Today I got up at 8 am, ate cherry yogurt, dealt briefly with squabbling little boys, and then headed out to the Game Day Rival 5k race. (The theme of the race was something about BYU vs. Notre Dame.) The race site was Mt. Tabor park. Mt. Tabor is a extinct(?) volcano in northeast Portland.
Going in to the race, my goal was to finish in 22-something minutes. That was before I realized what the course was actually going to look like, which is to say, very hilly. The start/finish of the race was at the park station/picnic area. From there, it was a short downhill stretch, then a brief flat segment (the only flat segment of the entire race), and then a long slog uphill, then back downhill, then back uphill, more downhill, and a final uphill stretch.
It was a chip-timed race, so it theoretically didn't matter when you started, but from my previous experience with an Uberthons race, I found that starting near the back gave me a false sense of confidence, as I passed lots of people and felt comfortable, but ended up with a fair amount of cardio capacity left in the tank at the end. This time, I started probably nearer to the middle of the pack. I thought it would be closer to the front, but there weren't as many runners as I expected.
(Maybe that's not surprising. It was COLD and WINDY. This is, after all, earlier February in Portland!)
Anyway, I got off to a good start, quickly catching up to the wave of runners who started immediately ahead of me, and continuing to pass more and more runners. When I hit the first uphill slog, my pace slowed a bit, naturally, but it didn't feel like a titanic effort to keep running. I guess that outdoor running -- which involves lots of hills around where I live -- has paid off. Still, it was long stretch. I finished the first mile in 7:05, which included a chunk of that uphill stretch. The second mile included more of the uphill slog and then a good deal of the downhill part. This was my slowest split -- around 8:02. I'm not exactly sure because I forgot to trigger the split function on my watch. (Also, my heart rate monitor stopped working early in the race, so I don't have heart rate data.)
The course turned away from where we had come from and kept going downhill before hitting a turnaround -- more uphill. This was the hardest stretch for me, even though it wasn't as long of a hill as the earlier slog. Leg fatigue was much more of an issue than heart/lung capacity. I finished the third mile in about 7:47. The last 0.105 miles was disappointing. No leg strength for any kind of serious kick.
So, I finished in 23:59, or 7:43 min/mile. I was 13th out of 93 finishers, 12th among all male 5K runners, and 3d for my age group (40-44). The overall winner of the 5K was a 47-year-old guy, so go 40-somethings!