I can hardly believe it's July 4th already. I always race on the 4th. Last year was in Rhode Island under very different circumstances. Today it was in the Watermelon 5K with 1,200 of my sweatiest friends and neighbors. The start was at 7:30 but it should have been at 5:30 for as hot and humid as it was. 79F and 95% humidity is not PR conditions.
I had a nice oatmeal breakfast before heading out. Parking is always a bear at the botanical gardens where they start so I used my local knowledge and parked in a very nice neighborhood that has a back entrance into the gardens. I was one of three people with that strategy. We smiled at each other as we prepped for the race.
The path from my car led right up to the packet pick up area. I saw a few neighbors and other runners then went off for a warm up mile.
As the national anthem played I felt sweat dripping down my back. It was incredibly humid and everybody was moaning. I saw my fasty neighbor Kelly jump in at the front just before the horn. I figured she would place high.
I went out a little fast while jockeying in foot traffic. I covered mile 1 in 7:52 and realized that this was not going to be a good day. If I felt as tired as I did then with that time, there was no chance of breaking 24:00.
Mile 2 came later than I expected and the clock read wrong too. My watch said 8:13.
I had enough stamina to push hard to the finish line but my leg turnover was not high enough to my liking. The third mile was 8:23 with :49 over the last one-tenth.
Final time 25:17.2.
Of the 30 5Ks I have run since 1999 when I began this amateur racing career, it ranks 11th but not close to any of my more recent 5K races. What's it mean? Who knows. I will have to train harder and faster. Race a little smarter too maybe.
Independence Day Observance. Tonight I'll be a guest on the 15th floor of a condo with a balcony overlooking Lake Eola in downtown with a picture perfect view of the annual fireworks extravaganza; mixing with the beautiful people. The invitation came this morning as a result of seeing someone at the race who mentioned our meeting to the condo host who picked up the phone and called to have us over. See. Running has its extra benefits.
Have a hotdog and a beer today. It's patriotic.