I'm not particularly fond of the Anthem 5k. There were 8516 finishers this year. In years past, this race was entirely run along the downtown city blocks. While this made the course incredibly flat, every turn in the course was 90 degrees, and there were walkers interspersed with the front of the running pack. One year, a walker dropped a Sony Discman in front of me near the starting line. The result was similar to rush hour traffic dodging a stalled motorist on the freeway.
Of course, I've run Anthem 3 times now, out of 8 5k races that I've run overall. Why would I run such a race if I hated it so?
- It's obscenely flat. [Not as much this year--more on that in a bit]
- It's chip-timed.
- It's raced by some area elites, which is pretty cool--it's like being Iona in the NCAA Tournament.
- The timing, along with the rest of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, is perfect for building up to a spring marathon: A 5k, 10k, and 10 miler every other weekend, and then one last mileage build-up week before tapering for the KDF Marathon.
- Panera goodies at the end. [I didn't get any this year because my stomach really didn't feel like it.]
This time, the race logistics were greatly improved. The walkers were separated into a group on a cross street so there wouldn't be any ugly clashes [physical or emotional] between people moving at paces 5-8 minutes apart. In order to accomplish this, the race start moved down near the river, which meant that slope going to and coming away from the river would be added in for this year's race. I completely did not expect this. Had I realized this, well--I probably wouldn't have even shot for a PR. In hindsight, ignorance is bliss.
I started this morning at Heine Bros with coffee and a veggie, egg and cheese panini at 6:30 am. When I got to the ballpark, I had another "cup" of Heine Bros. It was at this point that I noticed how that runners and walkers would be separated.
"Good plan," I thought.
It wasn't until about 7:30 am [30 minutes before the race start] that I realized that the race course had entirely changed. I got out near the start about 7:40 am, but stayed in the sunlight until people started lining up at about 7:45 am. It was about 32 F at the start of the race. It was freezing in the shade of I-64, by the way. Every muscle in my body was shaking violently for 10 minutes straight.
I had set up my Garmin 305 for auto-lapping every 1k. I was hitting 4'09" and 4'10" kilometers for the first 4 km - about a 20'45" to 20'50" pace. That one hill coming away from the river seemed cruel at that pace and temperature. Fortunately, there was a slight downhill shortly after that gave me a little momentum pace.
The middle stretch was the typical bargaining with myself to hold pace and feeling a little burn in my lungs and legs.
Coming into the last 1/2 km, I saw a woman that I recognized from several 5k races--mainly because she has passed me mid-race before. I remember that she lined up about 4-5 seconds in front of me. This time, she was about 5 seconds in front of me with the finish line in the distance. I pushed the pace to see if I could pull up even with her, and managed to pull past her with about 1/10 of a mile to go. I got out-kicked by a couple of other racers, but their strong finish probably helped me motivate myself to knock a couple of extra seconds off my time.
Finish: 20:36 for 5k, 6:38/mile pace.
Overall Place: 242 / 8516
Gender Place: 211 / 3609
Division Place (30-34 male): 38 / 522