A.M. Ran Murray Fun Days 5 K in 17:34, 6th overall, first master, $100. They are nice to masters - one of the few races that pays masters as much as it does overall.
I decided to do this race for two reasons. After UVM half I realized that with a few extra races I could earn some cash in the master's USATF circuit. I used to race the circuit, but as the number of children has increased, my ability to win prize money has decreased, and our financial situation has improved, I could not anymore justify spending that much time on Saturdays going to races. However, this year with me turning 40 I realized that a couple of 5 Ks and maybe a TOU half would be all I would need to do in addition to UVM, Desnews, and TOU marathon to place in the money. So this was one of the 5 Ks. The other will be Draper Days.
The other reason was I wanted to see what Benjamin could do in a 5 K against your regular USATF circuit competition on a course that I knew. I would highly recommend anybody to run a circuit race if you want to run a 5 K in particular. Unlike many 5 Ks out there, a USATF circuit race has an accurate length (unless the police car takes a wrong turn, which has happened before, but this is a rarity), usually accurate mile markers, a pool of consistent competitors, and a long history of performances. If you run that 5 K in a certain time with certain splits, you have a pretty good idea where you stand and what you need to do to improve. If you run one of the multitude of fundraisers/fun runs/etc the quality of the information is just not the same.
Since we were going to be in competition the plan was that Benjamin was going to follow me, and if I felt I wanted him to lead I would motion to him to do so. Nevertheless, this race was not supposed to be me pacing Benjamin like in the Utah Valley. He has outkicked me before in a 3 mile tempo run, and he has beat me in a 2 mile race, so this was going to be a race over the last mile. I also wanted to win the masters, and I knew that Steve Anderson and/or Dennis Simonaitis (51 years old but still going strong), and/or Mr. X could give me problems.
The temperature at the start was 67 F, with the dew point of 63 F which gives you the relative humidity of 88%. This turned out to be a problem for me, but more for Benjamin. Our first mile was 5:32. We made our way through the crowd. After the turnaround I did not see Dennis either ahead or behind. I was quite perplexed by that. I learned later that somebody stepped on his foot and he felt the injury was bad enough that he could not race. I swear I did not bribe that guy :-)
I could tell that Benjamin was struggling, so I did not quite press on the gas pedal as hard as I would have otherwise in the second mile, and I even said a few words of encouragement to him. This made the second mile slow even though it was downhill. Well, even though the first mile is uphill, it does not have a 180 turn. Also, it is hard to get going on the downhill after running uphill. So that mile ends up being not as fast as you would hope. This time it was 5:43 bringing us to 2 miles in 11:15.
At this point I realized I needed to start running my own race, and let Benjamin tough out his - he had been telling me to go for some time now, but I wanted to make sure he really did not have another gear before I took off. So I gave it a push and caught up to Garret Jones. This took quite a bit out of me - I could not pass him - maybe he sped up as well - and I sat on him all the way until it was time to kick. I thought he was going to outkick me. He surged with about 400 to go and I thought I was dead, but I found a little bit of energy to stay with him. Apparently that in combination with the hill that preceded the final 200 meters was too much for him. When we got to the 3 mile mark which I think was about 3-4 seconds off on the far side (making the kick time faster than what it should have been), I saw 17:05 and not realizing the mark was off, got really mad about all the effort that I had put into the third mile to get only 5:50. So I kicked, and to my surprise Garret did not respond. I kept running scared of his speed, but there was no reason to fear - I gapped him by 4 seconds. Benjamin finished not too far behind in 17:47.
So the finish order was Teren 15:18, Josh McCabe 15:42, Jake 15:44, a high school runner (forgot the name) 16:29, then Albert 17:21, then me with 17:34, then Garret 17:38, Benjamin 17:47, another runner in 17:58, and Steve Anderson in 18:06.
We ran some extra miles with Steve Ashbaker, Jake and Sandy. I ran another 3.5 miles when I got home. Benjamin ended up with 8.5 miles, I got 12.
Not sure what to think of this race. The time was slow. I probably lost 15 seconds or so on pulling Benjamin for the first two miles at a conservative effort instead of being more aggressive and catching up to Albert quickly, but I do not regret it. He is my son and I want to be with him when he struggles. Also, as a coach being there and sensing how he responds to changes in pace is very valuable. Not sure how much of a factor was humidity. Last time I raced in humidity (Rocket City) I struggled a lot. I could definitely feel bothered by the humid air coming in. I suppose we will see in Draper Days in two weeks.
For Benjamin, humidity is going to be a serious concern - he has two track races coming up that will likely be in conditions that are more humid than what he is used to. He told me when he tried to push it in the third mile he felt like he was going to choke. When he finished, he said his legs were not tired. So in other words he could not bring in enough oxygen to make them work. We need to do something about it. So I looked around and found a humidity mask (Humidiflier) that recirculates the moisture in the air you breathe and make it more humid. I ordered two - one for me and one for Benjamin.