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Downtown Westfield 5k and Pizza Extravaganza – 26:20

Downtown Westfield Pizza Run 5k

Mmmmm pizza!

Okay, I think six days is enough time to have recovered from the mental beating I took thanks to this race and I can throw together a quick recap.

This was just not a good race for me. As I keep writing about recently, I’m in a pretty rough rut with running right now and I knew that going into the race so I didn’t expect a lot. Additionally, this race has a knack for falling on particularly hot and humid nights and this year was no different. Still, I thought I could shoot for 24:00 and that would be pretty reasonable. I was wrong.

Before the race, I did a very easy two-mile warm-up run around Westfield and felt reasonably okay, despite the horrible heat and humidity. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about. When it was time to lineup at the start, I was careful to seed myself appropriately. The race actually had signs on the side to indicate the pace you should be able to run if you’re lining up there. I put myself a little in front of the 8 min/mile sign. I looked around and, judging other runners by their looks, figured I was in a pretty good spot for what I was looking to do.

Things were tight at the start of the race, but I tried my best to keep from going out too fast. Unfortunately, my first half mile was around a 7 min/mile pace and I knew I needed to back that off. Thanks to a big hill in the second half of the first mile, I had no trouble dropping my pace quite a bit before crossing the first mile marker.

Sadly, I was already feeling like crap after that hill and had to back it off a lot more in mile two. I couldn’t believe how much I was struggling through a 5k, but there I was. At this point, I just wanted to hang on and get the thing over with.

Mile three was even worse, though. As I got about a quarter mile into it, I started feeling nauseous. With less than I mile to go, I wanted to push through and deal with it on the other side of the finish, but it was the kind of nausea that can’t be reasoned with. That’s when it happened and I did something I never thought I’d have to do. I walked in a 5k. I pretty much hated everything about my life, but I knew if I didn’t walk, I was going to puke. I spent a couple tenths of a mile power walking before picking it back up again and running it out to the finish.

I crossed at 26:20 which, while not even close to a personal worst, is very slow for me. I nearly had a breakdown and sent out this tweet:

Not cool of me at all. I was frustrated and running has been entirely not fun for me lately, but I shouldn’t have tweeted anything that implied it’s not okay to walk during a run if you have to. I apologized when I got home and had calmed down a bit, but I really was down on myself all night.

I think it’s most disappointing to have such a horrible race because I had a kick-ass race just a few weeks ago on the 4th of July. But, you know, it happens, right? This year seems to be all about learning this lesson over and over again.

At least I got pizza at the finish and Chipotle for dinner. Oh, and a nice rain run back to the car since the skies absolutely opened up while they were doing the awards after the race.

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Downtown Westfield 5k & Pizza Extravaganza – 20:31 (pre-HRT)

Ah, yes, the Downtown Westfield 5k pizza run. This was year number four running this race. Historically, it’s a slow race for me. It’s always a Wednesday after a full day of work and has a bad habit of falling on one of the hottest days of the year. It’s a recipe for disappointment every time. I’m rarely happy with my time.

This year, the weather was surprisingly nice, possibly the coolest year I’ve run it. This was a nice relief since I planning big things for this race; I wanted to break under 20 minutes. I knew that setting my goal so aggressively for this race was probably going to result in disappointment, but that’s just how I do things.

Unfortunately, right off the bat, within the first 200 feet, I knew it wasn’t going to be my race. My legs didn’t feel fast and I could feel it in my lungs that I wasn’t going to be able to maintain a 6:25 pace…even though that was exactly my pace for mile one. I gave it what I had, but I was already losing steam in the second mile. I dropped down to a 6:35 pace for mile two. Mile three was even slower.

I finished at 20:31 which is two seconds slower than my PR. TWO SECONDS! So not only did I miss my goal by quite a bit, but I didn’t even PR! I know, I know, you can’t PR every race, but this PR is almost two years old at this point. I mean, I don’t run a lot of 5ks, but still.

Oh well. At least I beat my best time for this race by two full minutes.

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Downtown Westfield 5k & Pizza Extravaganza – 22:32

Yesterday was hot, so very hot. So what was a good thing to do? Run a race! Right? No, I know. It was rough and hot, but the fiancée and I run this race every year. It’s in her hometown and there’s pizza at the end, how could we not do it?

Each year seems to be hotter than the previous one so this time I was smart and set my expectations a bit low. Given that we’re in the middle of a heatwave and the humidity is always awful in New Jersey in the Summer, I gave myself a goal of 22 minutes. I thought was fair for me and my ability.

I started off with a quick first mile (mostly uphill) at 6:35, but that wasn’t sustainable and I knew it. Even that first mile was hard with the humidity. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I was pretty much willing to pay someone to inject some oxygen straight into my lungs. Being way ahead of where I wanted to be for the race, I decided to pull it back a bit, not that I really had a lot of say in the matter anyway. It was much more of my body’s decision than mine. It turned out that I pulled it back way too much and finished with a 7:15 minute/mile pace overall. That’s quite a drop for a 3.1 mile race.

Some days you just don’t have it and the weather has no interest in helping you out. Yesterday was one of those days. Even with all of that considered, I was pretty disappointed with my time. I’ll get over it though. I mean, that time still put me at 190 out of ~2200 runners. Not bad.

On the plus side though, the fiancée earned herself a PR at 23:50 (chip). Hot diggity!

On a side note, this was also the last run in my Vibram Five Fingers KSOs. They are officially retired now–from running, at least. They got me just about 470 miles of road running which isn’t half bad at all. They still could have some life in them, but a few of my toes have worn through and I can feel the asphalt through the holes. It’s time to move onto my second pair of Five Fingers, this time the Bikila model which is specifically designed for runners and has a bit of tread on the bottom.

Pace: 7:15
Overall time: 22:34 (gun) / 22:32 (chip)