A Great Run but a Cruel Race


July 6, 2013 by IowaTriBob

Like so many others this past week, I signed up for a 4th of July run. My event was a 5k that was part of the CVRA 5th Seasons Races, a Cedar Rapids tradition since 1986. The CVRA 5th Seasons Races is composed of a competitive 8k race and a 5k run/walk event.

The 8k is the longest running 8k race in the USA and has awarded more prize money than any other 8k race in the country. Its been run by collegiate All Americans, NCAA Champions, Olympians and the winner of a past Boston Marathon. Needless to say this draws some top notch talent and this year was no exception. Jut to give you an ideal of the caliber of 8k racers, the top times in the overall standings this year were 23:59, 24:02, 24:03, and 24:05. These time represent 4:49-4:50 minute/mile pace – WOW!

Of course the 8k is the highlight of the day but the 5k is very well attended by athletes of all levels and is still considered a key part of the event – or at least that is what I thought going into the race.

The morning of the 4th in Cedar Rapids was just picture perfect for a run.  The 8k got kicked off at 8:00am sharp with the 5k race to follow at 8:10am.  The weather was mid 60’s with very little breeze and the event was moved back to downtown Cedar Rapids which is a very flat course.

CVRA 5th Seasons 5k Elevations

All had the makings of some great times and I’m sure a lot of personal bests in mind, myself included.

Just prior to the race starting I set my Garmin 310XT in workout mode to measure my pace for mile 1, mile 2, and then splits for mile 2.0-2.6 and 2.6-3.1.  My goal was to maintain a 7:45 minute / mile pace along these critical distances and to see what level of last 1/2 mile kick I was able to put in.  Once I had everything set, I put the screen on Time of Day to not distract me and off I went.

The run was by far the best of the year for me.

CVRA 5th Seasons 5k Splits

My previous best 5K, measured by my Garmin 310XT, was the Iowa City River Run at the end of August with a time of 24:36.  A 36 second improvement!

In fact, this run was 0.5 seconds off acheiving one of my 2013 overall stretch goals of breaking 24 minutes in a 5k, something I really wasn’t sure was going to be possible…

So here’s the cruel part of the day.  The actual 5k race distance was off by at least a 1/4 to 1/3 mile long.  So even though my watch had recorded a full 5k and had gone off finishing the workout, I hadn’t even started my kick because we were still 5 city blocks away from the finish line.  With 4 blocks to go I really pushed hard and was able to even pass a few runners that I had been following along the course.  Given past performances I can almost guarantee that I was pushing the 6:00 min/mile mark the last 400 meters of the race for an all out effort.  Unfortunately this wasn’t even recorded by my Garmin or reflected in my best yet 5k effort.

So the end race results as recorded by the CVRA 5th Seasons race:

Gun Time: 25:15

Chip Time: 25:11

Pace mpm: 8:07

Good for 2nd in my age group (2 out of 22) and (84 out of 749 overall)

What a cruel trick to play on us 5k runners!  Even though I understand the 8k is the premier event, you would have thought that at least someone would have walked, ran, or rode the 5k route with a GPS device to see that the setup was 1/4 to 1/3 mile longer than it should have been!

Oh well, it was still by far my best 5k workout…

Overall it was a beautiful day to be outside doing what you love and I had a great run, great pace, and great workout time measured by my Garmin regardless.  More importantly, I know for sure that my 2013 goal is within reach and I’m excited for the next couple of 5k events to see if I can mark my #1 year’s run goal off the list!  Lets just hope they can get the race distance right so I can make it official…

15 thoughts on “A Great Run but a Cruel Race

  1. vardotrichic says:

    I’ve run races that were both short and long of the advertised distance…I’m not sure which is worse. Congrats on an awesome finish time!!

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thank you very much! I completely agree and I’ve been in several this year that were also just a little short or a little long. In fact, I would never expect a race to be 100% accurate as I’m not sure my Garmin would ever be able to match, but I’m always hopeful that things will measure up within 20-30 meters give or take. I thought a 1/4-1/3 mile long were just a little bit much for a race with over 700 participants.

  2. Yea I think diatances are sometimes only there for display purposes only. Good effort tho!

  3. kruzmeister says:

    Congrats on a great race Bob, makes it hard when they screw with the distances though.

  4. Congratulations on a fast race and great placement!
    It’s a total bummer when they are off, but I’d rather have it run a bit longer than short!
    That’s amazing how fast the winners run- wow!

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thank you and the 8K guys and gals are SO fast. I did some 800 speed intervals today and couldn’t even match their 8K pace – absolutely amazing…

  5. Carrie says:

    Holy cow, a 36-second improvement is awesome! Nice work! That’s tough to hear about the distance discrepancy. A few weeks ago, my coach said we train on a track that’s slightly longer than 400m–it’s closer to 425-450m. Maybe that’s good for training purposes, but it would definitely annoy me during a race. ;)

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thanks and I definitely can’t be too disappointed in that effort. It’s no easy 7:30’s like you’re running these days but I’ll take it anytime :-). Couldn’t agree more on having the workouts a little longer and not knowing about it though…

  6. Chatter says:

    Congrats on the time. It seems all races are usually longer or shorter distance wise! All the more fun.

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thanks and it was a solid improvement and I’m already looking forward to the next couple of tempo races to come. I guess you take the short and long and hope every know and then one is pretty close to the right distance.

  7. Great job! I think one reason I like racing in pools is because I know what to expect. I’m with you, it does seem longer than I would have liked it to be. Can’t believe how fast those 8k’ers are!

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thank you and I couldn’t agree more. The one thing that threw me off a little this summer is switching from a 25 yard pool to a 50 meter pool and expecting my 100’s to be the same. I guess I never realized how big of a different a yard vs. meter makes but its definitely nice to know that that all 25 yard pools are 25 yards and all 50 meter pools are 50 meters…

      • Within a few inches at least – I’ve seen pools get measured before and it surprised me the first time I saw it in a pool without a bulkhead. It’s gonna be about a :06 per 100 difference from yards to meters (a little more long course) when you do freestyle. It translates to back okay but don’t use it for breast or fly.

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