I am now in the last week of my first base block, which means I’m racing at the end of the week. The plan calls for a 5K and I’m registered for the Sommerville Jingle Bell Run (Shaun is registered too, although we haven’t figured out how much time I am giving him yet. He want 15 minutes, I’m thinking 8 or 9 is more appropriate). I picked the race for two reasons. First the race is close to Boston. We’ll be at the QT2 holiday party the night before and are staying overnight in Boston. Sommerville is close to Boston so it’ll be a short drive in the morning. Second the race is huge. There will be about 5000 finishers and lots of super fast people (last year the F30-39 winner went 18:21 and 5th place in F30-39 was a 20:41). This means that there will be lots of rabbits to use for pacing and motivation.
While this should be a 5K PR race for me (mostly because my 5K PR is on the slow side), I really don’t run 5Ks well. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of “all out.” In a race like a half marathon, I can cruise along just above lactate threshold for a long time. This is comfortably uncomfortable for me and I have no problem getting my mind in a place to do this for 13 miles. 5Ks, on the other hand, require me to run all out and be uncomfortably uncomfortable. I can’t get my brain to accept burning lungs and burning quads for just over 20 minutes. Plus I’m scared that cold, dry air will cause asthma issues.
So, in typical fashion, the best way for me to approach anything is to over analyze it. I started playing with the Running Calculator to get an idea of what my pace should be based on my current training paces. My last three Zone 1 training runs were are at paces of 8:52 min/mile, 8:50 min/mile and 9:01 min/mile (I’m still about 20 -30 seconds off my Zone 1 paces from before Ironman Florida). I kept putting 5K times into the calculator until it came out with a Zone 1 pace that was about where I’m at right now. It looks like the time of 21:40 is the winner (this corresponds to a Zone 1 pace of 8:46 – 9:24). A 21:40 is a 6:59 min/mile. That 6 is kind of scary. I think the goal is going to be to head out at a 6:50-ish pace and hold on for as long as possible. If I can handle the last 3 miles of an Ironman marathon, I should be able to handle a 5K.