Sunday, March 15, 2009

COTA for Michael Moreno 5k

Race Report: COTA for Michael Moreno 5k by Chad Sayban

It was still dark when I left the house this morning for the COTA for Michael Moreno 5k. The race was held at Kiwanis Park in Tempe. The problem is it is a large park and it took me almost a half hour to figure out where the start was. This is why I always leave myself plenty of time to get to a race and get ready - just in case of things like this. But I got there with enough time to get my number and get my full warmup in. I knew going in that I hadn't done any speed work and I was still just trying to build mileage. But I wanted to do this race if for no other reason than to get back into the race scene and motivate myself going forward.

The race started and I found a pace I figured I could hold for the entire distance. The first mile of the course is pretty tough, with a bunch of short, steep little hills that make it tough to get in a real good rhythm.

Mile 1: 7:49

This was pretty much what I expected for the tough first mile. The second mile really flattens out and I tried to maintain my pace, but I knew I was already beginning to tire since I hadn't run anything like this pace in a couple of months. By now I was searching for the end of the second mile and I still wasn't seeing it. I must have been slowing much more than I thought.

Mile 2: 8:25

Ooof. I didn't think I fell off that bad, but I really couldn't tell how fast I was running. I didn't get passed by anyone in the last two miles, but I didn't pass anyone else either. The last mile really seemed to drag on for a long time, but eventually I finally made it around the lake and across the soccer field kicking pretty hard to get in before the clock passed 25 minutes.

Mile 3.1: 8:41 (1.1 miles)

Race time: 24:55

Wow, I really slowed down a lot at the end. I have to admit I was kind of bummed after the finish. I knew I wasn't going to PR or anything, but I though I was capable of running a better time than this. As I was getting some water in and cooling off, I overheard several people who wore Garmins talking about how long the course was. The concensis was that the course was about 3.32 miles, more than 2/10s of a mile long. Well that explains quite a bit. So I did the math at the pace I was running and figured my 5k time at about 23:35. That makes a whole lot more sense to me. I had expected to run this race at my current weigh and fitness at sub 24 minutes and that's really what I did. This brings up an interesting question. Until now I have avoided wearing a GPS during races because I didn't want to be distracted by it. I prefer to run on feel. But I'm starting to think it might be better to use it going forward because it is even more distracting to not know how fast you are running or be deceived because race company doesn't know how to measure a course in the 21st century.

The big shocker was finding out that I actually won my age group - and yes, I was not the only person in my age group. In fact I was 18th overall, which got me a second t-shirt for being in the top 20. Of course, I wanted to see where I would have been if I had run a PR. I would have been top 10. Something to work for.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day in a beautiful park for a 5k and I really enjoyed finally being back out racing. I know where my fitness is and I have plenty of 5k's coming up to watch my improvement.

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