Waking Up My Body Once Again With a Local 5K Race on the 4th of July

With no particular race plans and no real focus to my running these days, I don't have a lot of motivation to run fast. It has been 3 1/2 months since I started back with my running after 5 1/2 week hiatus. I've been running consistently, but not spectacularly.

Part of my problem continues to be lack of adequate sleep...getting to bed too late. I'll have to work on cloning myself. Too tired in the morning, my daily runs have been slow. My long runs in the 8 to 9 mile range over the last 3 to 4 weeks.

In any case, I thought it would be fun to do the local Miller Family YMCA 5K in Newbury Park on the 4th of July to give my body some shock treatment again. When you don't do speedwork on the track or in your training in general, I'm a fan of running a periodic 5K to force a little speed with peer pressure surrounding you in a fun environment.

There were over 400 runners on hand for the 5K. The weather was overcast, the course was semi-challenging. I felt decent. Not speedy, but not bad.

As usual for pretty much any local 5K/10K, there were dozens and dozens of teenagers toeing the line. Although I know most of them will be out of the gate like a sprinter, then fizzle out before the first miler marker, I don't bother trying to squeeze into the front where I know I belong (I did, even at my advanced age of 47, still manage to finish 9th overall). I chose standing in the 2nd/3rd row and relaxing, though slightly annoyed, to jostling with a pimply 16 year old for a spot.

The race starts and, sure enough, 50 people bolt out ahead of me as I work my way into it. But within 1/2 mile most of these folks are behind me as I slowly but surely reel them in. At that point I was pretty much in the spot I'd end up at at the finish line.

While the speed that carried me to 17 1/2 minute 5K times 2 years ago was not there, I felt more competitive than the 10K I ran 2 1/2 months ago. So I was able to keep a couple teenagers on their toes most of the race, trading positions with them a few times. At the end, they were able to accelerate while I stayed in 2nd gear, and they beat me 8 seconds.

The results show me in 9th place in 18:31, roughly 5:59 per mile. The first mile was uphill, which forced me into negative splits, which is a good thing. The two kids in front of me were 14 and 16. The 10th place finisher, 25 seconds behind me, was 15. WTH?? I'm older than the combined ages of these 3 guys. Too much fun!