Race #16 on the Grand Prix schedule was on the schedule as Braden and I ran the Paint Downtown Pink 5K in Fort Smith on September 30. We had a very early start to the morning for the tiresome two-hour drive to Fort Smith, but the nice thing was that the temperatures and race conditions were great.
Because of the cooler conditions and a decent course, I was expecting us to have some better times than our previous races, but in the same respect, the hotter temperatures during the latter weeks of September kept us from really training at an acceptable level. From Braden’s past history, he runs strong in the spring, where he coincidentally gets most of his PRs, then he spends the fall trying to get back to the quick times he had lost over the summer. His PR for the 5K was set in March with a time of 21:59 and all his recent runs have been in the high 23 to high 24 minute range. This also affects his age-graded percentages where his 70%+ norms drop into the mid to high 60% range during the summer.
At the beginning of the race, Braden took off and started to open up a big gap between the both of us, while also keeping ahead of some kids that were older. I took this as a good sign that the weather was definitely in his favor to perform well. At the end of the first mile, his time as 7:07, which was on pace to break his PR. That’s when it fell apart.
He was going pretty strong through mile two, but then I started to notice him getting passed by the kids he had been leading and I also saw (from a distance) him clutching his side. I started to actually draw closer to him as well, which is definitely a sure sign of trouble and his second mile average pace of 8:10 was reflective of the issues he was having.
Braden’s third mile was not much better than the second as he continued to have a tough time. With about a half-mile to go, he started to pick up the pace again and sprinted towards the finish. His third mile average pace was 7:51 and the last tenth at a 6:14 pace.
When it was all said and done, Braden came in with a time of 23:55 (a 7:42 minute per mile pace) and an age-graded percentage of 68.01%. I wasn’t any better, lagging with a time of 24:38. Knowing our training hasn’t been up to snuff, it is still perplexing that a few weeks earlier he ran a better time at the Minuteman Cross Country race on the grass. After the race, we talked about ramping up our training so we could get back to where we need to be, while also knowing the break in temperatures will assist as well.
Overall, Braden came first in his age group along with his papa Bernie. This was a non-championship Grand Prix race and since both of them have already maxed out their point totals at 250 and won their respective age groups, they are running out the string for the rest of the schedule. I came in sixth in my age group and was able to pick up 12 points and move into 10th place in my age group in my shortened Grand Prix season.
|Arkansas Grand Prix Standings after the Paint Downtown Pink 5K|
Our next race will be the Race 13.1 Little Rock half marathon on October 8, which will also be Braden's second half marathon. It wasn’t originally on our schedule, but it turns out this will help in accomplishing some achievements we weren't planning on!