American Medical Association 5K

AMA 5K 2008I’m not sure which edition this is of the AMA 5K but I have raced it the last couple of years. The race is always well attended for an early year race and very well coordinated. This year’s proceeds benefit M.E.R.C.Y. Communities. I’m not sure how many participates there were this year but probably around 75 hardy souls participated. Definitely HardyBreed worthy.

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The weather was cold, rainy, and windy. I believe at race time the temperature was around 37 degrees with a constant drizzle and winds at 10-15 mph.  I believe it actually began to snow a little bit during my warm-up and yet runners like Eric Sommer wore shorts for the run, brrrrrr.

The race completes 1.5 laps of Washington Park totaling 3.2 miles. People were quite antsy prior the start just trying to stay warm. There were some heavy hitters at the race so I think people were a little anxious to compare their fitness with other competitors.This was the start of the 5K season here in Springfield and a points race for the Springfield Road Runners Club (SRRC).

As of late there have been quite a few SRRC members with injuries.  Kim Sharpe has been nursing a knee problem therefore had to skip the St. Louis Marathon.  This was her coming out party.  Aaron Sarff was testing his IT band tendinitis that developed while training for the Lincoln Memorial Half Marathon.  I believe this was Matt Minder’s first race in a while secondary to plantar fascitis.  Our Hardybreed favorite, Danoh, sat out this event to let his knee heal for the upcoming Abraham Lincoln Triathlon Series race in Petersburg.  So quite a few answers were hoping to be answered on this testing ground.

The race began with a relatively long (by Springfield standards) downhill. I started at the back because of my skeptical 5K speed at this point in the season. During warm-up my thighs still felt rusty from the marathon as this was my first run since Sunday. I am used to 15+ milers not 3.0 milers. As always my enthusiasm got the best of me and I began to frantically weave in and out of people to gain speed. I glanced down at my Garmin and read 5:36. “Whoa, I need to slow down” I whispered to myself.

AMA 5K 2008On the flatter section I eventually settled into a good rhythm. My breathing was a little increased but not hyperventilating. At mile 1, 6:40 minutes had passed. A little fast considering my fitness but I tried to proceed. By now the race had spread out and there were no more packs, just individual runners. So as I headed toward 2 miles the headwind was starting to get to me. I passed through the 2 mile marker with an average second mile of 6:56. By this time I was already happy with my effort; beyond expectations. 

After about 2.5 miles I was hitting a lull. Luckily I closed in on another (younger) competitor setting a good pace. He ended up being my carrot until the long downhill at which point I tried to take longer strides and gain speed knowing there was a killer hill at the finish. Now my thighs and lungs started to burn. However, I was feeling pretty good as I was able to push a good pace without being on the edge of collapse. I was tired but felt strong. My marathon and Washington street training paid off on the uphill to the finish as I passed 2 more runners. The hill training came in handy. Once at the top there is a right hand turn to the finish. BAM! A stiff headwind greeted us for the final kick to the finish. Mile 3 was covered with an average pace of 6:49. I finished with a time of 21:41 and average pace of 6:50/mile.

I am not usually happy with my times after races but I felt good with this time; all thing considered.A great race on a miserable day. Hopefully the marathon and 5K are indications for a good season. 

Kudos to all the volunteers of the AMA 5K who put on an excellent race.