TITLE: A New Personal Best in the 5K AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: June 11, 2005 12:22 PM DESC: I PRed my first race of the year, an evening 5K. ----- BODY: My first race of the season was a success. Last night I ran the Loop the Lakes 5K here in Cedar Falls. The conditions weren't ideal at the start -- 80+ degrees Fahrenheit and muggy, with a few raindrops -- but I knew that I had a chance to improve on my personal 5K best. The last few months I've been doing speed workouts of 8 miles at 6:40-7:00 minutes per mile, and my best 5K time was 21:26. But with the weather and the hills of an outdoor run, I knew that things might not go as smoothly as a track workout. Any worries were quickly erased. I ran Mile 1 in 6:28, my fastest recorded mile ever. Then Mile 2 passed in 6:34, and I was well on my way to a PR. Then came Mile 3. The raindrops had turned to a heavier sprinkle, but worse was the stiff head wind that greeted us at the beginning of the mile, next to the big lake. After 2/3 of a mile or so, we turned out of the wind... right onto a steep incline to finish the race. Everyone slowed down a bit, and I completed the mile in 7:08. After a sprint over the last 1/10 of a mile, I reached the finish line in 20:50. A fine time, which I am most happy with! I even won a prize. I finished 2nd in the 40-49 age group. The guy who came in first beat me by only 4 seconds, and we nad run within reach of each other the whole race. I've won two age group prizes before, but they were flukes -- my slower times were good enough only because my age group didn't have many participants. This prize was legitimate; the times we ran in 40-49 were in reasonable range of what the other age group winners ran. Now comes the rest of the season. In two weeks, I run in the Sturgis Falls Half-Marathon, and then comes a three-month push to prepare for the Twin Cities Marathon. My speed goals now turn to long, sustained pace. To run a 3:30-hour marathon, I need to run an 8:00 minute/mile pace. I'd like my next few months of training to turn the pace I now find comfortable for 8 miles into a comfortable but somewhat slower 25 miles. The mindset for this sort of training is much different for me. I can't push myself to my limits too soon, but instead must start slower with the idea that this will become my limit in a few miles -- and then keep at it when it gets hard. That's the challenge in training for a marathon, at least for me. I'm beyond the point where long miles bother me much, but setting the right pace for the long runs is still tough. But for a day or so I'll enjoy my new PR. -----