25 Laps?! Yep, My First 5000M Race on a Track!

>> Tuesday, January 04, 2011

It just sounded too crazy NOT to try: a 5000 meter run on a 200 meter track. That's 25 laps. Sign me up.

Sean and I were going to both race the 5000. He had just hurt his foot a little, so he was going to treat it like a hard tempo run. Here we are before the start:

Oh yeah, I had decided to wear the "bowl full of sunshine" shorts too! LOVE them! ;)

Sean and I lined up with the 17 others racing the 5000. You can see us just left-of-center:

Pharmie came to cheer us on and to take all of these photos! Thanks Hun! I had told her 2 things before the race. ONE: my goal was sub-18, shooting for around 17:45 (which would be around 5:45 / mile). And TWO: I had to watch it because I KNEW I could go out too hard.

The good news was I could take as many splits as I wanted to! The bad news was that 25 laps sounded depressing! I settled on taking my 1600 splits (8 laps), but I knew I might be looking at my watch every 400 (2 laps). The 19 of us gathered near the start, worked our way up to the line, and waited for the gun. Sean and I shook hands and wished each other luck.

"To your marks....." BANG!

(You can see the smoke by the gun)

See the guy with the pink shoes in the inside lane in that photo? Well he jumped right out into the lead, and I jumped in right behind him. We all got to single file pretty quickly. Here's how it looked as first place and I came down the home-stretch of the first lap, and this was the closest I got to him all day:

He just pulled away after this.

Another few laps into the race.

Making a pass after a few more laps.

I was A.L.W.A.Y.S. passing someone. I think everyone was either being passed or making passes. I only mention this because it's like I was nearly ALWAYS running in the second lane. With 19 guys on a 200 meter track, there's a lot of passing going on. I told Sean that I'd spank him whenever I passed him. When I first passed him (and spanked him), he said, "Oh, that was just a 'love tap!'" I laughed and wanted to say something like "Don't tempt me!" Ha!

When I ran past Pharmie after 4 laps (800 meters), I saw the clock read 2:30. Yep, I was running 5:00 / mile pace. Sh*t. Remember my worry about going out too hard? Yep, I was going out too hard. I tried to ease up a bit and let the speedy 18-year-old go. As I ran past Pharmie, I said "I'm going too fast!"

Passing a group, and shooting Pharmie a little grin.

Sean workin' it!

Taking my split after the first 1600. Yep, the clock reads 5:19.

1st 1600: 5:20. "Whoa. That's a little fast, buddy!" I wasn't thinking PR; I was thinking "you're gonna crash and burn!"

Coming up on Kirt, checking the time.

More passing a few laps later.

I glanced at my watch at the 12.5 lap mark (2500 meters, or the half-way point). I watched the numbers tick over from 8:29 to 8:30. That meant if I could HOLD this pace, I'd have a 5K PR of 17:00 flat. (My PR is 17:11.) But I knew better - I was NOT going to be able to hold that initial pace!

Here's a photo of me at the end of the line, coming to the 3200 meter point (2 miles). I was still running in second, and first place had just lapped me - first place is wearing the dark jersey in the middle of this pack:

2nd 1600: 5:38. "That's what I thought: you couldn't hold that. But KEEP IT STRONG HERE!" I figured I could turn in a sub-17:30 at this point, and I was pretty thrilled! But I was hurting!!

Around 8 laps left.

I just passed the guy behind me, and he stayed on my heels!

The bald guy behind me in that photo stayed just a stride or 2 behind me the rest of the way. He was pushing me nicely! He came up to me after the race and thanked me for being his rabbit!!


A few laps left. Guy in white still on my tail. Still feeling "owww."

Taking my third 1600 split with ONE LAP LEFT! Major owwww.

3rd 1600: 5:38. "1 lap left! Just GOOO!" Jeez, I was hurting! I mean, did you SEE my face in the photo above?... ;)

The next series of photos are all just a few seconds apart in real-time:

Final kick on the outside.

Awkward finish. Awesome. (And that's my "lap counter" on the left.)

Just let me catch my breath...

"... Go Sean! Nice work!...."

*huff* *huff* *cough* *huff*

...I feel like hell....

5000 meters
5:33.9 / mile
2 out of 19 overall
1 out of 4 in the 19-34 age group


First place (the speedy 18-year-old who nearly lapped me twice) finished in 16:10. Good God.

This was my second fastest 5K time ever! That shocked me a little! But Pharmie had told me before the race that I was going to surprise myself. How does she always know?!?

Having to do 25 laps wasn't as mentally draining as I thought it was going to be. Maybe I had psyched myself up enough that doing the actual race wasn't that big of a deal. I think it also really helped that I broke it into 1600s like most people would during a normal 5K.

I think I turned in a better-than-expected time because there was no place to let my mind wander. It wasn't like a normal 5K where maybe between miles 1 and 2, there are just a few spectators. There were people to push me (spectators and runners alike) the ENTIRE time.

This was a Charities Challenge race, and they have 2 more indoor track meets coming up over the next month (with "normal" track events like the 60, 200, 400, 800, mile, etc). Check them out if you're interested.

I caught my breath and cheered for the rest of the runners. Pharmie and I cheered Sean to his finish:

Congrats Sean!

I cooled down a bit and ran with Pharmie (who was stretching out her legs after her 10K the day before - see yesterday's post for photos during her 10K). Then we had to grab 2 more photos. Before the race, I chatted with Mary (a local blogger) for a while. We'd never "formally" been introduced. Mary seems like a ton of fun! So here's Mary and I after my race:

Thanks for volunteering and helping out, Mary!

Sean and Pharmie post-race.

So just a final big THANKS to Gary and the rest of the crew at Charities Challenge for making my first 5000 meters a (sort of) fun one! (Well, at least less agonizing than I thought!) Thanks everyone!!

Back with a "2010 in review" post shortly.


Allison 8:42 AM, January 04, 2011  

Totally Kick A%$..... I wish I was as fast as you!! AMAZING! Pharmie took awesome pics! Great report!

Christi 9:23 AM, January 04, 2011  

Congratulations Steve! You did a great job and I don't know how you did it. I hate running in circles so I would never try that!

Great pics Pharmie!

SteveQ 10:15 AM, January 04, 2011  

The balding guy you passed and who stuck on your heels is Bobby Paxton. Helluva runner. I trained with him (in 1987!) and we'd do 10 miles in 58 minutes every Wednesday. It was a weekly race for me, a training run for him.

ShirleyPerly 10:17 AM, January 04, 2011  

Congrats! See, I told you those laps go by fast, even if you have 150 of them. Are you running Zoom Yah Yah Marathon next?

Unknown 10:54 AM, January 04, 2011  

Amazing! And yay for Pharmie for taking such awesome pictures! :)

SteveQ 12:09 PM, January 04, 2011  

Hey! Your counter's closing in on 1,000,000 hits! What's the prize for visitor one million?

RobbyB 12:38 PM, January 04, 2011  

In those last few pics after the race, you're doing a good job holding up the wall. Nice race!

Pretend this is real 3:05 PM, January 04, 2011  

I've had to do crazy amounts of laps indoors before due to poor weather and it's never as bad as one would think. Having things to distract you constantly really helps the miles go by. Great run!

Beth 8:16 PM, January 04, 2011  

Great job!! Thank goodness you had a lap counter. I can't count laps at the pool and trying to count while racing would not work for me. You gave it your all and did awesome!! Pharmie did a great job taking pictures, too. You guys had a fun weekend!

stefanoSTRONG 2:15 AM, January 05, 2011  

well done steve! too fast for the camera!

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