News at

Havana 5K, Havana, FL, April 7th, 2001.

Havana is a little town 5 miles north from where I live in Tallahassee. As I drove past lake Jackson through the fog I checked the temperature. 70 deg. F. This was warmer than I would have liked at 7:30 am. But that was OK. My intention was not to do a personal best but to take a measurement of my fitness level at the beginning of the season. I would be happy with a time just under 21 minutes.

After I registered I took my mountain bike and rode the course. I wanted to know where the tricky areas were so that I could put together a strategy. The first mile and a half were the most difficult. There were 3 little hills, the 3rd one at mile 1 1/4 being the steepest one. So I decided not to go too hard on the 1st mile, pickup during the second mile and survive during the 3rd.

I felt pretty weak and slow during the 1st mile. That was probably because I had done my long run (90 minutes) just 48 hours ago, intervals 2 days before that and a 10K race 3 days before that. But again, no big deal. I only intended today to be a hard speedwork training run. When I passed mile 1 I clocked 6:53. Slow for a 5K. When I'm in shape I can do 6:30.
Mile 1
Mile 2
Mile 3
Mile 3.1

After the 1 mile marker we dropped down a steep 200 yard decline followed by 200 yards of flat road. The steep incline was hiding just around the next turn. I was ready for it and passed 2 runners as I was going up. I started feeling a bit better so I pressed on to make sure that I would never see again the runners that I passed until after the finish line. I passed mile two 13 minutes and 30 seconds into the race. Good enough I thought, knowing that I needed to break 13 minutes to set a personal record.

I knew that there was another short hill 300 yards later. This one got me tired. I started looking behind my shoulder, one thing that I never do. I was tired. I was in survival mode. After the hill there was no more shade but it was all flat so I focused on my form and my breathing as I could feel the lactic acid rising in my ribs. I had been breathing 1:1 since mile 1.5.

Maybe 1/3 mile before the end a tall runner passed me. He was hardly breathing and I sounded like a horse.  I knew that I could not keep up with this guys who did not even seem to be racing. He finished only 15 yards ahead of me though. Not too bad as the British would say...

My official result is:
6th/53      Herve   Deschamps     31(age)      20:57(time)

OK, now I won't do any more racing for the next 3 weeks. There is a 10K race in Gainesville during the Tri-Distance event. That was my first race, 2 years ago in 1999. I did 24 minutes on a 5K... It feels so far away. So until then I will work on strengthening my legs with more mileage, some speedwork on the track and some hill workouts.


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