So about 8 weeks ago, I decided to sign up for a race. At that point in my running, I had not run a race since March, looking for something to run that I could “train” for put me at the No Excuses 5k. I have ran this race before and have run very well at this race, about 3 years ago, this same race was the first 5k where I ran a sub 20 minute. The race offers a fast course with some fast runners. Pretty much any race in Sacramento that is part of the Buzz Oates Run Sac Race Series will offer some fast runners in the race as teams and individuals try to collect points for overall standings.
The one unique thing about this specific race is that it isn’t about just the order in which you cross the finish line, but it is about the age graded algorithm which makes it an even playing field as the finishing times are based on age and gender with the individuals specific finish time. For example a runner in the their early 20s may cross the finish line first, but a runner in their 60s who has a good time like an 18 minute may leapfrog that first place 20 year old in the final standings. For a breakdown of how this all works check out the final standings HERE.
Let’s rewind back a few weeks ago when I decided to “race” this race. I knew I wasn’t near my 5k shape that I was 3 years back when knocking out sub 19s were pretty regular after running my first sub 20 at this same race. Not having really trained for anything over the last 6 months, my goals were pretty lofty to try to run a sub 20. I’ll be honest, my mileage was up there (50-60 a week), but my motivation to run tempos, intervals, and marathon pace just wasn’t there. I had to get back to just enjoy running for what it was and getting some workouts in with friends.
I started training by inviting some friends to do some “Tuesday Track Workouts” with me, this was enjoyable getting back out to run on a dirt track at 5AM every Tuesday with 2-3 people. This was part of the enjoyment of running I was missing, people around me to indirectly keep my running honest. Then I started mixing in some Thursday tempo runs, not marathon tempo workouts, but setting some times for 20-25 minutes of tempo work which had me breathing hard after getting those miles in during the middle of a run. Saturdays included some longer runs and some Sundays I would run 5-6 “hard miles”, which had me running solo as they were to be at a pace where I wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation.
Hitting 200s and 400s were enjoyable once again for the Tuesday Track workouts, the long easy with friends was enjoyable. This is what I was looking for, this is what I was missing in my running, this is what would jump start me into going after bigger and better things … well I hope it would.
So the last 8 weeks the biggest thing that came out of “training” for a race, wasn’t so much the speed and the excitement of racing again, it was the excitement of being excited to run and train again! I really loved getting to hit the pavement, the track or the trails, it was all enjoyable once again. Before even toeing the line on Saturday morning, this race and the journey to it after signing up was already a win in my book!
Now, let’s get to the race day. I shot Kevin a text message asking him if he wanted to grab a ride with me since I was heading out to Land Park (where the race was being held), he said “yes”, so I headed over the couple blocks to pick him up.
When we got to the packet pick-up area, I got a text from another one of my Tuesday Track homies, Alexia, though she wasn’t racing she was running in that area and joined in on the warm-up around Land Park.
Getting my warm-up in, I was headed to the start line where I saw plenty of familiar faces, many of them who I hadn’t seen in a while because I just hadn’t been racing. This was fun to see all these people, I really did miss all of this, but most importantly I was again excited to be in the environment of a race. I just had no interest in the last few months to sign up for anything, and I didn’t miss it. So being away from races since March was something that I needed to do.
The goal I sought for this race day had a couple parts to it, run sub 20 and run consistent miles. Mile 1 came around and I felt good with a 6:30, Mile 2 then came about and I ran slower than that I wanted with a 6:38, my final mile was 6:33, which brought me to a fairly consistent run, though these times were not good enough to run a sub 20 as I finished with an official time of 20:22. Though I didn’t hit my time goal for this race, I know the process to coming back to finding my enjoyment in running is well worth the disappointment of not hitting my time marks.
After the race I saw the Birthday Boy Steve from the 9RUN6 crew who hit a 30 second personal best in the run. We also saw Courtney running around the area.