Sunday, January 9, 2011

Freeze Your Thorns Off 5k race report

My buddy Adam, from The Boring Runner, put together this little shindig for some local bloggers, the real life version of his virtual 5k race. I got to meet a bunch of people I hadn't met before, and see again some I hadn't seen in a long time. It was a really cool experience.
I was really hoping to PR today, and I thought I had a really good chance since I just ran the course (or a slightly altered version of it) last week. I wasn't able to get my usual warm up in because I was too busy chatting with all the new faces. I figured I'd be alright.
I took off at a quick pace, hoping to run a similar pace to last week. I wasn't feeling as good as last week, but I was doing ok. When I got to the turn around, the mark was quite a bit short of what I was expecting. Having done this course several times before, I knew where the turn around should be, so I kept going those few extra paces. That extra bit dropped me from 1st place to 3rd. I tried to make up that ground, but just couldn't pick up the pace as much as I would have liked.
I finished with about an 18:45. Not a PR, but that's still a decent time, and I had a real nice time getting to know all the runners (at least the ones I was able to talk to). One of the highlights was the finisher's medal that Rio handed out. Very awesome. In fact, a lot nicer than some medals I've received from real races.

The awesome finisher's medal
The top 4 finishers
Thanks to Adam, Lauren, and everyone else who made this an awesome race!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year's Day 5k race report

I had been telling myself the whole week before this race that I was going to PR. It's been 5 and half years since my last 5k PR, and I want a new one! And this would be a good race to do it with it's flat course that I have done the previous 2 years. It was going to happen.

My brother-in-law, who has run this race with me the previous 2 years, and I left early enough to get good warm-up in, but when we arrived, there was seriously one car in the parking lot, and the organizers were still getting everything set up. It was cold (36 degrees), but I wouldn't have expected the temperature to scare off this many runners. After the warm-up, we came to find out that we were an hour early. Oh well. We got in some extra miles since we needed to warm up again.

At the real race time, there were about 300 runners on the line. We made our way to the front and waited for the start. Historically, the start and finish were the same, but this year, the start was moved up a ways, and the finished was moved back. Not sure why.

The course runs out of the park, and then along a canal to the turn-around and then back again. I got off to a good start and settled in about 10 place by the time I got to the canal. I was feeling really good, but I didn't want to go out too fast and run out of gas at the end. When I reached the turn-around, I discovered that they had moved it about 50 feet further down the path. When I turned around, I was at 9:50. I was hoping to be around 9:15. I thought, "No wonder I'm feeling good!" I was going much slower than planned, so I started picking up the pace. I had moved up to 8th place, and started picking the runners off. I managed to get one right after the turn, another about half way back, and one more in the final quarter mile.

When I finished, I knew the course was long because of the change of the finish line and the turn-around. I finished with a time of 19:02, good for 5th place overall, and 1st in my age group. My brother-in-law finished about 15 seconds in front of me for 4th overall and 1st in his age group.

After taking a look at his Garmin, the course measured 3.19. I know they're not 100% accurate, but I know I ran faster than a 19 minute 5k. Assuming the course actually was 3.19, I ran a 5:57 pace, which would equal an 18:29 5k. That's five seconds faster than my PR. Too bad it's not official.

Luckily, I have another chance this Saturday at Adam's virtual/actual 5k race on the same course. Hopefully he's using more accurate measurements!