I think I left off with race reports after a successful beginning to the year at Walleye Run and a very disappointing second showing at Fish Day. Picking it up from there, I've had a few races since then, though nothing I've been all that excited to write about.
Hank Aaron 5K: Made a few changes after Fish Day, trying to correct my course. Went in feeling like I could get myself back on track. Still, I knew I wasn't in great shape. My plan was to get out in the 5:30s, then try to ramp up from there. I hit the mile at about 5:50, tried my hardest to pick it up after hearing that split but just didn't have anything. I hit rock bottom with an 18:50. As far as I can recall, my slowest 5K since high school, which means 15+ years ago.
Jamie Block UW-Stout Alumni Meet (4 mile cross country): Corrected a few things again but had a relatively short turnaround to this meet. Essentially, I dropped my volume and attempted to go with what I had to bring myself to whatever peak I could get. First mile is easily the fastest on this course, hit that in 5:38, feeling pretty good about things. This was easily faster than any miles I put up at Fish Day or Hank Aaron. Faded from there a bit but that's not unexpected given the course. Finished better than the previous two races to finish second among the alumni from the era I ran in with a 24:20 (times are always deceptive here - a slow course).
Al's Run 8K: I know that my pace at Al's Run is typically very similar to my pace at the alumni meet. Still, I believed I could go under 30 minutes. Even in a bad race, like last year, I still go under 30 minutes at Al's Run. I always do. Started out at about 5:50, running with Double for most of the first mile. He pulled away and I could just feel I had nothing to respond with. Ted Shue came up on me in mile 2 and I fought my hardest to stay with him. I did for a while but eventually couldn't any more. Shortly after, new HillRunner.com teammate Tim came up on me and I ran with him to the corner at the 3 mile mark. That's where I always drop the hammer. I did my best to do the same this time and did manage to get going some. Passed a couple of guys in mile 4, fought my hardest through the final mile. Finished in 30:27. Pretty much in line with my result from the alumni meet, not what I wanted but ran the best race I could given my current fitness level for two races in a row.
For the last two races, I'm calling them good races off bad training. I can't say either was a bad race. I ran tactically smart races, given the layout of the courses, in each race. I ran as hard as I could and finished with nothing left. I did all I could on race day. I just didn't do what I should have been doing in training, something I knew since January. Maybe I just needed this year as a break from the routine. It has been 21 years of competitive running for me with very few breaks in there.
I also think the changes I made after Hank Aaron were the right changes. With only a month to Al's Run and a couple weeks to the alumni meet, I had to do what I could to bring myself to a quick peak. Now, though, I have a little more time before my next race and I'm essentially starting over.
Starting the day after Al's Run, I made more training adjustments. I'm going to try to pound myself into respectable shape for a late October 5K. I've broken 17 minutes in a 5K at least once every year since 1996 (didn't run a 5K in 1995, best of 17:06 in 1994). It's an incredibly tall order given where I am now but I want to take a shot at keeping that streak going. I might need more time than late October but I'm going to try. I'm all in for this race and going to do all I can between now and then to go sub-17.