The hardest thing about running two 5k running races in less than 18 hours apart is running two races 18 hours apart. This weekend I completed one of the more interesting and different challenges of my newly minted athletic career. Last year, my second ever 5k was the Anything Is Possible 5k (Read About It Here), a race centered around the changing of the clocks backwards at this specified time. I loved the race and I have been looking forward to it all year, it had a great atmosphere and party vibe. This year the shift occurred on Saturday/Sunday at 2 AM.
A month ago I realized the 5th race of the Kennesaw Grand Prix was also this last Saturday at eight in the morning. I could have skipped this race and instead focused only on the night time race, but I dedicated myself to doing all the races in the series, and with only two remaining I was not going to miss one now. So I opted to attempt both races, roughly two races eighteen hours apart.
The first race I decided to give it my all. I had about eighteen hours to recover, so I decided to go for it. I decided that I wanted to run this race with a 5:1 run walk ratio as I had been working on getting more comfortable with this ratio. The weather was a bit chilly and before I knew it we were off. Overall I stuck to my running plan and was able to hit a good stride to start with. The first mile is more down hill and level than the remainder of the course so my pace was better. Overall I kept a good pace and had a great run. As I came down the final tenth of the running course I saw the gun timed clock ticking down the seconds heading towards 40 minutes. Right then and there I pushed myself, I wanted to get to the finish line and finish at or under 40 minutes. It hurt as I pushed hard to finish. In the end I finished the race with a flat time of 40 minutes, a new PR for gun timed races (gun timed races make a difference for us slower runners as we loose at least 40-60 seconds or more just getting to the starting point from the time the gun goes off and accounts for the difference in Strava). After this race I went to get pancakes with my running friends and had a great relaxing morning. But the run at 1:50 AM still loomed and my legs were sore from the final push and the aggressive run.
After I left my friends I went to the gym and got on a spin bike. For thirty minutes I kept the contraption at a low gear and shot for a very high cadence. I could feel the muscles loosen and the built up lactic acid decrease. I also spent a bit of time foam rolling and stretching. The rest of the day was spent with the wife and napping. I managed about two hours of napping before meeting up with a friend. We had planned to catch a movie, have some dinner and do packet pickup. He was not running the race, but was along for the ride.
For a while the nap made me feel fresh and while my legs seemed sore, I felt like everything was going to be good. Half way through the movie with only a few hours til race time, my legs started to tighten up. As soon as it was over I stretched, walked, ran in place, did dynamic stretching everything to try and keep them race ready. At that moment I realized that if I was going to have a good second race I was going to have to suck it up, it was not going to be a purely pain free race.
As race time neared, me and my friend found my race friends who raced earlier that day as well and we caught up with each others days. Before I knew it it 1:50 in the morning and it was go time again and along I went. The idea here was that within ten minutes of the run the clock would reset to to one am, thus giving us a negative time. This course was flatter than the mornings course, so in some ways a bit easier on the knees. With a race already on the legs I could feel my legs complain, but I pushed them to a doable level that was a bit slow but not too slow. I hovered on the edge of too much for the entire run, the only other option was to not try and if I am doing two races, I am going to try my damnedest to make both count.
At a point just after mile two a woman jogged up to me and asked if I had ran that morning. I acknowledged and smiled, verifying she had as well. She then told me that she was running this race and looked up and realized that the man in front of her(me) had some amazing calves and that she had done the same thing in the earlier race and she just wanted to let me know that she thought I had some amazing looking calves. I grinned and thanked her and continued my race. The compliment never gets old!
As I neared the last quarter mile I suddenly knew that I would finish, but it would be a struggle. I was running out of gas. I had attempted to keep fueled through out the day, but the race earlier kicked my system into over drive and I just could never get to the point of satiation. At this point I felt hungry and my legs were tired of running… tired of being pushed … tired of the nibbling hip pain, the slight pain around the knees and muscles. At that point I had to fight to finish, the stress of the second race without at least 24 hours to heal a bit was catching up to me. I dug deep and I pushed to finish. There was no sprint to the end in this race, just a steady last push to get to the end without wasting too much time.
As I finished my friends were there and we swapped stories, took photos and ate some of the food being served. It was fun, but man I was tired. My legs were dead and walking made me feel like a shambling zombie. After we enjoyed the festivities we ended up back at the same pancake house for another round. I ended up ordering the same as earlier, but this time I put on more butter and syrup, I earned it. We sat around and swapped stories, laughing and being stupid. We were tired, most of us had been up since 5 the previous day to run the first race and now we ran our second and it was late. After a few hours of giddy excitement over the dual runs we went our way and I headed home to get some sleep.
I had never ran two 5ks in one day and I can say it was one of the hardest things I have done. I have gotten to a point wherea 5k is pretty common, slow still, but doable without question. But when you pair two in less than twenty hours, the simplicity of running a 5k takes on a new challenge. I proved allot to myself with this effort. I proved that when I am hurting I can dig deep and still finish strong. I proved I can perform under unusual stress. And of course I got a negative time for one of my races!!! Til next time.
- Something New (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- Race Recap: Run The Bridge 10k (runawaywithkristenk.wordpress.com)
- Long Beach Half Marathon Recap (lindseysadventuresinwonderland.wordpress.com)
- Race recovery tips: Oldies but goodies (deborahboone.com)
- To stretch or not to stretch? (runningsense.wordpress.com)
- 2013 Hot Chocolate 5K Race Review – Chicago Edition (tootallfritz.com)