I was thinking about it all week, but didn't decide to jump into the 2nd Annual Night Beat 5k until Saturday--the day of. The race is a fundraiser for the Rochester PD/Olmsted Co. Sheriff's Dept so they can build a memorial for officers that have died in the line of duty. Good cause... The race was put together very well. They had a jumping thing there for the kids (one of those inflatable castle things) military style canvas tents for registration and post race food/drink, volunteers all over the place, and a course, that although was challenging, it was well marked. The race was at night (7pm start) so that gave us even more time to think about it or back out : ) Jace decided against it, so did Carin, so it was just me. The problem was that since IMWI on Sept 11, the I haven't really been running all that much--a total of just under 49 miles (48.89 miles) in the last 6 weeks with the longest run being only 5 miles. To top it off I haven't done one run that involved any high intensity intervals, sprints, pick-ups, or even tempo pace. I knew I would be entering the 'pain cave' of 5k running right from the get go. HOWEVER, I have hit some HR's in the 160's, close to 170, while doing the Insanity workouts the last two weeks (threshold HR is usually mid-170's). They are pure cardio, fairly high intensity intervals that involve a lot of simulated running/running drills; lot of jumping, side to side movements with cutting and pivoting. I was pretty confident my legs and body could take the beating, but my lungs going all-out for 18-20 minutes was going to be very questionable.
The race was going to be a bit different due to the fact that it was in the dark. The trails were lighted for the most part, but the first mile or so was a bit odd. We started by running 1 and 3/4 laps (just short of .5 miles) on the gravel track at Soldiers Field--3 of us, Dallas Davidson, Andy Shulha, and I, were off the front pretty quick in a tight grouping. Andy was leading, then Dallas, then me--all pretty tight--just inches from each others heels. After exiting the track, there were about 5 turns in just a half mile of course--in that half mile we hit grass for 75 yards or so, then on to a paved trail that connected to some sidewalks, then across a parking lot and on to a paved bike trail that parallels the river right downtown Rochester. Anyway, we exit the track and an ATV moves in front of us to lead us on the course. It had lights that lit the road a bit, but the lights cast shadows on the smallest things on the road so they look like they're bigger than they are; you find yourself jumping or striding over things that aren't there. Plus, they were blinking lights. Once we got to the paved trail that didn't matter as much as that was lit and I pre-ran so I wasn't worried about debris. Anyway, when we got to about the 1.5 mile mark, Dallas made a move and passed Andy--I followed. Then Dallas got a decent gap on me of maybe 25-30 yards. When we hit the turn around, it looked like we were spreading out and it could end up in the same order were were in. Dallas in the lead, I was in 2nd, now maybe 40 yards back, and Andy in 3rd, but only about 10 feet back from me. On the way back the first person I saw coming was Erich Heneke--maybe a minute back (in 4th). So we get just under 1 mile to go when Andy passes me and is gaining on Dallas. Andy passes Dallas and gets a small gap on him. Dallas and I are slowing (mile 3 for me was 6:01 compared to miles 1 and 2 at 5:47 and 5:48), while Andy is opening a small, but perfectly timed gap. Inside .5 to go and I pass Dallas. We're now in the parking lot next to the track where the finish line is. MY CHEST IS KILLING ME! Its that sore cold I'm-going-too-hard feeling in your chest from breathing in cool, nighttime air. Within about 15 seconds he pulls next to me and I say "Go for it, I'm DONE." I had to slow down. It looked like he was actually trying to catch Andy when he hit the track. I got to the track--just 250-300 yards to go. As I was getting to the straight away toward the finish line I see Andy slows up just before the line and finishes then Dallas, still going full speed, crosses. They ended up only 4 seconds apart. I staggered across 13 seconds later in 3rd overall and 1st AG 40-49. Here's the top 5 and the link to the full results:
1 Andrew Shulha 26 M 18:13 5:52
2 Dallas Davidson 21 M 18:17 5:54
3 Mario Minelli 40 M 18:30 5:58
4 Erich Heneke 32 M 19:29 6:17
5 Cory Feldman* 30 M 19:57 6:26 (WHAT!?!? Cory Feldman, no way!)
* actual name is Cory Felderman