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Friday, August 31, 2007

Thoughts Before St. Petronille's 5K: Strategy, Pace, and the Saint Herself

Monday's race, a 5K sponsored by St. Petronille's Church, carries some curiosity for me. My treadmill times have improved greatly since my last real outside race, the Viking 5K in Geneva.

In Geneva, July 25, I ran a 23:13. That itself was a vast improvement from my 25:12 from June 2.

Since July 25, I have run a 21:52 on a treadmill at the Wheaton Recreation Center on Blanchard Rd. That's an 81 second improvement.

Or is it?

How a treadmill time compares to race conditions is beyond the scope of my knowledge. If you know, with research to back it up, drop me a line (post a response if you like). One thing is surely true: these are very different situations.

I have no way to base any comparison, but I still need to decide on race strategy. While my general crash and burn plan is still my modus operandi, it is not as if I'll start in an all-out sprint.

Instead, I am going to presume I ran an actual 21:52, and that I have improved since then (August 28). Sure, how much improving can happen in five days? Good question.

On June 2, I ran 25:12. On August 28, I ran 21:52. Difference = 200 seconds over 88 days. That is 2.27 seconds per day. That improvement has held somewhat constant at other time times/races since I started this. Five days of this equals 11.36 seconds, or, a 21:40.

--> Incidentally, barring some good or bad anomaly from this :02.27/day improvement, I'm on track to hit 20:00 around October 15.

A 21:40 equals barely under a 7:00 pace.

Go ahead, question my math. Question my wisdom. I will not, cannot defend that there is anything to this. On Monday, by 8:30, one way or another, we'll both know.

  1. 600-800 meter warm-up, very slow
  2. stretch
  3. Waddle to the starting line
  4. Start at 6:55-7:05 pace through one mile
  5. Adjust pace so that at two miles, I'm at 13:59.
  6. Hold at 6:59/mile pace until around 600 meters to go.
  7. Spend whatever's left in the tank.
    If I have held my pace perfectly until this point, the best finish I could come up with will be 21:32, based on a 2:28 finishing 600 (the best 600 I ran last night).
The trouble with my plan, I acknowledge, is it might be too fast. So what? Since I don't know any better, it is as good of a plan as anything I have come up with. I might last at my pace until 1.5 miles, then gas out with a 10:00/mile pace thereafter. Big deal.
  • My projected time, in reality: 21:50.
  • My projected potential range: 21:32-22:30.
Margaret tells me to watch for Ellen Reifel. Ellen consistently comes through around 20:30-20:45. She finished the Cosley Run in 19:52, which suggests either she's pick up a step, or that St. Pet's is :45 slower. More importantly, it means she runs consistently close to where I want to be. She could be a pace setter for me in the next race or two. Not likely this one.

Who Was St. Petronille?
In short, she is said to be a martyr, after dying on a hunger strike. She refused to marry a king who was not a Christian.

About the Race
First time running it for me.

The course record is decently fast, but not mind-blowing at 16:52. Last year's winner was trotting in at 17:10. This could mean that either it has not attracted faster runners, or the course is challenging. Either way, the record will not change because of my involvement.

Last year's times show I likewise have no shot at an age group award, as third in the 40-44 range took a 19:35. (2005 = 19:44; 2004 = 21:37) My 21:52 would land me in around 35th place overall and fifth in my age group.

All proceeds will be used to support the St. Petronille Youth Ministry. This group of young people perform various acts of service in our communities and around the country. The Harvest Day Food Drive, fund-raising to fight Aids in Africa, mission trips to Appalachia and the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana are some examples of how their acts of goodwill help the needy locally and beyond. This year the kids will travel again to Mississippi and Alabama to help with the lingering effects of Katrina. Feel free to make an additional donation to our Youth Ministry as you complete your registration.

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