Covenant Race for Adoption 5k #2
Brief summary before breaking the race down by mile: I took about 16 seconds longer but still finished 3rd overall female* and raced the course much better than last year.
Warm up: Although I cannot remember exactly what the temps were last year, I think that it was warmer today, not by much but definitely warmer. That plus the late start makes it very easy to warm up. I did run a little too fast towards the end of the warm up to make sure I could get back to the restrooms at the start. The race didn’t get started until 9:05 (scheduled at 9:00) so I had plenty of time.
At the start: No instructions were given for walkers to get to the back. Surrounding the obviously faster runners were many, many children and an overweight woman who I overheard say “I’m not starting this thing running.” Why are you on the start line in front of everyone else then? I actually engaged her in conversation and tried to make her understand that she needed to get to the back but to no avail.
Mile 1 (6:54): I think a big part of my being able to run this race smarter was familiarity with the course from last year. This first mile is almost entirely downhill. I ran his mile way too fast last year. With that in mind I kept telling myself to pull back so I didn’t spend all my energy here.
I quickly found myself as the lead female. I knew this wouldn’t last. Before the start I had seen last year’s winner plus a girl in a GTC Elite shirt. (I found out later that this was Kimberly Ruck. First female for me? Hah! :))
I enjoyed it while it lasted and did not give chase when those two ladies passed me 3/4 of a mile in. The fact that they were running a sub 7 minute pace while chatting sealed the deal for me.
Mile 2 (7:43): The long slow killer hill starts very shortly into the second mile. My biggest goal for this race was to not let this hill defeat me. Despite a nearly 1 minute slower mile, this hill did not defeat me. I may have been able to push harder here but that’s likely what did me in last year. Instead I focused on keeping an even effort and not letting another female pass me.
Mile 3 (7:51): Positive splitting for the win! Okay, that’s said in jest of course. I am perfectly okay with positive splits on this course because more than half (the second half) of the race is a gradual uphill. Once it starts it really never relents until you get to the entrance of the subdivision to cross the street. I focused on pushing forward no matter how I felt remembering just how much I wanted to walk during this section last year. This year mile 3 was still the hardest mile but at no point did I want to walk. I could actually see the second place female up ahead of me but not close enough to attempt chasing her down.
last nubbin (6:06): I managed a last little sprint which likely would be faster if they could just change the finish to one of the driveways to the church instead of making us step up and then down to cross a grassy area.
Despite getting a slightly slower time I am very pleased with my overall effort. I could still use some more hill work but for the conditions and the course, this was a good time for me.
cool down: After grabbing some water and some pictures of Mom finishing I headed out on my cool down. It’s a nice way to occupy some of the waiting time before awards.
A word about the last section of the course. The course exits the subdivision and crosses the street before finishing in the church’s parking lot. That means that cars on the road (Old Spartanburg) need to be stopped. Today the cops were doing an excellent job sending the cars when there were gaps to keep traffic from completely stopping. Obviously there was still a minor back up.
Back to the warm up. I crossed the street while the cars were stopped and headed the opposite direction. As I ran I heard a guy in a convertible with the top down yell out in frustration “Come on. Go!” I shouted across the street. “There’s a race, dude. There’s a race.” He replied, “There’s plenty of drivers too.” Want to make a runner mad? That’s it. I was still running so all I could think of was “I’d rather keep them safe.” Later as I ran I thought of a great reply “Would you rather hit someone or waste a few minutes of your life?”
awards: After I got back to the church parking lot we did not have long to wait. I expected to win my age group because last year the organizers recognized just the first place winner. When he announced that they would be recognizing the top three I got ready to go up and claim my third place award.
I know for a fact that I started out in first place and was passed by just 2 women. That’s it. Somehow another name get in there between Kimberly and the second place finisher and I was bumped down to age group winner.
I happened to remember that Pace Running Magazine was livestreaming the finish with a new app that I know little about. I found the tweet, watched the video and confirmed that I indeed was the 3rd place female. Just now I looked through Pace Running Magazine’s pictures from the events and confirmed this again. Talk about anti-climactic.
After I got home I emailed the race director and he apologized profusely. A husband and wife pair accidentally used each other’s bibs and things are being sorted out. Phew!
Reflection: Since my goal in this race was to run a smarter race than last year, I can check that goal off my Summer of Speed list.
I’m also keeping watch on my left knee. It’s felt off and on wonky (no pain) at various times (never during a race) and I want to make sure that I make it to Chicago healthy and ready to BQ.