I decided to dust off the ole Saucony Kinvara’s and give it a go in a highly contested 5k this past weekend. The Big 12 5k (and 12k) always attracts top runners from the area due to the stellar top prize. The winner of the 12k gets $1000 in a gas card and 2nd gets $500. The winner of the 5k wins $750 in gas thanks to Phillips 66 being a main sponsor. Seeing as though $750 would be a year’s supply of gas, I was eager to see what I could do despite not being in the best 5k shape right now. I’ve really only done one workout and a ton of strides. I have focused a lot of my winter training trying to build strength on the bike, so running has taken a bit of a back seat. However, I knew I’m in good general fitness and just hoped my strength would eventually take over, especially since this is a very hilly course.
Being the triathlete that I am, I decided to pack my indoor trainer and road bike for my warm up instead of the traditional run. I posted on Instagram that I got a ton of funny looks while I was warming up on my trainer behind my car in the corner of a parking garage, but such is life. The 1/2 mile uphill start of the race was a rude awakening. A group of 4 got off to an early lead. I slotted behind a pack of 3 guys, including the eventual 1st and 2nd place 12k runners and my friend Phil Miller (also racing the 12k). I knew these guys were all in the 12k, but the pace felt hard (5:20 pace at this point) and I couldn’t really pick up the pace any at that point to bridge the gap. We finally started to go downhill right before the first mile. I picked up the pace and went through mile 1 in 5:10. At this point I passed the guy in 4th and started to try and close the gap to the front 3. Unfortunately, we were going the same pace (4:50) and I didn’t pull them back any. After the long downhill, and not closing any time, I tried to regain my rhythm on the lone flat section of the course. Turning right, we started our mile-long uphill journey back to the top before a slight downhill to the finish line. A little ways up this uphill, one of the guys basically dropped out and started jogging. The uphill slowed my pace and I went through 2 miles in 10:17 (5:07 2nd mile). I was sitting in 3rd place, but I was already in a world of hurt. I haven’t run 5:10 or 5:07 since early November and still had .75 of a mile uphill to go before we finally finish downhill. 1st and 2nd place started pulling away and I was just trying to keep it together as best I could. My 3rd mile was 5:38 and eventually crossed the finish line in 16:23.
Overall, I’m definitely happy with my effort. On a flatter course, I really think I could have sneaked under 16 minutes despite no true 5k training. It makes me excited for the upcoming triathlon season because I have several sprint distance races on my schedule as I try to regain some of my speed that I lost after a year of Ironman training and racing. Next race is another 5k on April 9th and my first triathlon is a sprint distance on May 1. You can find the rest of my schedule here (5k’s not included). My parents didn’t attend the race, so no race action photos.
Warming up before the 5k.
Training camp in Las Vegas was amazing and definitely the best of the three I’ve been to. For starters, I didn’t crash like last year, so that instantly made camp 1 billion times better. Training camp, for me, isn’t about the training; it’s more about the time away from work and Missouri winter and getting to know my teammates outside of social media or race results. My biggest week of training is 15 ish hours. At camp, I got in just over 20 hours of training in 4 days. Matt Dixon of purplepatch Fitness (who wrote the plan) had a great mix of low stress sessions as well as build efforts/progressions mixed in that didn’t leave me completely trashed despite my biggest “week” (or 4 days) of training ever. We were always on the go with maybe an hour or 90 minutes in between sessions that was usually spent traveling to our next location to train. Often starting at 7 am and ending mid afternoon, only to devour all food in sight, then a few hours later enjoy a fabulous meal provided by our camp chef Donna Trauger (wife of teammate Tom) and her mother. The meals were by far the best we’ve had out of all 3 camps I’ve been to.
Some highlights from camp:
- We actually did a recovery ride Friday afternoon. It was awesome.
- Team dinners (as mentioned above).
- Running on the 6 tunnels trail to Hoover Dam.
- Biking to Red Rock Canyon. A 1000 ft climb in 4.5 miles was remarkable. I never get to do that back home, but I’ve always wanted to go for rides on long sustained climbs. Plus the scenery was hard to beat.
- Ditching my usual old man routine by going to bed early. On Saturday night, roughly 30 of us traded the lycra and athletic apparel and went out to Mandalay Bay for a night out on the strip. Winning $113 in 20 minutes of playing craps never hurts either.
- Surviving camp. Not only not crashing, but also finishing camp not 100% trashed like I have previously. I actually felt strong on the last run of camp despite the hilly route.
- Getting to know my teammates. Since I’m from the Midwest, I never have the opportunity to train with any of my teammates. So, going to camp and training with them and just getting to know them better is one of the best parts for me. I’ve always been involved in team sports, so it’s nice to be in that atmosphere again.
- Getting swim lessons and tips from teammate Matt Patton who twice won a gold medal at the Pan American games as well as many other accomplishments.
- Getting nutritional advice from Jesse Kropelnicki from the Core Diet. I learned more in a 40 minute Skype call then I have in the past several years. My mind was blown after the call. Looking forward to discussing these changes with Matt Dixon and implementing some of the changes to see how they will help my training and racing nutrition strategy. Especially with Kona’s heat and humidity this coming October.
I definitely have to start off thanking Ritch for setting up a phenomenal camp this year. I can only imagine the planning and coordination required for getting camp ready for 55 guys as well as having all our new gear from our fantastic sponsors. Matt Dixon of purplepatch Fitness for writing a great plan for training camp with a nice mix of easy and build sessions. SAG Monkey for supporting us on all our training and making delicious rice cakes for us to eat during training. All my teammates at camp, it was a blast training together and getting to know you all. All of our great sponsors that provided swag for camp and our new gear for 2016: Every Man Jack, Felt, Roka, Saucony, Rudy Project, GU Energy, Louis Garneau, Enve, NormaTec, Sock Guy, Boco Gear, Garmin, Lululemon, and purplepatch fitness, thank you!! And finally, I cannot thank my parents enough. Despite some thinking they drove out to Vegas just in case I crashed again, they were actually there for a 2 week road trip vacation of their own. However, they coordinated it with the training camp and drove my bike out and shuttled me to and from the airport. They saved me from having to pack and reassemble my bike twice, plus airline fees for flying with a bike. Thank you so much!!
I’m already looking forward to Team EMJ camp next year.
Now for a few pictures:
Team photo before 6 tunnel run
SAG Monkey making rice cakes for the next day.
SAG Monkey and great views
Park of Red Rock Canyon
Roka came to let us demo the new R1 goggles and talk about their new wetsuit
New Louis Garneau white top is sharp.
Team out at Mandalay Bay