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Monday, March 15, 2010

Race Report: Leprechaun Leap 5k

Another year gone by and another edition of the Lepreachaun Leap. This was my third consecutive year running this course and so I am getting to know it pretty well. I assumed my main competition would be the 14 year old Peter, who most of you readers already know about.

This year I was shooting to go sub-17 on a course that is mostly flat leading to a long climb at the finish. The previous years' results were 17:45 and 17:30ish progressively. I also knew that I did not want to sell myself short, so I was going to run aggressively at the start and see who was there one mile in, to hang around and race the remaining distance.

One... Two...
On the count of "three" we were off heading toward the downhill start. Out of control was the theme here and I seized the lead early. Halfway, through the hill I was passed for a short time but quickly used the control fall to reach the flat of the course at half a mile, in the lead. It was not long until I heard nothing but my own steps and my own breathing.

Slowly the burn was beginning. I ran right on this edge, pushing when I could and relaxing back when the waters seemed to be boiling too soon. Approaching the halfway turnaround I threw in a surge to get as big a gap as possible as I passed the oncoming, pursuing pack. For the first time I could see my lead was about 200m. I was getting tired, but still okay.

The next half mile was more reasonable. Gliding along to the 2 mile mark and having gathered myself for the final push, I knew I was the strongest hill runner on the course I wanted to reach the base of the half mile climb with a big gap and effectively shorten the course. So, I pushed and pushed and now, with the accumulation of effort- the burn began in earnest. Oh yeah- back to the 5k:)

Heaps of Pain
The acute burn begged me to ease off, but I was not going to listen. Recalling the hard hill running and fartlek training of the winter I celebrated the season of cold weather training by breaking out my best assault on this hill. For sure, I was getting heavy legged on the final third of the ascent but I knew it would be over in just a minute or so. I went as deep into the pain as I could go, exploring the acute sear. Relishing in the moment I had earned.

Then... nothing
As quickly as the pain had come, I was across the line and tearing off my tag strip for the volunteers. Breaking the tape in 16:46, a :45 second improvement in my previous time on the course and the win:) 3 years in a row:)

I was left with the idea of running slightly over the edge, and how easy this can seem on the simple combination of base training, fartlek and tempo, over hilly courses. The resulting confidence makes the 5k distance seem like a blink of an eye. Greet your discomfort and realize it for the improvement it signifies.

Have faith in your fitness and use races to see what you can do with that fitness. Don't allow yourself to be complacent and run the same race each time out-

Farewell, Lovely Sirens, You've Served Us Well...


  1. This is awesome. So true that a good race can seemingly end in the blink of an eye. A 45 second improvement is amazing - especially on a 5K. If only you could extrapolate that kind of PR on a marathon or 50K course! Although, I suppose your 50K in the coming weeks will be a good proving ground for that as well.

    Congrats again! Get any cool swag for the win?

  2. Great race recap...It has been fun following your build up to this 5k...I got to tap into some of the "embracing the pain" at my race on Friday, I would push myself to the PT and then back off slightly, only to push back into it...We learn alot about ourselves during these races....

    Farwell my lovely Sirens, I shall count the days until your return...

  3. Rock on Sean! That is awesome! Sub 17 woot woot!

    Now is that just a course PR or a 5k PR? Either way it's speedy as all get out!

  4. Congratulations on a season opening win/ PR/ great, smart race. I really resisted the urge to look up the race results online over the weekend, but I didn't, and I don't regret it. Loved the recap!

    "Greet your discomfort and realize it for the improvement it signifies." Yeah, baby. NICE!

    Word Verification: Agness. Isn't she one of the Sirens..?

  5. You are just ridiculously fast, darn you! Great job.

  6. Wow! Great Race!! Way to take the win. Again.

  7. AWESOME JOB! Sean!!! congratulations on such an AMAZING time!! that is flat out SMOKING!!!!!!! WOOOOOO!!!

  8. Hi Sean,
    Way to go!! Woo hoo!! Someone has a big time PR:) Congrats on an awesome should be so proud!!

  9. WOW! Congratulations! What an exciting read and, obviously, an exciting race! Definitely inspired me for my next 5K, I think ;)

  10. Very nice race report Sean! I enjoyed the journey through the pain and burn. (That is my most favorite part of running to the edge. I thrive in that dark place.)

    Congrats on the PR. I can only imagine what that speed must feel like. You are doing great!

  11. Congrats on the win and the sub-17 5-K. You illustrate well how the mind can overcome physical discomfort. Cheers!

  12. I know I'm late, but congrats on this awesome accomplishment!!!!!!!!!


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