Last week reached its fitness culmination on Saturday morning at the Kansas City Corporate Challenge 5K.
After completing the Progress Series of races, which included the Cupid 5K in Febrary with a time of just over 24 minutes, I went into the 5K with the intention of finishing in 24 minutes, yet feeling that I had reached a sense of plateau right before the Northland half marathon and was in a slight decline in my performance, with a gentle up and down wave.
The morning itself was a beautiful, clear morning, around 53 degrees. The race was started in 4 waves. In prior years I had used wave 2 for times of 25-28 minutes. This year I started at the back of wave 1 for 24 minutes and less runners.
Unlike the half marathon, where I had a very good feeling on the start, here I didn’t find a comfortable pace with confidence. I was running, feeling slightly slow, but also wondering if I shouldn’t be going faster for the pace I wanted. At the same time, my breathing was fine, yet I could sense the sort of cough congestion in my lungs that I haven’t managed to fully clear yet since the cold that made me take off work at the beginning of March.
But the route was familiar, and the pace finally settled into something good. I made it past the mile marker, and then the gentle climb began. About halfway up the grade I caught up to one of my teammates, and asked her if she knew what sort of pace we were doing. 8-30s she said. Since I was planning on a pace of 8, I knew I was slow. I made sure to not slow down, but didn’t feel the momentum to actually increase the pace.
The course goes down hill at the turn, and then back up, with the water station right after the turn. I grabbed water, drank half, and tossed the rest into the garbage back being held by one of the volunteers.
After getting to the top of the hill, and starting the descent, I felt like I was picking up pace, ever so slowly. At least I was in a passing people mode more than being passed. By mile two it was starting to flatten out, and came to the long flat stretch at the end. You know the finish line is up ahead, but you keep running and running and don’t see it. Street signs go by, but no finish line. And then suddenly it is there.
I had been putting on small increases in speed along this stretch, while trying not to overextend and burn out before the end. But when I saw the finish line I put on my final burn pace, which is never much, but extends stride and passes a few people. I could see the clock somewhere in the 25-minute, but someone was in the way for seeing the seconds. So I kept pushing, until I crossed the finish line right after it flipped to 26 minutes.
So I assumed I had at least made 26 minutes, since it had taken me a few seconds to get across the starting line from the back of wave 1. It took until late Saturday afternoon to find the unofficial numbers on the chip providers website (stats for the KCCC won’t be up until probably Monday sometime). Those stats were:
Overall Place: 722
Gender Place: 590
So, while I didn’t make the 24 I wanted, I did better than the 26 and change I did last year. And when I checked my personal running log, my pace for Saturday’s 5K was the fastest running pace I have done since the Cupid 5K in February, which was my fastest pace. So, didn’t make goal, but satisfied with improvements. Now hopefully to be satisfied with my rankings for the KCCC.
In other activities, I did get to swim last week, and I hit my May mileage goal for bicycling on Sunday. So I am a few weeks ahead on biking mileage. Since I have a summer trip where I probably won’t be doing any bicycling, I’ll need to be ahead if I intend to keep my goal for the year.