A couple Wednesdays ago I ran my first 5K of the season on May 14.  So right after I did the Coffman YMCA sprint tri, I transitioned right into the 5K.  After the triathlon I was looking forward to seeing what I could do in a straight 5K.  I’m a member of the ORRRC, so the 5K was free.  What better race to sign up for to test the waters and set a benchmark?


When I rolled in to the race it was raining and overcast. People inside the YMCA were asking to see if there was any danger of tornadoes.  It turns out that a tornado did hit somewhere to the northeast of where we were, but it didn’t affect us.  Interestingly, One did not need to wear a race number if you had a road ID. The bib number was only used for emergency contact information. Ever have premonitions that you ignored, and regretted later? That morning I had looked at my Road ID, had a feeling that I should take it, and talked myself out of it. It would have come in handy. I did have my race belt, but it would have been better not to use it. Such is life.

It was interesting to look around and see all the different running groups that were out. Apparently running groups are a thing, and I was ignorant of them before. It’s definitely more fun to go to a race with people you know than do it solo.

The Run

I looked around, but couldn’t find a map of the course.  It ended up being a lollipop route, with the outgoing and incoming final sections creating a figure eight.

Vandalia 5K Course

The run started out on a jogging path through a park, so I positioned myself near the front of the field so it would be less congested. I got out to a quick start, and when I looked at my watch, I was enlightened that my 6:00 pace that felt so easy would need to be toned down. I settled down into a 7:00-ish pace, and let the field sort out around me.

The purpose of this race was to assess my fitness due to lack of training. So I settled in to a 7:10-ish pace, was going to check and see how I felt after two miles, and then push it for the last mile if I could. My HR stabilized somewhere around 160 for most of the race (the Mio Link worked great).

Vandalia 5K HR ChartThe race went pretty smooth, but I don’t think I could have pushed it much harder than I did without blowing up. The cardiovascular system was the big limiter, rather than pushing my muscles too hard. At about 2 mi a guy came alongside and said I looked like I was running real smooth and that this must be a training run for me. I said it was in a sense, but still a race.

Vandalia 5K Splits

I tried to stay close to him for the last mile, but my HR was edging up toward 170, and I couldn’t push myself much harder. As we closed in on the finish, I could tell I wasn’t going to catch the guy ahead of me, and the people behind me weren’t going to catch up, so no need for a sprint finish this time.


My official finish time was 22:12.  Not bad for not doing much running due to injury and recovery, and this being the first race of the season.  I know I definitely have room to improve.  Barring injury I expect to set at least one 5K PR this year.  We’ll see what the year brings!