Kicking off 2012 on the Roads

Posted on January 4, 2012

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After my final race of 2011 I took a relaxing two weeks off from training and then quickly jumped back into things. With my first triathlon of the year approaching on January 22, I was forced to build my training load rapidly. After my first three-week build, I had a recovery week going into New Years. My first workout of 2012 was the Lowell First Run 5k, conveniently taking place at 11:00 AM just a little over a mile away from my house. I had a pretty chill night on New Year’s Eve, so I was ready to go on race morning.

Coming towards the finish in course record time.

Although the field of runners was big – 1500 competing in both the 5k & 10k combined – there wasn’t much competition at the front, and I suspected it would be an easy win. The course was on the roads of Lowell that I run on almost everyday, so I knew it like the back of my hand. The plan from Coach Jesse was to go out in 5:00 for the first mile, and then try to settle in at 4:55-5:00 pace for the remaining two miles. When the race got underway, I took it out a bit fast to break away from the massive crowd and the folks that would utilize the “sprint the first 400 meters and then die” race plan (always a popular one). I went out at 4:50 pace for the first 1/3 mile and then settled in right at 5:00. There was a slight hill in the first mile, but I was able to come through right in 5:00 flat with a comfy lead on the competition. From there the course flattened out as the last 1.5 miles were right along the Merrimac River. Mile two came and I split 4:59 for that one – right on pace. I kept it steady and had to increase the effort level a lot in that last mile just to maintain my pace. Like clockwork, my Garmin read 4:59 for my third mile split. I came through the finishing chute in 15:33, essentially right at the goal of 5:00 pace. It was a well-executed, even-paced race.  Second place was 45 seconds behind. Since this race came off of four weeks of training and virtually no speed work, I feel that it is a good start to the year. Last year at this time I ran a 5k in Worcester at 5:15+ pace, so I’m well ahead of schedule this year. This was an ideal start to what will hopefully be a special year for me!

Even got some local press from the Lowell Sun!