|The Big 5K Run 2011 T-Shirt|
Well, that was the plan, but things never go according to plan, do they;-) The field of runners was fairly large at 258 finishers for a first year event (last year's inaugural race had to be cancelled due to inclement weather). While not all of the usual suspects of speedsters were in attendance, it seemed like every local masters runner from the 40-49 age group was. Unfortunately for me, that is now my age group. The top 10 had 7 runners in this age group and that's pretty impressive. In addition, I wasn't one of those runners, which wasn't unexpected since I'm not yet the sub 20 minute runner I strive to be.
So this is the way the race broke down for me. I lined up in the third row at the start. My goal was to stay in the same position throughout the race, meaning I didn't want more than two or three people to pass me. Obviously, I wouldn't mind passing others. I wanted to keep a pace of 6:15 for the first mile, 6:25 for the second mile and 6:30 for the third mile.
I ended up running the first mile in 6:22, just about were I expected to be. My goal would be not to drop off for at least the first 2 miles. When I reached the second mile marker, I was still on track, logging a 6:32 mile. Now I just neded to hold that pace for the remaining 1.1 miles, which I felt confident I could do.
The next thing that happened to me was an absolute first. I got lost...well kind of. Coming down Governors West NW road, I saw runners ahead of me turning into one of the Bridge Street parking lots and I followed suit. However, I was confused as there really was no indication or maker of any kind telling us to turn off the main road into this parking lot. So what did I do? I stopped...slowly running in reverse trying to get any kind of sign or hint that we all weren't just lost. 10 seconds or so later and after another runner passed me, I noticed a volunteer at the very end of the parking lot appearing to direct people to turn left.
At this point, I am realizing my PR is out the window and I just want to finish this race on the official course, so I decide that this is probably the right way since noone else is turning around. Or maybe they all just decided to keep on going regardless. Either way, I decided to do the same. While I don't think I lost more than 8-10 seconds, I knew this was going to put a dent in any hopes of a PR. That was quite a mentally deflating moment and I continued to run, just wanting to complete this race strong without fading too much.
When I finally made the last turn and saw the finish line, I felt like I had run the longest 5K race of my live, mostly because I mentally struggled after stopping to run on the home stretch and then deciding to keep going the same course but realizing that a PR was no longer in the cards. Well, at least I thought it just felt long. When I crossed the finish line and checked out my Garmin, I registered 3.3 miles for the race, making it almost a quarter of a mile long. After checking out my overall pace and realizing that I was actually on pace for a 2011 5K PR, I was upset for a very brief moment, until I wrote it off as another training run. At least I know I can run faster. I will chase that PR again when I toe the line for the next 5K race.
I would like to thank the organizers for putting on this event and for raising awareness and funds of a worthy cause. I quite enjoyed the race, even if I didn't get a PR. At the end of the day, I had a good run. Hey, I even finished 16th overall and that's not too shabby either.