This is my first official race after breaking my wrist during 4th of July weekend which resulted in surgery and 6 weeks in a cast. Although I was technically able to run with the cast on, I was also transitioning to a new job and I didn’t want to be ‘that’ guy with the stinky cast. So I really just limited myself to short walks and a few visits to the gym. I was supposed to run another 5K with my friend at the end of July because he wanted a rematch after I beat him at the Santa Anita 5K. So we finally found another race that we both could commit to, the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon (which also included a half, bike ride and the 5K). In hindsight, we probably should have found a smaller/local 5K, rather than one that was dedicated to the half/full and bike ride, with a 5K on the side. Traffic and parking was pretty bad and I didn’t start the 5K until 5 minutes after because my friend took the bus to the start which kept getting detoured because of road closures from the half and full marathons. Aside from the logistical issues, I actually ran very well, 2 seconds off my 5K PR to be exact! Results: 3.02 miles, 19:00, (6:18 min/mile), placing: Gender: 7/575, AG 2/42, 7/1632 overall. I’m still waiting to confirm the official placing because there were a lot of 0:00 results, which probably means I did not place as well as it currently says. But the time is correct since I timed it myself. That itself is very strange. When I ran 18:58 at the Carlsbad 5000 in 2010, I felt like I was in really good shape and running pretty fast. This morning’s race was completely different. Because I started late, I spent the first half mile or so weaving through walkers and joggers. But like other races I’ve ran in the past, that may have been one of the reasons I ran so well, which I’ll get into below.
As I’ve mentioned in almost every other race report, I am a terrible pacer. I always start off in corral one and try to run with all the fast runners in that group. The problem is that when I do try to hang with them, I end up running out of energy and end up hitting positive splits. Contrast that with today’s splits: 6:50, 5:44, 6:21. I think mile 2 had a downhill, but I definitely ran slower than I would usually run in a 5K for the first mile and that was because I couldn’t run any faster. I was physically held back by all of the casual runners who started at the back of the race for a reason. Once I got through the crowd, I was able to run my own race, surge to runners up ahead and continue moving forward and maintain my pace for the rest of the race. I may have had a kick at the end too! The other reason I can attribute to the successful run is pretty simple: fear. As I mentioned, the only reason I ran this race was to compete against my friend which I found out a few weeks ago that we have a best of 7 race series against each other (which I am now leading 2-0). Based off his (very fast) training runs leading up to the race, I assumed he was going to beat me. But situations arose that prevented him from running the past 4-6 weeks, and knowing that, I felt like I had a chance to beat him. We basically ran side by side for the first mile or so. I was pretty sure if it came down to the final kick, I would not have had enough energy to beat him. So I picked up the pace before the 1st mile and continued to surge throughout the race. The course had a lot of u-turns so I was able to get a glimpse of where he was behind me. Around mile 2, he was about 15 seconds away and I ended up beating him by 30. There’s no way he’ll let me beat him 3 times in a row, but we’ll see what happens in a few months.