Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crossroads 5K (and Half Marathon) Report & Review

Preface
The 9th Annual Crossroads 5K, the stepchild of the Crossroads Half Marathon, formerly known as the Easy Street Half Marathon, was held on September 19, 2010 to benefit the Crossroads Safehouse, a battered women's shelter in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Runner Disposition
I had been rehabilitating from an injury incurred during the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half Marathon a month earlier.  As such, I had taken a week off after that race, and then gradually got back to training with a hope that I would be ready for the Crossroads Half Marathon, but ultimately felt I was only ready for the 5K due to relatively low mileage run between the two races. I had focused on higher intensity threshold training knowing that if I was stuck running the Crossroads 5K, I at least wanted to make a good show of it.  So, I entered the race feeling pretty good about my chances for running something around 21 minutes or better.

Course
The Crossroads courses, both the 5K and Half Marathon, are pretty flat, overall, but this is particularly true of the 5K course, which does a loop around some of the roads in North Fort Collins, in the areas North of what is rapidly becoming a sort of district for microbreweries, which Fort Collins fortunately has it's fair share of.

Conditions
The 5K had a start time of 8:15 AM, fifteen minutes after the Half Marathon start. The morning was cool and foggy, but the fog was beginning to lift to reveal the sunny character of the rest of the morning as the Half Marathon finishers began to arrive at the finish. Overall, conditions were cool and nearly ideal for excellent race.

The Race
The start: Nearly 200 people lined up at the start of the 5K race, after some 500 runners had already embarked from the Half Marathon start. I took the time between the two starts to warm up, then made it to the start area just in time for the start, lining up at the front of the pack, near a group of runners that were clearly poised to kick some butt. 

First mile: I completed the first mile in 6:33, despite trying to hold back a bit because I realized I had gone out faster than I wanted. I am always amazed at how easy it feels to run the first split of a 5K at this pace, and then how much I pay for the fast start in the second mile.

At the finish line
Second mile: I settled into a nice steady 7 flat pace in the second mile that I would maintain through the third mile as well. I also caught a younger runner who had gone out fairly fast about halfway through the second mile and hoped I would be able to pass and shake him. After some back and forth, he ultimately pulled away from me after getting the inside on a turn about 1.75 miles into the race. I didn't let that bother me. I sense I wouldn't catch up with him, so I just held onto my 7 flat pace.

Third mile: I was feeling the usual fatigue in the third mile, and began tapping my strength during the second half of this leg, as I passed one of the members of my running club who was participating in the Half Marathon and wishing him well. I pushed to maintain my pace and began to pass some of the other runners who had lost some steam.

The finish: When I reached the 3 mile marker, I could see the finish area and I tried to dig a little deeper, passing a runner who had been ahead of me for the previous quarter mile before I turned the final corner for and pushed hard for the finish, and a new personal record (21:11).

Summary
Silver Age Group Medal
This race went off pretty well. The ranks were swollen a little because the Boulder Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K had been postponed in the aftermath of a recent wildfire there. I didn't must quite as strong a race as I had hoped for, but I was very happy with my performance which was good enough to win a second place age group award. I was impressed with the quality of the medals awarded to the top three in each group.

The races came out without a hitch from what I could tell, and seemed well organized. Overall, it was an enjoyable event, and being locally popular, I ran into quite a few local runners in my running club and several other local clubs, as well as one friend from the dailymile website.

This is another race that benefits a good cause, and the flat courses make the Crossroads Half Marathon and 5K excellent options for someone seeking to gage their condition and performance and shoot for a PR. The top female finisher in 2010 was Colleen Reuck, a four time Olympian that really made it look easy. The start finish area was at Buckingham Park, where there was a play area for children, an secure area to store your extra gear, and quite a spread of postrace snacks that included free GU packets, and complimentary massages sponsored by two local massage therapy clinics.

I will most likely run this even next year, but assuming I am healthy, I will opt for the half marathon, I think!


2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your PR.
    The only bad thing for me during the half marathon was the miles of concrete. It was very tough on my feet and legs.

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  2. Thanks. I heard this from a friend of mine from the running club. It seems to bother people who run with a consistent forefoot/midfoot strike a bit less, but over the miles, I know people really begin to feel that concrete. That is one criticism of a couple of the longer races in Fort Collins that include portions of the city multi-use trails in their courses.

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