It was good to race a 5k again. As I wrote last week, I was not sure how the months of long runs, big mileage, and limited speedwork required by my marathong training would affect my 5k times. The question was answered positively. My last 5k on Labor Day 2006 yielded a time of 18.20 (a personal best at that time), but I got around the course in Brownsville in 17.45. Not only did a shatter my previous best, but I ran a good race. Many times, runners go out too fast or too slow, but I think I ran about as well as I could run on Saturday.
I think I run best if I can maintain even mile splits. I slowed down a bit each mile (5.37, 5.44. 5.48), but my perceived effort was fairly even. Plus, I was able to push a little but at the end of the race in the last tenth of a mile. Also, the temperature was in the low 70s and it was cloudy, which is great for a race in June. All in all, I was pleased. This gives me a goal of breaking 17.30 by Labor Day. I will have other 5k races before then, but those are mostly at historically slower courses during the peak of summer temperatures. Shaving off 15 seconds at one of those races is unlikely, but I have not done a lot of speedwork yet. I am very encouraged by this result.
Another great aspect of the Brownsville trip had nothing to do with the race at all. The Edmonson County High School property borders on Mammoth Cave National Park. So, the "cool down" run after the race included a run over a steep ridge to Houchins Ferry. This was not much of a cool down at all, since it required running straight up a ridge, then straight down to the river, and then running back over the hill and down again. Still, the scenery, shade, and smells made it worthwhile, especially after a race well-run.
Look at this map of Mammoth Cave National Park. Scroll down to the last map (the BIG one) and find Brownsville on the left side. It shows how close Brownsville is to the park. For a great summer day trip, pack a picnic lunch and take a drive to Brownsville. Turn right at the ECHS sign. Follow the road up a steep hill and then over the ridge. This leads to the Green River and Houchins Ferry. Take the ferry over and enjoy a picnic. Drive around the park, but find your way back to Brownsville and hit Bertie's Ice Cream before heading home. Good fun.
It was a good trip and a great race. Thanks for your prayers as I do not have any injuries to report--just some lingering soreness. I think my next race will be the 2k on June 23 (next 5k is probably July 14) . This race is FREE and it is the public opening of the new greenway near Weldon Peete Park on Old Lousville Road here in Bowling Green. There is over a mile of paved walking/biking trail on the flatland near the Barren River on the north end of town. Come on out and enjoy the day.