Tomorrow, I will run in my 4th 5K race. Yet, in some ways, it will be much more exciting than any of my previous races. Why?

  • Because my wife and three sons will join me in the race. I can’t wait to cheer for them as they cross the finish line! (Of course, my last statement assumes that I will cross the finish line before they do. Given the pain in my left calf, that may be a faulty assumption.)
     
  • Because I will be joined by a group of men and women from First Baptist Church that I have been able to coach and train for the past 11 weeks. We’ll all be wearing red ‘Run for God’ shirts.

Race Goals

  • Acceptable goal time: It is a VERY hilly route (more so than any of my previous races). Also, as I’ve already mentioned, the lower part of my left calf is hurting. It very well could create a major problem during the race. But, that being said, I believe that an acceptable goal should be to cross the finish line in less than 30 minutes.
     
  • Challenging goal time: Less than 27 minutes.
     
  • Ultimate goal time: Less than 24:21 minutes (my previous best 5K time on a reasonably flat course).

 
Race Strategy
 

I’ve successful shed a few pounds this past week. I’ll eat lite tonight and make sure that what I consume is carb-laden. Tomorrow morning, I’ll probably eat a bagel or banana around 6am. I’ll also consume Gatorade to hydrate and get my carb level up.

I’ll be at the registration desk around 7am to get my race tag, shirt and other items. At around 7:45, I plan to jog a half mile to a mile before the race (8:00am) to elevate my heart rate. If my calf is bothering me, I may cut this pre-run short.
 
I’ll start the race with my family. I plan to run the first couple of blocks with them to set their pace. After encouraging them to maintain that pace until they hit the first half-mile mark (at which point they can pick up the pace if they want), I will pick up my own pace.
 
The first 1/3 mile is tricky because it’s downhill. I’ll be tempted to start the race much faster than I should so I’ll monitor my speed on my watch and try to maintain a 7:30/mile pace on that stretch.
 
Once my heart rate elevates to 170bpm or so, I’ll pick up the pace. That should take place coming uphill on the brick road (S. Brooksville Ave.). From that point, I’ll try not to trash my race by going too quickly up the hills. (My max heart rate is around 180-185. I’ve hit 180 sprinting up hills recently.) I’ll also focus on letting gravity take over and picking up the pace coming down the hills.
 
I’ve never grabbed a cup of Gatorade (or whatever they’ve got in those cups at the “water” stations) and don’t plan to tomorrow. I’ve run more than 9 miles without hydration before. I don’t plan to wimp out and drink during a much shorter 3.1 mile race. It will only cost me seconds on the clock. On top of that, whenever I’ve tried to drink while running … well, more of it gets on my face than in my mouth.
 
After running up the hill on North Avenue and Sunset Drive, I plan to cruise down Moline Street and up Florida Avenue and let my heart rate come down a little. Then, once I hit Howell Ave as the course empties out in front of First Baptist Church, I plan to sprint the rest of the way to the finish line (about 1/4 mile).
 
Afterwards, I’ll hydrate and wait for my family at the finish line. There won’t be anyone cheering as loudly as me when Kim, Zach, Sean and Joseph cross the line!