Saturday, August 14, 2010

FiveFingers. 5k.

Kasson's annual Festival in the park is going on this weekend.  Kicking off the Saturday line up of festivities were the Festival Run 10k & 5k.  From 2007 thru 2009, I ran in the 10k.  They also had a 2 mile race thru 08 that Jace ran.  Last year they changed the 2 mile to a 5k which really made for a better offering of events.  I had every intention of running the 10k again this year, but a couple of weeks ago I wondered if I could 'race' a 5k in the Vibram FiveFinger KSO's (VFF's).  I've been training for du's and tri's all season (running in 'regular' shoes) and even did a half iron distance tri 3 weeks ago, but running in VFF's is a whole different monster.  Here's how I approached learning to run in them...

I trained as usual in my running shoes, building up the time/mileage in early winter thru spring, did a 20k run in April, which caused some major ITB issues which set my training back a bit.  I had to reduce my running heading into the summer, but then started building back up in June--builiding it to half marathon distance so I could complete a half iron.  HOWEVER,  I also got the VFF's in June.  When I put on the VFF's I approached my training as if I was a complete newbie--as if I was a completely different person in them.  From early June thru last week, I took my time building up to a 5k distance at a jogging pace.  A couple weeks ago I started throwing in some faster paced stuff, but for very short distances.  I did a tempo run for just 3.1 miles a couple days ago in them and decided to run at race pace, for as long as I could, in the Festival Run 5k this morning. 

Before I get to the 5k summary I want to give a quick word of Jace and Carin's races as they also did the 5k.  Carin did it pushing the jogger/bike trailer with Sofia aboard.  She paced it while walking with a group of other women that were doing the 5k as a walk.   JACE ran a great race--taking 1st in the 12 and under AG (he's 9) with a time of 23:42!  Then, later in the day, he took 3rd in the obstacle course in the 9-12 AG and scored himself $25.  Two of his football buddies that he was hanging with all day took 1st and 2nd in the obstacle course so between the three of them they swept the top 3 and raked in $175!  ($100 for 1st, $50 for second.)

Ok, the 5k.  My PR for a 5k course is 18:32 which I ran at the Med City 5k in May this year.  I was supposed to have ran the 1/2 marathon, but like I said above, due to an injury in April, my training went backwards a bit.  Previous to the Med City 5k time I my best for a 5k was 18:45, but ran an 18:26 for the first 5k run section in a du in 2009--still not sure that counts as a 5k PR. So, I knew what I could run, but today I was racing practically barefoot.  My goal was to get under 20 minutes and knew that would be a challenge.  Once the gun went off the challenge began.  We started fast--it felt like a 50 yard dash. I'm sure it was a usual 5k pace, but my shoes, or lack of cushioning, was the reason it felt as it did.   After the first couple of blocks I was out in front, but had a couple guys right behind me.  Maybe its just the way my feet sound with the VFF's on, but you can tell that there is something different about the sound of the footfalls--they have a loud slapping sound to them.   At about the half mile mark a younger guy got next to me, then passed me.  I stuck right on him and noticed a track shoe logo and conference meet line up on the back of his t-shirt.  I assumed he was probably a track athlete/track star.  He was really pushing it!  I was wearing a heart rate monitor/GPS (Suunto T3c) and had it set to show current pace and alarm at each mile--I didn't want to know how hard I was going, but wanted to see the mile splits.  Just before mile 1, we were passed by another guy. I moved in behind him while track star ran beside me, then eventually faded. We hit mile 1 at 5:27 (my fastest first mile ever).   Hips, ankles, toes, knees--everything felt fine, but my left heel wasn't so good.  You can't heel-strike while running in VFF's (you can, but you'd last about 100 strides). I don't know if I hit a rock or something, but my left heal was killing me.  I tried a little harder to focus on running with a more proud with my upper body and with cleaner strides.  The heel pain remained, but focusing on form distracted me from it a little.  Soon I was back about 50 yards, holding 2nd, but with one guy gaining on me. Track star was no wear in site--when he faded, he faded.  At 1.5 miles, I was passed again and now in 3rd overall.  Mile 2 clicked off at 5:56.  The guy in first place was a couple hundred yards up, #2 was about 100 yards up; number 4--I couldn't actually see anyone behind me.  Not like I turned all the way around, but just quick glances and look-backs around corners and I couldn't see anyone.  Speaking of corners, there were a ton of volunteers--mostly highschoolers--at every corner and interecting streets.  Great organization by the race directors.  As you approached the volunteers they were cheerful and encouraging, but as I got right up on some of them, their cheers changed to confused expressions as they heard my feet, then tried to comprehend what was on them.  It was entertaining.  Ok, so now mile 3 clicks off at 6:14.  I was definitely slowing down, but the finish was up ahead.  I ran steadily and got the last tenth (.1) in 31 seconds.

Mile 1= 5:27
Mile 2= 5:56
Mile 3= 6:14
0.1 mi= 0:31
FINAL 18:08 - a new 5k PR !  And while wearing the VFF's.

Now I am not concluding I PR'd because of the VFF's so don't go out and get them thinking you're going to bring your times down (I have to remind you of how much time I spent building up to 3.1 miles in them).  I do, however, think they had something to do with it.  There is less weight to them which can lead to a little more speed and you don't have the heel striking, which is basically like putting the brakes for a split second with each strike.  But I have also been training more for longer distances which can allow you to hold a given pace a little longer--more endurance throughout.  I did a half iron 3 weeks ago, a sprint triathlon 2 weeks ago so I could be realizing the performance gains due the those races as well as cumulative fitness.  Who knows--but I'll take a PR when I can.

NOTE:  I drove, rode bike, and ran the course w/ GPS more than a few times over the last couple of weeks and each time it measured at 3.10 to 3.16 miles.  Today my watch measured it at 3.09.  The .01 could be due to normal error in measurement, tree cover, or even cutting corners really tight.

1 comment:

Joshua Grenell said...

Great Man. I have a pair. I do not run more then 400m in them currently.