunately, I assumed correctly that we were to go straight on the trail if there was an intersection and no sign was posted. It wasn’t too big of a deal, but since it was a small race and thinned out once the 5K and 10K runners separated, there was a considerable stretch where I was running alone and could have taken a wrong turn. But it all worked out, and I enjoyed the course. I mentioned the signage issue to a volunteer after the race, and I hope it will be corrected for next year’s run. This was only the second year this race was run though, and I’m sure that’s just one of the growing pains. Overall, I thought the race organizers did an excellent job, and I’d certainly be willing to run it again. I had a lot of fun and was very happy to support a great cause. I’m looking forward to getting back to 100% and hope to race some 5Ks and 10Ks later this summer.
Gun time: 22:43
Garmin time: 22:42 (3.08 miles)
Pace (per Garmin): 7:24/mile
Age group: 2/18
Slowest mile (per Garmin): 7:49 (mile 2)
Fastest mile (per Garmin): 6:55 (mile 1)
Did you race this weekend? If so, how did it go?
Temperatures are in the 90s here this weekend. What adjustments, if any, do you make when you run in very warm weather?
Have you ever run a race knowing ahead of time that you were going to run at an easier pace rather than run all out? If so, how did you keep yourself from running too hard?