My Perfect 5k

I guess every runner has his or her own favorite race.  It need not be a personal record-setting race or one that meets each and every one of your expectations.  As I mentioned in How it All Started, I took up running in late 2007 for health reasons.  While back then road races were already aplenty, I started joining races only in October 2009, with my debut race being the 5k event of the 2009 Adidas KOTR, which I ran with Wifey. 

The 2009 Adidas KOTR turned out to be a disaster of sorts for me.  Pre-race day, I had to wait in line for almost two hours to claim my race kit.  I was also hoping to snag an item or two at the running expo.  To my dismay, however, there was nothing there worth charging to my credit card.  Race day itself was not much better.  My target race pace was waylaid by (a) my total lack of race experience [I ran the first 2k at 4:15mpk, I think]; and (b) the fact that the race route was longer by 1.4km.  Such less than perfect conditions notwithstanding, the 2009 Adidas KOTR will always be special. Aside from being my first race, the 2009 Adidas KOTR was responsible for single-handedly transforming me into a running nut.  

Since the 2009 Adidas KOTR, I have run four other races (two 5k’s and two 10k’s).  My last race was the 10k event of the 2010 Century Tuna Run, which, save for the very early gun start (I missed the gun start by 10 mins), was perfect in all respects.  Having said that, I would have to admit that, to this day, nothing comes close to my 2009 Timex Run experience.  It was only my second race and, with the disappointments from the 2009 Adidas KOTR still fresh, I was keen to bounce back.  I downloaded an article discussing Jack Daniels’ VDOT principle, entitled “Your Magic Number,” which had a 5k training program dubbed as ‘A Perfect 5k.’ It was a 6-week program and, for the most part, I was able to stick to the training schedule.  In fact, my 2-week vacation leave coincided with the final phase of my training plan – allowing me lots of time to train and rest.  I also scouted the race route to check if it was the correct distance.  It was – down to the last meter according to my car’s odometer (I didn’t have GPS then).

To cut the long story short, I finished my 5k in 22:40 – a far cry from the 12:37 WR held by Kenenisa Bekele, but quite a feat for a 36 year old litigator in only his second race.  The following email to my bros shortly after the race sums it up:

“Good thing I had a sneak preview of the route as some of the race markers were off.  The 2k marker was placed around 30 meters beyond my 2k marker while the 3k race marker was placed around 20 meters before my 3k marker.  Kaya I just disregarded these in computing for my splits.  To be honest, I was planning on taking your advice (to run at 4:50 pace) to heart.  I deliberately tried to run slow on my first km but I still reached my first marker at 4:40.  From then on, I just maintained the pace as it felt comfortable enough.  My second split was also 4:40.  When I got to my 3rd km marker, I was surprised to find out that I went faster by a few seconds without really trying so I knew that I was going to go fast. On my first 3k, I was in a group of 4 runners whom I thought would make for good pacers.  After the 3k mark, most of them slowed down. On my 4th km, two things got me worried – first, the 3km runners who were going in the opposite direction were taking up the entire road and a portion of the sidewalk even.  Thus the 5k runners were relegated to the sidewalk, single-file pa.    Thus, I had difficulty passing the three runners in my group.  I felt that they were slowing me down so I knew that I had to overtake them already.  I had to run in spurts just so I could take advantage of the few and far between openings.  Kinda like overtaking on the narrow provincial highways leading to Dagupan.  Hehe.      
Anyway, approaching the finish line, I caught up with this other guy who was consistently ahead of my group by around 20-40 meters during the entire race.  Siguro I was able to overtake him on the last 200m.  On the 100m mark, I felt him make a move – nag-sprint si loko. Aba syempre nag-sprint din ako.  5 seconds into our mini duel, he eased up.  Siguro na feel nya na meron pa ako.  Hehe.  Those lung-busting intervals really served me well.  I think he’s the guy who finished 2 seconds after I did based on the finishing time.  But based on our chip times, I actually led him by 10 seconds.  Hassle talaga that I wasn’t able to get a good position at the starting line.  I know that it’s chip-timed but I had to weave my way through a throng of runners for the first 20 seconds or so.  Sayang, that’s about 5 seconds delay siguro.  Hehe.  Anyway, I’m so happy with my result that I ran an easy 5k this morning, of course, at my new training pace based on a 43 VDOT.  J


Sprinting towards the finish line.


3 Responses to “My Perfect 5k”

  1. Eric Sajorda Says:

    Galing! 🙂

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