Valley 4th Run 5K

Valley 4th 5K

7 months off of racing… that’s what my “break” ended up being. My last race was the Blue & Gray Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA in December 2011. Here we are… July 2011… starting over, in a way.

I ran the Valley 4th 5K run yesterday in Harrisonburg, VA. It was a sweaty good time – but first, a note to self: do not get your hair dyed red the day before a 90-degree race unless you want your new white tech tee to become swirly pink.

I went into this race planning to continue with the heart-rate-training, and run it the way I plan to run my next half – with Galloway’s run/walk interval approach. I’ve been running 2/1 run/walk intervals (minutes) the past 2 weeks, but figured for the sake of racing I’d kick it up to 4/1 intervals – monitoring my heart rate all the way and attempting to stay around my sweet spot of 167bpm during the run intervals. At this point in my training, that still means pretty slow running (about a 12:30/mi pace). Unfortunately, the late race start (9am versus the more typical 8am) led to a pretty steamy climate (already in the 80’s, but without the luxury of the evening humidity burn-off). My heart rate was through the roof 2 minutes into the race.

So, I decided to stick to my intervals and run it anyway, even though running had my heart rate up around 180bpm. I did discover a new max heart rate 🙂 Last year, I had discovered my max to be 191bpm. Yesterday, I topped out at 192bpm. I still use 190bpm for purposes of calculating my target zones. Good to know the ticker is rockin’ out for my age, though.

With the heat and my known penchant for both fainting and heat exhaustion, I had a strong mantra in my head for this race:

Don’t be stupid. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be stupid.

Translation: When your heart gets above 185, WALK. I don’t care if you’re in the middle of a run interval. Slow the #^$& down.

I had to invoke my Don’t Be Stupid walks three times, on uphills.

Despite my intentionally slow pace and my walk intervals, this still wasn’t my slowest 5K ever. (It was my 3rd slowest, of 9). I fully expect that my run intervals will get faster as I get back into running shape. I hope to also get a little faster at my walk intervals as time goes on.

My times:

43:06 (3.13mi), 13:46/mi

Finished 195/217. Unfortunately, the time keepers didn’t provide age group or gender stats for the whole field, and official times were gun times, not chip times. Boo. Still, it was a surprisingly good race. The route was fairly easy (at least for this area), and they had a sprinkler set up on Main St along with one water stop (that we passed twice in the 5K). There were a couple bands playing on different corners, and post-race goodies included water, bananas, and bagels. Not bad for a little local race. It was a choose-your-charity race, so I ran to support the Rockingham/Harrisonburg SPCA.

Running for a finish is such a different animal than running for a time goal. You have to take your ego out of the equation, because a whole lot of people are going to be passing you up! That’s always been true for me (I’ve never been fast – my best 5K to date was 32:17), but starting over like I am puts me back at the rear of the pack again. You just have to have a plan and stick to it and trust the process. This race was a stepping stone to something much bigger, and I feel so much more comfortable and happy out there doing intervals. This feels like the right way to re-enthuse myself about running, and so far, it’s working.

16 weeks until my next half marathon! 🙂

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