My sister in law says that it's a beautiful course. It briefly passes through some pretty buildings in downtown Clearwater before heading out over the soaring Memorial Causeway. The course turns around not far past the causeway so you enjoy the same scenery on the way back.
That's what I hear because I wasn't there for the scenery. The 5K and I have unfinished business. There were things I wanted, like a PR and some age group hardware for me/Boston Bill Sunglasses. But I really wanted to see if I could bring together my marathon training with other high intensity workouts to run hard.
15 minute jog to warm up. A few pick ups to race pace to get the body into the rhythm. Joe thoughtfully replaced my Garmin Forerunner 305 as a Christmas gift. It arrived just in time for me to realize that 5K race pace "feel" is now something around 7:45-8:00 minute miles on flat land. Really.
So I ran with the Garmin, not as a leash but as a "stop slacking" monitor.
The race did not start as planned. I tried to line up at the front but unless I wanted to start a mosh pit, I was blocked out. But I'll leave it at that because if you want to play with the big kids, you have to act like the big kids. Learn the characteristics of your race. Warm up sooner. Line up sooner. There's no crying in baseball. Line up behind the 20ft of surveyor's tape or you'll get screwed at the start as hundreds of runners pour in from the sides. I always wondered why the age group winning times seemed so slow for this race.
Now I know.
As a result, there's nothing to do but sprint/stop/walk/sprint/dodge/duck/dodge for the first mile. The only time I really got pissed off was the guy who pushed past me only to come to a dead stop next to a girl about 10 feet ahead. Which meant I was trapped walking, too. Nice. Very nice. Hope things worked out for you.
Regardless, my body was willing and ready to go. Crazy sprinting whenever possible even if it's across the road through heavy crowds and up a bridge? No problem. Sure, running up the bridge I wanted to puke. The goal was to let the effort go as high as I could take. Make the effort pure. No walking. The pace will be what the pace will be. I didn't bother to look at the Garmin because the numbers meant nothing at that moment. Even when I felt like puking, I asked myself "do you want to stop to puke or do you want an age group award?" Enough said.
On the downhills, I used every bit of hard earned leg strength to run as fast as possible. Some runners can't take the pounding of the downhills but my legs are ready. The twisting pedestrian off ramp at the end of the bridge section was a little cruel. You had the steep downhill but no straightaway to use.
Even then I knew my time was in range for age group awards as long as I didn't back down. The short, steep uphill into downtown took it out of me but after that it was a smooth downhill until the final turn. Burn anything left in the tank. A tall chick in pink passed me. She looked about my age and the Seminole Stampede taught me to assume nothing. I'm not losing an age group award by seconds.ever.again. So I hang with her. Stalking. Knowing the last turn takes us down a steep down hill. Knowing I have the advantage when it comes. I let gravity bring me within striking distance, not wanting to go too soon lest we sprint and then....stupid guy next to her looks back at me. She knows. GAME ON.
I am 150th overall. She is 151st. By one second.
27:03 officially. 26:17 on the Garmin for 3.17 miles which is a PR pace if not an official race PR.
That time was good enough to earn me 3rd in the competitive 35-39 age group. It's always nice to earn hardware when your sponsors are watching. :) I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform for them on race day and I made it happen.
|Me proudly advertising my sponsor with fellow Boston Bill Team Member. Also a local radio DJ (didn't know!)|
|Getting the "prizes".|
|Official photo op. I should probably know this guy, too. Race Director?|
A very good day.
|Celebratory post race beer with lunch. Woohoo!|