It's my birthday and I immediately showed my age. I forgot my ChampionChip.
I had to re-register just minutes before the race. The only consequence to that was that the corral was very full when I went to line up. They had pace time signs to guide folks to where they should start. I only got up to about the 9-minute pace sign before the crowd was unnavigable.
The first mile was heavily congested not only with slower runners but also the clueless crowd of joggers and walkers who are inevitably unaware of pace signs. I was constantly having to slow down or weave. The first mile was 8:21 and I was 36 seconds behind the clock time.
I had my watch timer set to 8:00 pace. It beeped just before the second mile clock. Thanks to a more open road I had a 7:53.4 time for the middle split.
I passed "Helga from Stockholm" in the third mile (she PRed in 25:04) with a surge that surprised me. I held on to it for awhile and kept pushing down the home stretch, that last quarter mile where you can see the finish line and hear the cheers and announcer calling out names.
I legged it through and over the mats with a 7:35.1 third mile and 0:53.2 last tenth.
Net time - 24:37. 20th of 82 in age division.
I knew in the first mile I had no chance for a PR because of the crowding but I resolved to go hard and see how it turned out. It was such a great race morning.
Today was my 39th 5K race and my time ranked 8th among them. I was about a minute slower than last year which was my second best ever race in 23:36.
I realized while looking through my race records that since late 2005 I have run short distances (10K or less) a lot less than I used to. I've only done one 10K and that was March of '06.
The shift to marathons has taken its toll that way. Not so much in race times but I bet if I worked more on speed all the time I could bust down those 5K and 10K PRs. It's all a matter of what goals you have. I like the marathons. Here's a list why:
- Travel opportunities to places I've not seen before
- Seeing a city or town in a way nobody else can appreciate
- Staying with friends who I might not otherwise ever see again
- RBF meet-ups with my world of closest friends - yes you
- "Status" race shirts and gear from big races
- Training discipline. I might not be out there so devotedly if not for the 16-week training cycles
- High good cholesterol counts and low ratios of bad to good, meaning no meds
- Eating practically anything I want diet
- Self esteem
- Holding off the aging process
- Glycogen depletion trauma in miles 20-26 is as good as it gets if you like to go to the dentist like I do
- Constant source of inspiration and good spirits