Am I crazy?
That's what I was wondering when my alarm woke me up at 7:40 am today, and I could hear steady rainfall outside. I could either go back to sleep or I could get dressed, eat yogurt for breakfast, and then drive 30 minutes to go run a 5K race . . . in the rain.
I chose to get up, but it was a close call. Truth be told, if it weren't for the fact that I had set a March mini-goal of running a 5K in sub-22:30 -- which I failed to accomplish two weeks ago at the Luckython -- I might have gone back to sleep even though I'd already registered for this race.
Yea for setting motivational goals!
I wore a longsleeve tech shirt, with the Zombie Apocalypse race T-shirt over that, black tech shorts, white socks, and the lightweight Saucony Progrid Kinvaras. Then I drove 22 miles southwest to Champoeg Park. It was pouring during the drive, or at least it seemed that way, between the velocity of the rainfall and the backsplatter from trucks. I am crazy, I thought to myself.
Parts of the park were flooded, including one stretch of the path from the parking lot to the picnic area where the race organizers were set up. No problem, I just walked across the grass . . . oh, maybe it would be better to describe it as a swamp. One of the downsides of the Kinvaras is that they get soaked easily, apparently.
I picked up my bib (#1570) and shivered under the canopy. It wasn't actually that cold -- high 40s or so -- but the dreary weather and rain made it seem that way. Fortunately, it wasn't raining that hard.
Finally, we gathered to the starting line. Uberthons races tend to get anywhere from 100-500 runners, but this was a decidedly small event (only 36 5Kers and 28 10Kers). The organizers didn't even bother with starting us in waves, as they usually do. I was near the front, with a bunch of (as it turned out) really fast runners.
I had run 10 miles on Thursday, and one of my work colleagues who's a hardcore runner had suggested that I take it easy the first mile to see how my legs felt. I was planning on following that advice, and also trying to avoid the problem with the Luckython, where I ran positive splits. However, the combination of race adrenaline and positioning with fast runners led to a 6:49 first mile.
At least, that's going by the mileage markers, which I'm sure were off significantly, at least the mile 2 marker, anyway.
By that point, the runners I had started with had pretty much all sped ahead of me. I felt okay -- it wasn't an easy pace, but I wasn't gasping either. I had visions of a sub-22:00 finish at this pace.
But I did slow down a bit. Not intentionally, per se, or rather, not in a planned way. I didn't think I could keep up that 6:49 pace. Plus the course was getting a bit annoying, with big puddles of water in spots that you couldn't avoid without going a long way out of the way. Result: more soaked feet.
I hit the 5K turnaround at 11ish minutes and started to head back.
Going by my watch timer and the mile 2 marker, that second mile was 8:56(!). Now, I know I ran a slow second mile, but there was no way it was that slow. But I was fretting about it and now worried that I wouldn't even beat the time from my previous 5K. . . . (That have been not just demoralizing, but also embarrassing, since one of the race organizers was telling us that this would be a PR course.)
At this point, I was in a weird spot on the course. I saw walkers still headed out, but I could only see one runner ahead of me, and when I looked back, I couldn't see anyone following me. So basically, I was the slowest of the fast group. . . .
Anyway, the mile 3 marker popped up unexpectedly quickly. Per my watch timer, that third mile took me only 5:55(!!), which is obviously wrong. My fastest mile on a flat treadmill of late was 6:00, so it's safe to say that I wouldn't be running a sub-6:00 mile on mile 3 of an actual race. I'd guess that something like 1:15 of mile 2 should be in mile 3, which would make those splits a more reasonable 7:40 and 7:10. Maybe they were even more balanced.
Apparently, I stopped my watch timer at mile 3 instead of hitting the split button, because Icrossed the finish line in 22:24, but my watch claimed 21:40. The last split time on the watch was 5:55, which confirms this diagnosis of user error.
So, I'm pleased with the time. On the course, I didn't feel like I was holding back (well, maybe mile 2 a bit), but at the end, I didn't feel completedly drained either.
I finished 4th overall, 3d out of 3 (d'oh) for 40-44 year old males, and 3d out of 7 for 40-44 year olds. Kind of weird how I ran a minute faster than the Luckython, but finished last in my age/gender bracket here and won it in the earlier race. This was a faster course, and maybe the rain kept away more of the non-hardcore racers.
Next race is in a month. We'll see if I can get under 22 minutes.