Thursday, May 17, 2012

5000 Meters

5000 Meters can be one of the most painful events for such a short period of time.  Your blood lactate levels become distressingly high during the race, and if you race it right they will become the highest towards the end.  This type of racing on the track can also differ a lot from road racing, as it is more aggressive as people fight for positioning.

5000 meters or less is not my prime event.  But who says that I cannot get good at it?  It may not be my best event, as longer distance running is where my strength is, but it still is a vital component of my overall progression and training.  Thus, I explain below, why I am also running shorter races, not just half marathons, throughout the year:

5000 meters uses the largest portion of VO2 Max.  With that, your VO2 Max can improve significantly through 5K training.  A high lactate threshold(which is very important in half marathon and marathon racing) means that lactate doesn't start to accumulate in your muscles and blood until you reach a high percentage of your VO2 Max.  With a higher VO2 Max, there is room for a higher lactate threshold to improve.  Everything actually relates to one another, even though it is unfair to compare an equivalent 5000 meter time to an equivalent marathon time.


May 14, 2012.  10:20 PM: Swarthmore College, PA

I lined up in 4th position out of 25 or so runners in the 2nd (of 3 heats total) of the mens 5000m.  Puddles covered the track from the on and off rain during the evening.  It was late.  This was the last event of the evening.  We got into position and waited for the sound of the gun...
We took off and I surged immediately with the front pack, making sure to get a good position early.  College track meets are so aggressive.  I was not used to it from racing on the roads, a totally different style.  People jostled and pushed and elbowed, I felt like I was in a boxing match.  Luckily, I'm tough as hell, and I don't put up with "pushing around" despite me being one of the smaller guys in the race.  Coaches screamed as we hit the first lap of the race...70!!!!

In order to break 15 minutes, I needed to run under 72 seconds each lap.  We went through 800 meters in 2:22(a 72), and 1200 meters was 3:33(71).  I remained locked in a tight pack of about 10 people.  Despite the steady pace, I continued to get jostled around as if people wanted me out of their way.  A push from behind, an elbow here, an elbow there.  It was like a fist fight-throwing punches.  I began to get agitated and decided I had enough.  
You want me out of your way? Ok, I'll get out of your way. On the fourth lap, I made a move to the outside and surged to the front.  Mile 1: 4:43.  Another 70.  I began leading the race but knew I had to be careful not to go out and die.  I still had 2 miles to go.  5th lap: 5:55, a 72.  A few guys then went around me.  6th lap: 7:06, another 71.  I was now halfway through the race and the pain was starting to set in.  A few more guys past me, but I stayed in contact and hit 3000 meters in 8:52 and 2 miles in 9:28(a 4:45 2nd mile).  By now, we had a pack of over half a dozen guys or so.  I was barely hanging on and they began to surge...and I began to fall off the pace.  Dammit, Chris stay awake!  I knew I was running sub 14:50 pace let alone 15:00 so I did have a nice "cushion" to break 15.  But now I wanted to break 14:50 since I was running that pace.  I tried to concentrate on the pack, and I fell off the pace slightly each lap.  The clock ate hungrily away at my sub 14:50 pretty quick, and I was paying for my hard effort earlier.  Each lap I tried to run harder, and all I was hitting was wouldn't budge.  Shit.  Get tough, Chris.  With 2 laps to go, I worked it through.  I didn't have much left, but I began surging harder again.  Some of the GRC guys cheered for me, particularly Karl, who helped me a lot through the mental battle I was having that last mile, I thank him for that.  One lap to go.  Just one lap-but one hell of an INTENSE one.  I looked at my watch and knew I needed to go.  NOW.  I told myself to run as hard as I could for one more lap.  I began to kick it in and saw a guy with 200 to go.  Run him down.  I surged and blew by him with 150 to go.  He had no response.  I made the final turn and saw the finish straight ahead.  The last 100 meters I felt like I was underwater holding my breathe, and I was swimming up, up, up to the surface but I couldn't get any oxygen.  Was I going to make it?  It seemed so far away...

I bent down on the track, huffing and puffing, until I could regain my breathe.  Karl came to help me up and congratulate me as I knew I had broken 15:00.  I saw my watch read 14:57 as I crossed the line, and later on in the results I would find the official time to be 14:58, I placed 7th in my heat, and 24th overall out of 71 athletes.  4:48 pace average.  I took off my track spikes and cooled down barefoot on the inside turf and felt really good about the effort I gave.  Who says the longer the distance, the harder? I respect those who concentrate on 5000m as their prime event.  The 5k is one hard fucking race.



