On Saturday I headed to Lake Merritt for my short easy run. Some of the LMJS members were entering a 5K/10K organized by the East Bay Front Runners, and it would be nice to shmooze for a bit before going for a run around the neighborhood. There are some nice hills there that are worthy of inspection. But I wasn’t going to race, oh no. This was an easy day, in between intervals on Friday and a 22-miler on Sunday.
Loraine’s suggestion that I pace her in her 5K was hard to resist, though. “What pace do you want to go? 7:45? OK” Oh well, it’s only 5K. That wont do much harm.
I didn’t join the crush at the start, but waited down the road a little way, running up and down to warm up. Loraine came by and I joined her. We ran around the end of the lake and started along the straight section of Lakeshore. Were we going a little fast? This felt like 7:30. I turned my attention to the Garmin. As I’ve mentioned before, Garmins don’t work reliably at Lake Merritt, and mine had been showing some weird paces. It had a period of lucidity and confirmed 7:30 or close to it. Hmm. Her breathing seems OK. There was another woman in front of us with a pacer of her own, so we tucked in behind them and picked off some runners who had gone out too fast. At mile 2, Loraine looked at her watch and said “I can’t think. What twice 7:45?” “15” I lied. Jeepers, she doesn’t know how fast we’re going. This had better work. I think it will. It’s a good sign that she can still talk. Just then the pair in front faltered and we passed them.
“OK, we’re into the final third. You’re doing good!” Loraine’s repartee was down to an occasional monosyllable, but she gave me to understand that this was not fun. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the third mile of a 5K race is not fun. She held pace, though. I slowed just a little for the uphill along Grand Avenue, and was gratified when she started to accelerate again when it flattened out. I waited until we were 100 yards from the finish and instructed “If you have anything left in the tank, start burning it now!”, but there wasn’t much left for a kick. I think the time was 23:33. Second woman and a PR. Plus I learned a few things about pacing. Things not to say include “This is about my marathon pace”. She later remarked “I thought about 26 miles and felt a wave of nausea”. Also not well received: “My Garmin says we just ran a 13-minute mile!”. I think she’s forgiven me though.
I had promised myself six miles so set off around the lake again, more slowly this time. I caught up with Jack C, my teammate at the Tahoe Relay. He had got injured at that event (achilles and calf), but six weeks of physio and cycling had put him to rights, and now here he was on his last long run before the NYC Marathon. He was on his seventh and final circuit of the lake, and was glad to have someone to run with to keep his pace up. Good luck on November 1st, Jack.