Sunday, October 30, 2005

Gingerbread 5K Race Report

This was my first race since San Diego last June. In my marathon training for that race, I only did one organized race, a 10K in Olathe, Kansas. So I decided to follow the recommendations of many marathon training programs and try to race every 2 or 3 weeks as part of my training for the Arizona Rock and Roll Marathon. So this was my first race in this training period. In the back of my mind I was hoping to at least get under 24 minutes.

The Gingerbread 5K in Wellesley/Dover Mass. was, I believe, an inaugural event. It took place on a weekend with about 6 other organized races in the Boston area, so needless to say, it was quite a small race. It was a benefit for some children's literacy group. There were a lot of kids there. A lot. Like, half the participants were probably under 12 years old. Total number was less than 200.

Registration started at 10:30 and I arrived before 11:00 and was quickly registered -- number 89. The race was scheduled to start at noon. Now yesterday was an interesting weather day for Boston. It snowed. Today it's in the 60's. Beautiful clear blue sky. A great day for running. I stashed my bag and started in on my warmup (1 mile jog followed by a lot of stretching).

Warmup raised a huge concern. I immediately felt some pulling behind my left knee (below the knee/top of the gastroc.). I was very concerned it might be related to the other pain I would occasionally feel in front and below the same knee. Or maybe it was related to the new shoes. Plus the race course was supposed to be hilly. Oh well, what happens is what happens (and of course if it got serious I would drop out).

The course started at the Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley but the vast majority of the race went through Dover. I started fairly strong. No big hills in the first mile and my first split is 7:44. The next section does have some fairly steep hills and I can feel myself slowing due to the hills. Around 17 or 18 minutes, two women and I running about the same pace realize that there was no 2 mile marker (or we all missed it). One of the two pulls ahead (significantly). With maybe a half mile to go, the other woman starts picking it up and I stay with her. We gradually keep accelerating until we are moving at a pretty good clip (I'm guessing about a 7:00/mile pace over the last 1/4 to 1/2 mile). We're slowly catching up to the first woman who pulled away from us and we pass a guy who has just run out of steam. The two of us are running side by side and I push the pace even harder and the woman drops back. I end up finishing about 20 feet behind the first woman. My time is 24:10.

I'm OK with the time (Hey, there were enough hills that I figure on a flat course I could easily do 24:00). I finish 7th in my age group and 36th overall. As soon as I catch my breath, I jog another mile to cool down, then grab a towel and my race shirt from my car. And it is a nice shirt for such a small race -- long sleeve dark brown with bright orange graphics (a gingerbread man, "run, run as fast as you can..."). Post-race goodies include water, bagels, energy bars and a "designer" gingerbread cookie for each finisher (nice touch). But I am left worrying about the pulling behind my knee. It's still just a generalized sort of dull pain/pulling.

When I get back to the apartment, I ice the back of my knee. Actually I use a bag of frozen succotash. Anita says, that's all it's good for -- she hates lima beans. I spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. I need to do a little shopping so getting out and walking around a bit feels good. My training plan, however, calls for another run today. By 5:00 I talk myself into doing 4 more miles. I carefully stretch again and run from the apartment South towards the Charles River. I can feel the pulling behind my knee for the entire 4 miles. When I get back there is more stretching and I get out the succotash again. That seems to help it a bit and I follow it up with a hot bath. As I'm massaging it I realize it is not the popliteus tendon that is probably the source of my other pain, it's the lateral side of my left gastroc. I've logged 40 miles for the week and tomorrow will be a day off (time for a day of complete rest -- no cross training either). We'll see what happens with my knee over the next couple of days. Next weekend is an 18-miler.



Blogger Curly Su said...

nice race report, kurt...

10/31/2005 7:26 AM  
Blogger E-Speed said...

Good job on the 5K, ice that knee and get better!

10/31/2005 11:37 AM  
Anonymous vwinikka said...

Careful with that knee Kurt.
Love, Mom

11/03/2005 1:50 PM  

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