Monday, May 25, 2015

Getting Zippy: Fair Oaks Ambulance Chase 5K

Continuing my series of 5K races this summer, I ran the Fair Oaks Ambulance Chase 5K on Saturday. I ran this race back in 2009 and I remember it being extremely hot and hilly, winning my age group but not getting any kind of award.

I decided to do this one again because it seemed like it would be better organized with =PR= managing it and the weather was forecast to be seasonably cool. 

My friend Chad also ran it, as the race goes right by his house. Greg is still on crutches (although he's not wearing the boot anymore) so he came to cheer us on. I'm really looking forward to being able to run with my husband again!

Before the Race
At the race, we found Chad and I did a 15-minute warm-up with him. I noticed that the mile 3 marker
Chad and I at the start line
was definitely farther than 0.1 mile away from the finish line. I could tell just by eyeballing it. To me it looked like there was at least 0.2 mile between the final marker and the finish line. But, I didn't worry about it-- it was more of an observation than anything else.

We lined up at the start line and there was an actual ambulance there that had "Chase Me" written on the back of it.

Based on a recent training run of 3 x (1600m, 3:00 recovery, 400m, 1:00 recovery), I estimated my 5K pace to be about 7:00. That the 1600m intervals were supposed to be run at 5K pace and the 400m intervals at mile pace. My splits for the 1600m intervals were 7:03, 7:01, 7:01. Even though this workout was flat and the 5K was hilly, I figured I would be pushing much harder in a race and could still probably be around 7:00.

Using that workout and my previous 5K time of 22:39 as a benchmark (which was on a very similar course, but with hotter weather) I was targeting a time of 21:55-22:20. 

Mile 1: 6:50
The course started with some uphill, but then there was a very long downhill for the the second half of the first mile and I flew down it. It was the same downhill that I ran during the Angel Kisses 5K two weeks ago, so I knew I could take it quickly and not ruin the rest of my race.

Mile 2: 7:08
Even though it was only 56 degrees, the course was not shaded and the sun was pretty high in the sky. I could feel myself heating up a little, but it was nothing like the Angel Kisses 5K from two weeks ago where it was so humid I felt like I couldn't even breathe. To make up for the downhill in mile 1, this mile was primarily uphill. According to my Garmin, this mile had a net elevation gain of 57 feet, which in my mind makes it the strongest mile of the race. I don't remember too much of this mile other than just pushing really hard on the uphills. I ran faster them than expected.

Mile 3: 6:57 
I recently had a conversation with my sports psychologist about the final mile being the one that
counts. You run the first two hard so you set yourself for that final mile, which is the true test of mental toughness. I just powered through this one, reminding myself of how strong I was.

Last 0.17: 1:04 (6:19 pace)
I passed mile marker 3 and that final bit of the course was definitely longer than 0.1. And when you are pushing that hard, every bit makes a difference. I think I got a lot of my energy from knowing that
I could go sub-22:00 if I pushed really hard.

After I crossed the line I looked at my Garmin, and it read 21:59! I was super excited! But part of me knew there was a chance that the official time would be 22:00. This happened to me once at a Crystal Run 5K Friday (I got a 22:00 and was hoping for sub-22:00). I know that it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but it just feels like a much bigger accomplishment to run a 21:59 than a 22:00.

It turns out I was the third overall female, and I won a Dunkin Donuts mug with a $10 gift card for Dunkin Donuts. Fun!

Race Comparison
It's nearly impossible to do an apples to apples comparison with different course profiles, weather, distances, etc. So here is one way to look at my progress over the past six weeks:

Race, Date
Garmin Dist.
 Garmin Pace
 Official Time 
 BEST Kids, 4/18
 62, sunny, low humidity
 Angel Kisses, 5/10 
 69, overcast, very humid
 Fair Oaks, 5/23
 56, sunny, low humidity 

I've been doing some really challenging workouts that make me feel as if I am pushing past limits and going beyond what's comfortable. I think my progress over the past six weeks shows that my work is paying off, and I plan to continue down this path throughout June and July. I've never run a sub-22:00 5K in anything warmer than 40 degrees, so it would be a huge accomplishment to be able to run this fast for my July 4th race, when it's bound to be hot!

Other Notes
I've been wearing the (relatively) new Mizuno Wave Sayonara for my past few races. This shoe supposedly replaces the Mizuno Wave Elixir (one of my all-time favorites), but it's not a stability shoe, doesn't have as much cushion, and it's lighter. To me, it's not really comparable to the Elixir, but I am running comfortably in them and I'm enjoying their light weight. I'll need to save my last few pairs of Elixirs for half marathons, because I can see my feet hurting if I wore the Sayonaras for a longer race.


  1. Great job Elizabeth!

    I also like the Mizuno Wave Elixir and was bummed that it was discontinued. I do not believe for one second that the Wave Sayonara replaces it since they're still different. I hope Mizuno brings them back.

  2. Great job on your 22 and your 3rd place win! A gift card for DD is a pretty awesome prize and it sounds like this was a tough race. I miss temps in the 50s. All my runs lately have been 70 or above. It's funny how cool 70 feels now. Just wait until the Fall when it cools off there, you will probably be close to 21 flat on a flat course and cool day!

    Mizuno discontinued my shoes too, the Wave Precision. I also have the Elixirs but don't run in them anymore. They're old. I really like their new shoe called the Wave Hitogami so that's another one you could try. I have run a lot of 5Ks/10Ks in mine as well as 2 half marathon races (but I won't do a long training run in them). The only downside is my Hitogami's wore out after 300 miles.

  3. Woohoo, congratulations!

    I still miss the Elixir. The Sayonara are okay but not my favorite. They feel a little too hard underfoot to me. I've been enjoying the Skecher Go Run Ride, actually - if I ever do another marathon I might go with that!

    1. Yes, agree that the Sayona need a bit more cushion. I wouldn't feel comfortably wearing them in a half marathon like I do the elixirs. Interesting on the Sketchers@