Goal- Sub 17, blow some cobwebs off, win some cash
Actual- 17:22, blew some cobwebs off, won a beer koozie
As you can see, I only met 1 of my goals for this 'comeback race' and that one was a guaranteed achievement as long as I finished the race. The other two were actually jeopardized on Thursday before I even toed the line.
Firstly, after my run on Thursday morning I had decided that it was time I re-introduced my weekly strides and drills routine I always used to incorporate as an important part of my training. This was all well and good until I woke up on Friday with significant muscle soreness in my left groin from using muscles I obviously hadn't recruited in quite a while the day before. All day at work I was conscious of the soreness and during my pre-race lunch hour 'walk' I was debating whether or not to pull the plug on actually racing. Of course, that debate lasted all of five minutes and a few hours later I was warming up for the race and it seemed fine- 'there' but not likely to impact my race.
The 'winning cash' objective had also been thrown into jeopardy on Thursday. I went to the store to excitedly pick up my new team singlet and hoodie and discovered that Trysports shoe guru and stud runner Cody was also using the race as a comeback of sorts from his own injury issues. It happens that our respective PRs over various distances are very similar but Cody has a significant advantage in the age department. If I was to snag a victory now I was certainly going to have to work for it. The new goal became hang on to Cody for as long as possible and see what the legs had got later in the race.
This strategy lasted all of 100 yards. As soon as we turned the first corner on the course, Cody started to pull away and I didn't feel comfortable trying to match his early pace. Within half a mile I could pretty much tell the race was over unless he blew up majorly- not very likely in a 5k dash. Meanwhile third place was way back so I pretty much settled in and worked as hard as possible for the rest of the race, never looking at my watch, just running a good hard effort that I could take some feedback from later. The course was solid- tough but not overly challenging- an out and back with a significant downhill early on that was always going to be ugly when we returned later on. As we approached the three mile mark I glanced at my watch for the first time and saw 16:40 and was pretty disappointed to see that time- I ran my last Half Marathon just over a year ago at a much faster pace- but at least the race was nearly over!
Coming into the finish line
The victor and I post race, showing off our groovy new colours
Although disappointing and one of my slowest 5k times ever (I can count the number of times I haven't at least gone under 17 minutes in a race on one hand) it was still good to get out there and get that first race out of the way. The groin soreness was probably an issue, it was relatively humid and windy and I ran on my own on a tough course in a state of disinterest for much of the race. All valid excuses but all missing the real issue coming out of the race- that I'm really unfit and need to put some good solid weeks of training together to address that! Looking forward to it!