I was fairly reluctant to write a report for this race for three reasons. First, I'm a trail/distance snob. I admit it. Second, it's a 5k. It's so short, what could possibly happen? And, third, my participation was very much an afterthought, and I was only viewing it as a workout. I haven't done any training at all...in years...that would lend itself to being ready for a 5k. So, with all that in mind, what the heck was I doing running a road 5k in the first place?
My goal for running race was to attempt to find/manufacture a little speed for the MDI Marathon. As I mentioned, I'm only good at running slow right now. My hope was to get into a race situation and get dragged along to a fast (for me) time. I actually spotted this race almost two weeks ago, and I figured if I felt good enough after the Pisgah Mountain 50k and a subsequent big week, I'd go for it. Well, I felt good enough, and D was up for watching the kiddo (THANKS, Lady!), so I went for it.
After the usual scramble to get all of us out of the house in the morning, we arrived at the Eastern Prom with plenty of time for me to register and do a warmup on the course. One, I wanted to see exactly what the course was, and, two, I needed all the warmup I could get, since it usually takes me a few miles to feel human. Immediately, the unseasonably high humidity was noticeable, but I figured if I couldn't handle 5k of humidity, I should retire now. That being said, warming up for the race reminded me that I hate races that I need to warm up for. Does anyone ever feel good on a warm up? I felt slow and creaky, but I went to the line drenched in sweat and did a few strides, which felt totally foreign. I saw a few people I knew—Stephen, Kelly, Brian—and they each asked me the same thing, "What are you doing here?" I was very much out of my element.
As I said, I didn't really know anything about the race, which was a benefit for cystic fibrosis. Listening to the race director give her pre-race announcements, story of the race and dedication to a man who lost his life to the disease last month, I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. Pretty moving, and I felt a little guilty for wishing they wold get things going so my calves wouldn't tighten up.
Onto the actual race...
The horn sounded, and within a few strides, I settled into third place. First place, was long gone, and second steadily pulled away from me in the first mile. The footsteps behind me also eventually went quiet. I never really looked at my Garmin during the race because I was basically all out the entire time. It wasn't like I could pick it. I was shocked to see a 5:48 first mile split when I eventually downloaded the data.
My only complaint with the race happened just as I turned from the Eastern Prom Trail onto India St. The volunteer at this corner was sure if he was supposed to stop traffic or wave them through. Hence, I needed to weave around/run into an SUV, but it only cost me a few seconds. Traffic volunteers need to be aggressive. He wasn't. I'm sure his job was easier when the masses rolled through.
Mile 2 was mostly uphill on India and Washington back to the Eastern Prom. I was in no man's land, but managed a 6:15 while climbing. The final mile rolled a bit, until a nasty hairpin turn (read: come to a dead stop practically) just before mile 3, which led to the finish. I crossed the line in 3rd place, 1st in my age group with a time of 18:53, 6:05 avg. It was great to get cheers from Jeff in the final mile, and Sam was kind enough to take a break from the playground to wave as I went by.
I didn't get the race situation I'd hoped for, but I'm pleased with the time. My best case scenario was to go sub-19, so no complaints. Jeff gave me a tour of the trails in the area for a 2.5-mile cooldown, I grabbed my age group award, and we headed off for breakfast with the family. Road 5k's are still not my thing, but it was fun to get into a race...well, because I love racing.