News at

Bon Air 5K, Arlington, VA, July 27, 2000

First race in Washington area. It was a relatively cool day compared to Florida: about 75 deg. F I think. The course had a few small hills in Bon Air Park and a long route 66.

One of my training objectives that you can see at the top of my Marathon training plan was to do a 5K in 20 minutes or less by the end of August 2000. Today was a little test: I finished in 20 minutes and 10 seconds. I passed the 3 mile marker in 19 minutes and 30 seconds, 33 seconds faster tan my last race: an average of 6:30 minute mile.

2 days before this race I did a 22 mile run so my legs were still a bit tired and I was concerned about the risk of getting injured. So  I warmed up for 45 minutes: 15 minutes of walking, 2 minutes of stretching, 13 minutes of jogging, 10 minutes of pickups, 5 minutes walking around the start line.  My legs felt heavy during most of the warmup and during the second half of the race. So I guess that if I want to break 20 minutes I will have to choose a week when I don't have a very long run on my marathon training schedule.

I was very surprised to meet 5 other French racers in the crowd (about 50 runners). They were all from the French Embassy in Washington DC. The 3 guys run at very similar pace to mine: one finished 30 seconds ahead of me, the other 20 seconds ahead and the 3rd was just behind me.

My first mile was fast: 6:23. If I could keep this up I would break 20 minutes. I wanted to try starting a bit too fast today and then survive: I really push my limits. The second mile was harder with 2 little steep hills and no shade. It took me 6:39. I was sucking all the air that my lungs could take and trying to relax as much as possible. At the end of mile 2 I had the feeling that I was getting used to the pain and that I could keep this up for a while. That feeling did not last very long as I picked up the pace for mile 3: 6:29. I was dying by then, wondering if I would manage to finish before getting a heart attack.

I finished in 20:10. Only 10 seconds slower than my objective this season; despite my long run that week. That was a lot better than I expected. I think that I could get faster if I relaxed and lengthen my stride and if I breathed faster than 2:1.

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