Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

On Thursday of this past week, Albany hosted the annual CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a race that employees of companies located in the Capital District are able to compete in, representing their company. It is just over a 5K, measuring at 3.5 miles in distance. This year, I overheard (unofficial) suggestions that there may have been ~7K people registered.

The race was after work at 6:25pm on Thursday, and the course consisted of a loop around Washington park, book-ended by a straight shot out and back on Madison Avenue. The start and finish were only located a few hundred meters apart; the hill the race started up on was the same one we strode through the finish on. The weather was mild, partly-cloudy and in the mid-to-high 60s.

On a personal level, this race turned out to be a new 5K PR for me. I did not commit to a very serious training plan in the weeks leading up to the race, but I did continue running 4-5 times per week. Going into the race, I’ve been averaging 25 MPW, with very brief (if any) speed work sessions.

Thursday race prep was a little odd for me for this race, since I was away from home for the week. So, my sleep and diet were a bit different from what I probably would have preferred, but I they weren’t terrible. That meant I was up a little later the night before, and didn’t have as many calories during the day, but I was certainly still able to hydrate. In the last 30 minutes leading up to the race, I drank about 12 fl oz. of water and had one Gu gel (lemonade) plus a few caffeinated chews. The WU run lasted for about 4 minutes, but probably should have been a little longer. Than I swapped out the Saucony Speed 2s for the VaporFlys.

As for expectations, my goal was just to run the race at a sub-7 minute pace. The goal that I’ve been chasing for a few years now has been to run a 6’50 half marathon, so I knew it’d be a nice boost of confidence to at least run faster than that too, since this is about a quarter of the distance.

Given my goal, I made my way to the appropriate section on the start line (6’00-6’59) and bumped into a few friends from the weekly ARE track runs. Of course, that wasn’t all that surprising since it is a local race. But it was great to exchange a few words and share our goals, and build up some positive energy before the start. And also quash some pre-race angst.

From the race start and through most of the first mile, I was feeling pretty good. It’s a challenge to avoid starting out too fast sometimes, but I was able to hold back and control my breathing, and I’m glad I did. I opened up the stride on the downhills, and smile for the cheering spectators – the loudest of which was Coach Michelle.

The results: I finished the 3.5mi race in 22:22, with a pace of 6:20/mi. This was a PR for me in the 5K, and one of my splits was approaching my mile PR. Plus, it was great to see some of the other awesome ARE runners, and talk with them after the race. It’s so cool to be in the same race as some of the most elite runners in the city. Ricardo, Josh, Emily, Olivia, Dustin, etc.

I hope to beat this course time next year. I would love to be able to run it at a sub-6 pace. I don’t know how feasible that is, and I worry I’m running out of time, but I won’t know until I try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *