Sunday, November 9, 2008

Outrun the FBI 5k

Race Report: Outrun the FBI 5k by Chad Sayban.

I awoke to a perfect morning for racing. It was cool with no wind and a clear sky. I ate a Powerbar and had a bottle of Gatorade and headed out for the event. I arrived about an hour before the race, picked up my race number and t-shirt. This is the third race since I started racing again, but it was the first one that I actually treated like a race instead of just a tempo workout. That means I went in with a goal. I knew that a PR is out of the question at this point (22:24 twice), but I wanted to push my current fitness level. My goal was to run 8:00 minute miles to come in between 24:30 and 25:00. Treating it as a race also meant that I would go through my whole race routine. I went for a 10-minute jog, followed by a full round of stretching. Then I did 4 x 100 meter strides followed by some more stretching. I start this about 30 minutes before the start so I'm done about 10 minutes before the race. I placed myself very near the front since this was not a chip timed race. Now, this race had an additional wrinkle in it. There were 5 FBI agents running the race. They were given a 30 second head-start over the field. As you passed each one, they would give you a sticker on your bib number. Interesting, but I was more interested in my time than anything else. Besides, the five of them looked like they were legitimate runners.

A police siren blew and we were off. The course wound around a park near downtown Phoenix. When I saw the route on the website, I was worried that it was going to be so confusing that runners would be going in every direction and shorting the course. It turned out to be a really easy course to follow and a lot of fun. It isn't a really fast course because of all the turns and a few other surprises. I founds a rhythm pretty quickly and settled into a pace that felt about right.

Mile 1: 7:20

Hummm... I wasn't too sure about that mile marker. I didn't feel like I ran the opening mile that fast, but I really couldn't be sure with my current training. I decided that I felt like I was running a good pace, so I kept at it. About halfway through the second mile, we came to a grass field with rolling hills that was an out-and-back section. On the return leg I caught two of the FBI agents as I hit the 2 mile marker.

Mile 2: 8:32

I think that answered my question about the first marker. I know the rolling hills slowed me down a little, but not a minute's worth. At this point I was with a pack of about ten who were jockeying back and forth on the narrow sidewalk. A woman in the pack said 'oh shit' and I looked ahead. The cones had us going to the top of a large mound about 50 feet high. At the base of it I chopped my stride with the idea that I would hit the back side of it hard and push in the remaining half mile from there. It worked like a charm. I never saw any of the other ten people in that pack again. I caught the third FBI agent with less than a tenth of a mile to go.

Mile 3: 8:01
Mile 3.1: 0:46

Finish time: 24:40

Given the fact that the course was not a very fast course at all and what my goals were, I can only call this race a big success. I had no pain at all - before, during or after the race. I cooled down, ate and stretched and felt wonderful. I have not seen the results yet and pictures are supposed to be posted tomorrow. I managed to catch three of the five FBI agents along the way. I heard that the fastest agent was only passed by two runners. I'll post an update with them once they are available. For my first 'real' race back, it went as well as I could have hoped for. I'm still a long way from my 5k goals - break my PR and eventually go under 20 minutes - but I'm making good progress. I just wonder how fast I'll be once I shed the 20 pounds I want to get rid of. I'll just have to find out.

Until next time...


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