5k time! Continuing with my early season road races and testing out the legs, I signed up for the Run to the Plate 5k. This was the 5th year of this race which starts and ends at BC High School in Cayce, SC. I have many friends that went to this school, and I actually went to BC Elementary School. The race supports the baseball team at the school, thus the “Plate” mentioned in the name.
The race was a 9am start so I actually got to sleep in pretty late compared to a typical day. What was special about this race was that it was my official debut as part of the Strictly Running Racing Team! I donned my fluorescent orange Strictly Running jersey, new short shorts, new racing kicks, and headed out the door.
The course was essentially a double loop with the second loop in reverse of the first with a long sustained hill during each loop. Nothing soul crushing, but enough to make you question your effort/pace. I have done a number of runs/rides in the area, so I knew fairly well what was in store. Upon speaking with others at the start line, I learned that some of the quicker local runners had opted for a different race across town, which left only a few of the Strictly Running racers to be at the front of this race. Soon enough, the word was given and the race was off!
Unlike previous races, there were no children or other racers crazily sprinting ahead in an attempt to win the race in the first 100 meters. Instead, Jordan Lybrand (fellow Strictly Running teammate) and myself pulled ahead of the field and ran stride for stride for the first minute or two. Leading into the race I had told myself that maybe I should take it a bit easier and save the legs a bit. These plans are always tossed out the window quickly and as we rounded the first turn leading into one of the uphills, I started picking it up. It didn’t take long for a gap to form and upon cresting the hill and making the next turn, I could tell that nobody would be following closely today. The volunteers at each turn were very encouraging and the lead cop car did a great job in making sure I didn’t get hit when crossing any roads. As I rolled through mile 1, my watch spat out 5:28, which is slightly slower than that 5:20’s I had done in previous weeks. My legs still felt pretty solid though so that gave me the extra kick to pick it up a notch.
The next mile included passing back through the start area with more great crowd support before heading back out up another hill. This time with racers coming from the opposite direction. I tried my best to smile and not look like death as I passed people, and had to swerve a bit as some people were paying less attention than others. The next mile split came out at 5:19, which meant that with a good finishing mile I could come close to a PR for the race! I finished out the hill and following flat section with a good effort before hitting the last downhill before the finish. I attempted to carry strong momentum without letting my form fall apart and before long the next mile split came back at 5:14, meaning that this was going to be a close call. The last portion of the race included running onto the baseball field and through the finish line at home plate (thus the “Run to the Plate”). The grass was slick but I picked it up and finished in what my watch later told me was a 4:44 min/mile pace for a final finishing time of 16:33. Not a PR, but I am pretty happy considering the hillier course and lack of taper.
Jordan Lybrand came in about a minute back, with the 3rd place finisher a few minutes later being Jeff Brandenburg and one of his weimaraners. If this race has showed me anything, it would be that I can consistently hold a 5:20 min/mile pace for a 5k! I have hovered around this pace for the past 3 races with all finishing times being within 9 seconds of each other regardless of the course. This is good news as this is a pace that I frequently use for sustained speed work and I now know that I can execute in a race scenario. The next goal will be to ensure that I can hold close to that pace coming off the bike for the upcoming triathlon season.
After the race included an interesting ordeal, as my car decided to lock itself at some point while I was running with the keys still inside. Thanks to the help from the awesome guys from the Cayce Police Department, we were able to break into my car and retrieve the keys. It wasn’t easy and took awhile as apparently my car isn’t easy to break into. But eventually, we got the trunk open and I wiggled my way in successfully!
Triathlon season for me begins March 19th at the Parris Island Sprint Triathlon. I’m not sure if I’ll do any more road races before then or not but I’m excited as I get closer to my goal races at the end of April and May! If I do decide to do any more races, I’ll make sure to have an entertaining post though!