Race Name: 4th Annual S.A.F.E. House Run For Shelter 5K
Date: November 17, 2012
Footwear: Vibram Bikila (Ryan), Altra Samson (Rob)
Time: 20:51 (Ryan), 21:48 (Rob)
With Ryan having lived in Henderson, NV for most of his life and myself spending six years there, whenever a 5K takes place in the Water Street district of downtown Henderson, we try to make sure at least one of us runs it. Four years ago, Ryan took part in the first ever running of the S.A.F.E. House Run For Shelter 5K with a 24:02, placing 2nd in his age group and 13th overall. The following year, Ryan, Dalyn, and I all ran the race, with Dalyn and Ryan both winning their age groups with a 23:32 (7th overall) and 24:51 (11th overall) respectively, and myself taking second in my age group with a 25:47 (14th overall). Last year, I was the only one that participated, finishing with a 23:07, 1st place age division, and 8th overall.
For this year’s race, Ryan and I both had lofty goals coming into the race, with Ryan shooting for a sub-20:00 and myself aiming for a sub-22:00. Our time goals were completely off the cuff, and we didn’t really do any 5K-specific training, but thought we had good shots at meeting our goals.
What we ended up doing was everything we shouldn’t have done. Neither of us ran much the week of the race, with me nursing my still-bruised right foot. After checking in and getting ready for the race, we decided to do a light warmup run, which turned into a 1-mile run at around an 8:00 min/mile pace, ending with a 50-foot ascent up Water St, the semi-steep road where the race both starts and ends.
Our warmup ended with less than 10-minutes to spare before the race started, so we had to run to the start/finish line, then stand around waiting for the race to start, never really giving our legs a chance to rest from our warmup. Once we started, we took off far faster than we should’ve, averaging around a 5:30 min/mile pace for just under the first quarter mile of the race, with our legs already feeling slightly jelly-like from the combination of the fast pace and our warmup.
I slowed down and let a couple people pass me, as Ryan remained in fourth place. We turned onto Van Wagenen, a 1.4 mile stretch that drops around 120 ft and we both sped up to around a 6:30 min/mile pace. One of the runners that past me chased Ryan down by the end of this stretch and passed him, while I was able to pass the other runner to re-take 6th place. Turning onto Victory I had to dig deep to keep up the pace I knew I needed to reach my goal and to stay in 6th place. Ryan wasn’t far ahead of me, and I knew that he’d have a hard time hitting his time goal.
Turning onto Water St. and climbing to the finish line, I pushed myself, looking back occasionally to make sure I was putting a little distance between myself and the runner behind me. Ahead of me was Ryan, but he was too far for me to have any chance of chasing down. I was breathing too hard and my legs were shot. In the end, I ran just hard enough to come in at 21:48, taking 1st place in my age group and 6th place overall. Ryan missed his goal but still finished with a great time of 20:51, also placing 1st in his age group and 5th overall.
For neither of us doing any speedwork or any other 5K-specific training, we did great. We spent our time leading up to the race doing our usual trail running, and I ran a hard 25K just the week prior. Keeping a sub-7:00 min/mile pace it was very obvious to us that our legs hated us for not preparing them for such a task, but they held together for us to finish strong. We’ll be back next year, with even faster goals and stronger lungs and legs.