Well, after 45 days of recovery from my knee injury in the Catalina Half Marathon, I decided to see how fast I was on flat pavement. I haven’t run on a flat surface nor done speed work since early February, so this was going to be an interesting test. I viewed the race as more of a hard workout than a race and I didn’t expect much. About 700 people showed up at the starting line, 300 or so for the 5K (run on the same course at the same time) and about 400 for the 10K. When the gun went off a few guys shot to the front, I let them go for a little bit. The pace felt very easy, so I picked it up to catch the leaders. Before long, it was myself and one other running well in the lead. The pace was very comfortable even though we were running in the low 5 minutes, so I picked it up even more. By the time we had reached the end of the first lap (the end of the 5K race) I was still comfortably in the lead. As I entered the lap shoot, race officials started yelling at me for being in the wrong shoot. They were saying “5K finish is to the right!!”, I smiled and yelled out, “I’m in the 10K”. They looked dumbfounded as I passed them, I was a little surprised myself. I didn’t expect to do very well in this race considering my training of 12 to 18 miles a week (all uphill) for the previous 6 weeks. But alas, I was the first person across the 5K finish line, and I wasn’t even in that race. The runner that had been close to me ended up being the 5K “official” winner. From that point on, I was all alone. The next runner was several minutes behind me, so I just coasted the 2nd lap, and when it was over I was victorious in a road race for the first time in my life. Good things are on the horizon.
I plan to continue my uphill running routine as I prepare for the US Mountain Running Championships in June, but I’ll also start introducing speed work into my routine. I’ve always believed that most competitive runners run far too much mileage. This needs to be investigated further. I’ll keep you posted on the results.