Sunday, November 30, 2014

Frozen 5k - January 2014

Frozen 5k - Manassas, VA - January 2014
We both won age group awards!
This was my first race of 2014. My wife and I also ran the Frozen 5k last year, and really enjoyed it.  It is a super-fast, flat course, which begins at the Freedom Fitness and Aquatic Center in Manassas. Last year I ran an 18:09, which ended up being my fastest 5k of the entire year.

Unfortunately, this year, I suffered a back strain about a week before this race.  I couldn't do any running all week; just laid around a lot, icing my back.  Luckily we were still on winter break from school, so I had time to recover.  My back started to feel a little better by Thursday.  On Saturday, I ran an easy 3 miles just to test it out, with a quick pickup at the end of the run to see how it felt to run fast. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do in the race, which was on a Sunday.  I thought I could (a) just not do it, (b) just jog it easy, (c) jog it easy, but drop out before the finish, so that my slow time would not be recorded, (c) run with my wife, (d) run fast but not all out - maybe just try to break 20, or (e) just run all out, and go as fast as I could, or my pain tolerance would allow. 

Sunday morning turned out to be bitterly cold, with sleet and freezing rain coming down - very appropriate for the Frozen 5k, I suppose. I ran an easy warm-up before the race. My back was still sore, but much better than it had been earlier in the week. It was a little tight, I think, just from not doing much all week.  I decided that I would try to run somewhat fast, and just see what I could do.  I also decided to just wear my regular running shoes instead of my racing flats, to give a little more cushioning, and perhaps more support and shock absorbtion to help out my back. 

I started the race with a fast, but somewhat conservative, 6:00 first mile.  Oddly, I think this actually helped me somewhat.  Many times, I will go out way too fast in 5ks and then crash at the end.  Going out more conservatively helped me run stronger 2nd and 3rd miles than I otherwise might have.  I actually picked up the pace over the last 2 miles. But it was definitely challenging running through the freezing rain.  The streets were also covered with icy patches in several places along the course, forcing runners to slow down and watch their footing.

I finished in 18:30 (5:58/mile pace), taking 16th place overall out of 449 runners, and 2nd place in my age group.  (Race Results)  The time was 20 seconds slower than last year, so I was not thrilled with it.  But, given that I was not 100%, and I was running in and on ice during the race, I think it was the best I could do.  And it was certainly much faster than I would have imagined I was going to run just a few days earlier when I was lying on the floor with ice packs on my lower back.

The Frozen 5k is a quality local race which I will be running again, and would strongly recommend to others. It is a well-organized event with a cheap entry fee ($20), good shirts, good awards, and a fast course. Who could ask for anything more?

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