A blog by runners. For runners.

Race recap, Parlor City 5K: a lesson in running by feel (front-of-the-pack runner)

Parlor City 5K in Binghamton, NY

For the last few (several) weeks, running has taken a back seat to one of life’s biggest stresses, moving. And I don’t mean “hire a moving truck and fretfully wait for it to arrive on time” moving. I mean “taking two trips with a 17 foot UHaul truck, paying friends with beer and pizza, waking up in the morning feeling hit by a truck, limping down the stairs to get coffee” moving. Not that I’m complaining.

When I did manage to lace up my shoes and get out the door, it was without my watch and without a cumulative goal. I ran to run. I guess that’s not such a bad thing.

The hard part is over. The dust has settled. And with two weeks away from starting my half marathon training, I decided to run a 5K to measure my current fitness.

I ran the Parlor City 5K, the prideful kickoff to Binghamton New York’s spirited July Fest weekend.

A half hour from the start, I met up with a friend and “out of shape” (his words) elite Kenyon athlete, Peter. As we warmed up, we traded self-deprecating (eye-roll inducing) comments about how cruddy, sluggish, and dull we felt.

Five minutes before the start, I summoned the satellites on my wife’s Garmin 110. It stalled out. Where’s my watch? Buried somewhere in a pile of unmarked boxes in the back of my garage (along with half of my life’s possessions.) Anyway, her watch restarted; went backwards; did everything it shouldn’t. And a minute before the start, I switched to stopwatch mode and ran my first race in five years without the assistance (and moral support) of GPS.

Peter and I bumped elbows through the first mile split, 5:05, my old PR pace. I hung on through the halfway point, and he pulled away as we crossed the two mile marker in 10:20.

A true competitor, Peter urged me to keep pace and gestured for me to follow on his shoulder, but I knew my limits for the day. I was in ‘damage control’ mode.

Normally breaking the tape in sub 14:30, Peter cruised through the finish line in 15:50, my exact PR from December. I crossed in second place,16:24.

In that final mile, as I chased after Peter’s thin frame shrinking in the distance, I was really chasing after a physical representation of my former benchmark.

I now have less than 6 weeks to train for Binghamton’s most competitive 5K, the Chris Thater Memorial 5K, where I hope to run 15:40 or bust. That’s 44 seconds. 15 seconds per mile.

During our cool down, I asked Peter, “what’s the one workout that I can do consistently that can get me closer to my goal?”

He told me. And it’s a secret I’ll keep to myself (for now).

Written by Stephen Marcin / Photo from Parlor City 5k Facebook

MORE FROM THE FRONT-OF-THE-PACK