“I think I can, I think I can… I knew I could, I knew I could.” – The Little Engine That Could
Five years ago when I receive the e-mail from Rutgers about them joining the Big 10 and the subsequent 5K/10K race announcement, I thought ‘why not’. Having not run a mile in more than 20 years, it was a challenge. But one that I was able to overcome. A couple years later, I tried the 10K race and it was a disaster (especially since the last mile was mostly under McCormick in the dark).
But believing I would need to do a 10 mile run as part of a near-Half Ironman this fall, I was willing to give the 10K race another try. With the growing successes in the 5K distances this spring/summer, I was hopeful that the 10K distance would go okay.
After meeting up with Sarah and Keri, whom were my Achilles guides, we made it to the start. I wish I had known that Bill Murray was going to be the race marshal, as I would have brought a stuffed gopher to toss to him when he offered the bounty for any sheep and the like brought back post run…
As with training, the first mile was faster than it should have been. But unlike the training, I wasn’t feeling the burnout that I normally do after a mile that fast. I was still feeling good at the first water stop (1.5mi) and knowing the time was trying to push for a 35min 5K. I was so close to making it there, but the heat and the faster mile #1 cost me. I don’t have an official 5K split, but 3mi was 36:12. So I would guess 5K at 36:30-36:45 range.
While I had to walk a little bit around/after the 5K mark due to the heat, I was feeling good after the 3.65mi water stop. And with the breeze, shade and extra energy, I was able to do pretty decent until mile 5. At that point, I was a little ahead of the 12:35 pace that’s been overall 5K pace for me. And then the wheels fell off…
At mile 5, I believe I was at 62-63 minutes. During the last 1.2 miles, my left foot tendon started cramping really bad and I had to do run/walk the best I could. That last 1.2 mile took more than 20 minutes because of that, and I was in pain post-race. So much so that at one point when it went from my foot up to the leg I reflexively threw the water bottle that was in my hand from pain.
I’m extremely grateful to both Sarah and Keri for guiding and Achilles for helping me to find guides. While the overall 10K wasn’t great, the 5K part gives me great hope at continuing to decrease the run part of Triathlons. And that’s a big win.