Men 5000 Meter Run
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
  1 Hallinan, Steve              PACERS TC             14:04.06 
  2 Luff, Sam                    GEORGETOWN RUNNI      14:18.32 
  3 Brannigan, Jeff              PACERS TC             14:24.16 
  4 Gilmore, Peter               BOSTON U.             14:27.42 
  5 Kissin, Peter                HAVERFORD             14:29.66 
  6 Sohail, Faraz                HAVERFORD             14:30.97 
  7 Parker, Ceth                 JUNIATA               14:31.08 
  8 Mynatt, Henry                DICKINSON             14:35.45 
  9 DuBois, Eric                 ROWAN                 14:36.49 
10 Hartung, Tim                 YORK (PA.)            14:39.84 
11 Farrell, Dillon              MORAVIAN              14:40.52 
12 Stadler, Chris               HAVERFORD             14:43.86 
13 Ryan, Scott                  WASHINGTON A          14:44.45 
14 Lutcza, Matt                 MORAVIAN              14:47.11 
15 Sadlock, Josh                UNATTACHED            14:47.36 
16 Fitzgerald, John             SALISBURY             14:48.49 
17 Rankin, Mike                 ST. JOSEPH'S          14:50.33 
18 Lilley, Michael              UNATTACHED            14:51.05 
19 Megee, Bryan                 DESALES               14:51.67 
20 Speray, Ryan                 BRIDGEWATER           14:52.64 
21 Leinenger, Mark              AMERICAN              14:52.88 
22 Zitek, Andrew                NYU                   14:54.57 
23 Sturner, Andrew              HAVERFORD             14:56.62 
24 Sloane, Chris                UNATTACHED            14:58.39 
25 Quinlan, Ian                 SUSQUEHANNA           14:59.36 
26 Hicks, Steve                 UNATTACHED            15:02.48 
27 DeArmitt, Evan               ELIZABETHTOW          15:04.80 
28 Krause, Zachary              UNATTACHED            15:05.19 
29 Sohl, Luke                   BRIDGEWATER           15:11.76 
30 Sidebottom, Mark             TCNJ                  15:12.77 
31 Haneman, Pat                 HAVERFORD             15:13.54 
32 Watts, John                  UNATTACHED            15:15.51 
33 Knowles, Dave                NYU                   15:16.02 
34 Richards, David              HOUGHTON              15:17.55 
35 Galasso, Aidan               DELAWARE TC           15:18.93 
36 Hutcheson, Craig             MESSIAH               15:19.68 
37 Connelly, Alec               RUTGERS-CAMD          15:20.03 
38 Driscoll, Darren             VIRGINIA WES          15:20.20 
39 Warren, Chris                DELAWARE TC           15:21.77 
40 Boimov, Sam                  GEORGETOWN RUNNI      15:23.35 
41 Norton, Joe                  UNATTACHED            15:23.76 
42 Vernorn, George              UNATTACHED            15:24.04 
43 Toller, David                SALISBURY             15:24.57 
44 Harrison, Stephen            MARY WASHING          15:27.96 
45 Cutilli, Ben                 HAVERFORD             15:29.90 
46 Hayburn, Pat                 BRYNMAWR RC           15:31.36 
47 Healy, Sean                  MARY WASHING          15:34.00 
48 Brightbill, Kyle             BRYNMAWR RC           15:34.64 
49 Gallagher, Ryan              WIDENER               15:35.43 
50 Holowka, Tom                 UNATTACHED            15:38.38 
51 Myers, Jason                 GEORGETOWN RUNNI      15:39.07 
52 Hoagland, Zach               MESSIAH               15:40.18 
53 Dolan, Mike                  UNATTACHED            15:40.73 
54 Larsen, Charlie              ELIZABETHTOW          15:40.74 
55 Herring, Matthew             MESSIAH               15:47.35 
56 Margiotta, Max               ST. JOSEPH'S          15:49.65 
57 Bowman, Kevin                UNAT-MCDANIE          15:50.28 
58 Gresh, Dan                   ELIZABETHTOW          15:52.14 
59 LoBianco, Stephen            UNATTACHED            15:53.67 
60 Hopkins, Sean                UNATTACHED            15:53.71 
61 Childres, Steve              YORK (PA.)            15:54.94 
62 Rooke, Tyler                 GWYNEDD-MERC          15:57.27 
63 Herring, Daniel              MESSIAH               16:03.35 
64 Cotter, Brian                DELAWARE TC           16:04.91 
65 Blood, Henry                 UNATTACHED            16:06.70 
66 Kelly, Chris                 RUTGERS-CAMD          16:08.40 
67 Clemson, Alex                DESALES               16:11.82 
68 Merkel, Peter                MCDANIEL              16:44.28 
-- Allen, Mark                  AMERICAN                   DNF 
-- Parmenter, Nathan            UNATTACHED                 DNF 
-- Mackenzie, Samuel            UNATTACHED                 DNF


  1. "Who says the longer the distance, the harder?"

    Nobody. Nobody says that.

  2. You want me out of your way? Ok, I'll get out of your way.