Thanks for Norm for driving to the event, I was able to sleep till 5:30 AM. As I mentioned in my previous blog, that racing season was over for me for this great year, with Boston Qualifying times in August; I was not expecting much. I was injured twice, while trying to get back quickly after the Marathon.
After first mile, I was thinking why I was running this race, I was not even trained well, no intervals (I do not count tempo intervals as intervals); and doing tempo runs only in last two weeks, weight was up, and this was not fun, I was winded, how could I do another 2 miles, let me stop; after 2 miles more of these negative thoughts - this was not fun. What was I thinking when I registered just a day before the race! It was hard to remember, but now in retrospect, it was to put a quality run in, watch world class runners in one of the biggest Turkey Trot event in the country and get another nice full sleeve race shirt (Shirt is for Promila - beautiful purple color - you can see Norm wearing it well !).
I was afraid to see the watch, and did not see it till end. When just 300 yards from finish line and I was dying to stop to take a breather, I looked at the watch to see if I needed to sprint; while telling myself - 'how can you even think of sprint - when you are already dying'. Watch showed my 17:53. Then after some more pushing, I could see the clock on finish line, at 18:52 - no air to suck in - there was no way to beat 19 minutes, but still tried - not sure where the energy came and ran as fast as I could (watch was showing 5 min pace for last 0.11 mile). I did not think I beat the clock, but probably very close to 19 minutes.
Official results came, and I was at 18:57, 2nd in my age category. This is almost two and half minutes faster than my last year Turkey Trot; and another PR for 5 K this year.
Watched elite women race - first mile was sub 5 for almost everybody though it seems that they were jogging. Kim Connelly from Santa Rosa won and set up new course record - she was nowhere in first 3-4 runners for first 3 laps; and only came in last lap, but she was clear winner. Then saw men event, Alan Webb was there. Torrance (Diego) set up the course record, and he did a cool down lap (1200 m) and came back ahead of some runners who were finishing up, and cheered them. I think he was 13:28. Some runners who came 3rd or 4th place were really pushing at finish - great to see the mixture of pain, effort and desire to keep going. Intensity on last lap was inspirational. I was telling myself, you thought you were in pain, that was nothing compare to what you saw here. Some of the runners were running like hell in the last two laps; one was holding his chest.
It was great to see that runners who were really good, seemed relaxed, no jerking motion, or big effort/push. There were some runners who seemed trying very hard, but they were no way closer to top runners. Winners had easy strides, seemed like enjoying it.
Met Ken and his wife (she was taking photographs). Ken did 38.XX; he was not happy; and admitted probably training too much. He talked to me about my logs, and said that he was watching them and thought that I was doing good to stick with 2 mile intervals instead of shorter intervals. He did tell me this before too, to stick with them; and I thanked him for his advice as I think it had been true for me. And till I have 3 months of longer interval, I should not be thinking about shorter intervals, as they are more demanding. He thought that even for him any intervals of less than 1 mile were not doing any good. He was as surprised as I was when he came to know that I had my PR. I ran in brand new LunaRacer (yes - I bought another pair for racing); did not feel any pain or leg tiredness; which I was experiencing in last couple of days. While I was doing my strides during 3 miles warm up, I was taken aback when my strides were coming around 6:10 pace; thought that I would be lucky to break 20 this time - more negative thoughts - why can't I train properly before running the race - there are so many races always.
I am still sticking to Jim’s training method of more mileage and less emphasis on faster intervals, as it has been still giving me results. I know there are some talented club runners who are faster than me and run only 25-30 mpw. Well, it was just not Jim, while reading Tim Noakes, Daniels and Lydiard; it confirms more mileage first, then strides, then tempo and finally intervals/mechanics, if one survive and not injured earlier.