What also drives me crazy is that I can't get any solid improvement on my 5k time. It annoys me. I ran another 5k on Sunday. I was feeling quite a bit better than I was last week when I ran a 5k. The cold was all gone and I rested up very well on Saturday. The sun was more intense on Sunday, but the temps were a few degrees cooler than the previous week. I really thought that this was going to be the race that I get that 5k down where it should be. My warm-up was good. I felt a little tired still, but that's nothing unusual. I did a few 30 second strides. I lined up behind (unfortunately) three female members of the area's elite* running team, the GD's. I figured I was fighting for fourth place. I didn't care. My goal was to run a solid 5k and to really not take it out too fast.
The horn sounded and off we went. To my surprise I was holding back and running right behind one of the GD's who in recent races has beat me handily. I just cruised along right behind her for a while. Around 3/4 of a mile into it I got closer and she saw me and took off. She was about 5 seconds or so in front of me by the 1 mile mark. Unfortunately, my split was 5:54. Oops. I did not feel nearly as bad as I did the week before. Cool! Actually, there was some downhill action in this mile too, so it really wasn't all that too fast. And, as always the mile marker could be off.
So, as the next mile progressed my goal was to not drop the pace off too much. I just plugged along and as we made a turn I noticed I was inching closer to the third place GD. Hmmm. I just kept my pace and as we headed to a turn around I passed her. I don't think she liked this. I could hear her breathing down my neck. She was right behind me at the 2 mile mark. Our split was 12:12 (hey, not bad! 6:18 for mile 2--if I could pick it up just a few seconds for the third mile I'd be under 19! Woo!) She passed me as we went around a corner and then I could hear her breathing louder. I took the opportunity and surged ahead. We turned another corner and there loomed a hill. I could still hear her behind me. I figured she would think she'd get me on the hill, which meant she was going to gun it up the hill, which meant she was going to feel like poo when she got to the top of the hill, which meant I'd get her back there. That's exactly how it panned out. I maintained effort up the hill, which meant I slowed down. She gunned it up the hill. I reached the top feeling fine and took off blowing past her. I got some distance on her here, but after she recovered from the hill she came back on me. I could hear her very close. I tried to up the pace, but I don't have any real sprinting power to tap into--one of the side-effects of marathon training over 5k training. If she had a kick in her I knew I was toast or else going to hurt myself trying to outkick her. I just tried my best to power to the finish. We were really battling and it seemed like we picked up the pace for mile 3. I was excited to see the clock. We made the final turn and as we headed to the clock I was shocked. 19:25, 19:26, 19:27...as we got closer I could hear her louder and louder. I pushed my slow marathon trained body, but as the clock ticked to 19:34 she passed me into the shoot. We both finished in 19:34, but she was third place and I was fourth.
I was less disappointed about that than the prospect that I slowed down to 6:40 pace for the third mile! Not possible, even with the hill. I talked to third place for a while after and she was surprised too. We think the course was either long or those first two miles were short somewhere--probably the first, if anything--and then the last mile was long. At a minimum, that last mile was long. There's no way that both of us were running over 6:30 pace and feeling like we were running 6:1x pace. With the hill I'll add 5 seconds, but that's it. So, I think the course was either 20-30 seconds long, or those first 2 miles were 20-30 seconds short.
But just like wedding planning and the lack of certainty there, this is just the nature of little local races. They're almost never precisely measured or precisely timed (for the record, I finished right behing my ART guy's brother last week and they credited him with a 19:28 and me with a 19:30--annoying!) Just like I can't count on one date I can't count on one mile marker. And when it's all said and done, is it really that annoying. I got what I wanted out of the race--a good workout. I also got a nice prize--a gift certificate to a fancy salon. However, it was for a pedicure! No one will touch these pups! Seriously, these toenails are beyond help. So, I will just have to see if I can get some other service instead. Heh! And similarly, I can get all my wedding players--mrp, our parents, our officiant, our ceremony locale, our reception locale, honeymoon, etc etc etc...ad infinitum...ad nauseum--on the same page and when that's all said and done we'll have what we want out of it and look back and be happy. None of it is really worth stressing out about, now is it?
I guess, I just am happiest when I know what I'm dealing with. I want to be able to trust that 1 mile split to know how the race is going and what I need to do to get where I want to be. I want to be able to trust the caterers and the officiants that the wedding they say they are going to deliver gets delivered. Sometimes they deliver and sometimes they don't. Since the 5k was probably screwed up, the chances that the wedding goes off as planned should be pretty good now, huh?! We can only hope!!!
*Elite in terms of local running, anyway.