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The Colder Bolder sent me a post card invite to run a 5K this morning in a heat with other runners who finished with my 50 minute time from the spring Bolder Boulder 10K.  I doubted I could compete at a faster 5K pace but I didn’t have anything else planned for December and the concept sounded interesting.  I signed up for the invitational. The top three finishers win a penguin trophy.

The starting temperature was around 50° so it wasn’t that cold.  I parked down at the Tewnty-Ninth Street Mall and there were no gear bag options so I had to commit to my clothing selection.  I over-dressed slightly but it wasn’t a critical error because the tights and hat were light enough to wear in the summer.  And my shell could be tied around my waist – which is what I ended up doing.

This run is across the CU campus with the pre-race setup site and finish line located in the fieldhouse.  I took some video of the fieldhouse and also of the starting wave and more of the leaders as they passed Norlin Library.  The first wave began at 8am with subsequent waves following every ten minutes.  Mine would be at 8:50.  I refilled my coffee from the fieldhouse and drank some water with it for a bit while stretching, then began jogging for a warmup about 15 minutes before my heat was scheduled to start.  I can’t remember the last time I warmed up this well for an event.  There isn’t much reason for it in longer runs so I start out cold.  But I was concerned about being able to run the first mile faster and prepping with a mile jog is the way to do that.

The trick was to be able to start out fast without going into oxygen debt.  Adding to the challenge was the first 200 yards are downhill.  I think I managed well enough.  I did start off faster than I ever would in a 10K or longer event but I never felt overly fatigued.  The warmup worked.

I felt strong in this run.  I felt like I ran fast – I even suspect I might have run the 3rd mile the fastest.  The two mile point was near the UMC and a few feet later a coed was walking down from the steps that lead from the Broadway crosswalk.  She was oblivious and walking on a path across the course that put her on a sure collision with me.  Maybe she thought I would slow down because I was running uphill but I wasn’t about to yield.  I put on a Heisman move prepared to block her progress with my left arm.  She braked.  I don’t remember if we actually touched but it was that close.  I lost zero momentum and started to pass other runners.  I put on a speedy kick which I rarely do.  Felt good.  I wish I knew my time and had the formal race results to report here but I don’t see them posted yet.

I didn’t catch my finish time and didn’t wait around afterward preferring instead to cool down by walking back to my car.  This was a super satisfying run.  Without knowing my pace I do know that I pushed myself.  I was proud of myself for pushing up the inclines and passing people in the second half of the run.  I accomplished my goal of running at least what I thought was fast.

Once home I did some errands and then Ellie and I went for pedicures.  I know, a 3 mile run probably doesn’t justify such indulgence but I needed to recover for the next 5K.  The Rudolph Dash 5K was set to run though my neighborhood at 3:30.  I didn’t know about this event when I committed to the Colder Boulder but felt obligated since it was in my backyard.  I wasn’t interested in running it too hard since I was happy with my Colder Boulder performance.  So I had a beer and snacks just before the run at Dave’s house while watching the start to the Georgia-Alabama game.  But then I ran into some friends at the start to this second run.

I ran into Chris Triolo, a work colleague who also lives in the neighborhood.  I knew he runs about my pace but I wasn’t concerned about competing with him.  My belly felt too full.  But then as I lined up to start, I ran into Chris Price, Keith and Kelly.  These are the guys who I sometimes train with and have beat me in various runs over the last year.  Now I was even more aware of how heavy my legs felt from the day’s earlier run.

I followed Keith off the line as the race began.  It felt too fast and I let him go for about a minute but then decided I didn’t want to drop too far behind so sprinted back after him.  I kept up with him to Plateau Road where we encountered the coolest thing – absolutely stunning horses galloping across the field to chase us.  That was awesome.  The heaviness from the earlier run began to subside and I was able to maintain the pace with Chris and Keith west on Plateau.  Kelly was running with his kids and Triolo was running a bit ahead but not out of reach.

I began to loosen up and feel good on Sunset.  Chris and I were chatting about wanting to catch the little kids who were running ahead of us and this is where we finally passed most of them.  I passed the rest of the little tykes on Pike.  About the time I caught up to Triolo, Price passed me.  I thought I was going to catch him on my kick but discovered we had to go around another block before turning for the finish and I lost steam.  Bummer because Chris passed the guy who took first in my age division on his kick.  I was a few seconds behind and got second.

I’m extremely surprised to learn from the race results that I ran a 7:12 pace.  That was my estimate of how I ran in the morning.  I feel like I ran faster in the first run but maybe not.  This race gave me some competition from friends.  I have to believe that’s what motivated me because before I saw them I was planning on a leisurely jog.  And I know that whenever I can pass a friend in a race, an angel gets their wings.

I didn’t think I would do any running events in December but the campus run seemed cool and I couldn’t ignore a run in my neighborhood.  My legs are dead to the world now as I’m sitting here watching Texas lose to Kansas St., but I’m satisfied.  Really curious to see my pace from the Boulder run if they ever post the race results.  The second run felt slower, but I did loosen up about halfway and was able to run that competitively as well.  At this pace, I shouldn’t have to worry about winter weight gain.