My alarm went off at 7:30 am this morning, and I listened for the sound of rain, but it was quiet. Yes! It was a dry morning. I got up, ate a container of cherry yogurt for breakfast, and got dressed for my 5K race, the Luckython: longsleeve tech shirt, with a white Oregon Zoo T-shirt over that; black tech shorts; new socks that I won in a contest by the race organizers; and my soon-to-be retired Asics shoes.
It was cold, but not intolerably so. I drove over to Cook Park in nearby Tigard and started warming up with some light jogging in the parking lot area. The 10K runners got to go first, and then it was our turn. I lined up closer to the front than the back, maybe about in the top quarter in terms of positioning.
This was the second time I've run this course, as it was used for last year's Turkeython, and I therefore knew what to expect. It starts with a flat stretch and then slight downward curve to a T-intersection. The course turns right at the T, going up and across a bridge, then a straightaway that ends in a U-turn. Back toward the bridge (1 mile marker), across it, and past the T-intersection. Then some gentle curves through semi-flooded paths, part of which into a forest, ending in a gentle turnaround (2 mile marker). The last mile heads back to the T-intersection and back toward the starting area, except it curves to the right for a last bulge. Back to the picnic area (3 mile marker) and a last stretch along part of the parking lot back to the starting point.
When it my wave's turn to go, I got off to a good start. I hit the 1 mile marker in 7:07, which was on pace for what I'd hoped to finish in. Unfortunately, I didn't run negative splits; the opposite, in fact. The second mile took 7:42, and the third took 7:48. I was not running at an easy, comfortable pace, so I don't think I left much, if anything, on the table, although better pacing might have cut a little bit of time. I was pretty gassed at the end and felt a brief moment of nausea, so I think I was running near max VO2.
I crossed the finish in 23:24, which was disappointing. I'd hoped for getting under 22:30, but I would've been satisfied with getting under 23:00 flat. However, I did have a pleasant surprise: when I checked the instant results. (Uberthons races are so awesome! Any kind of internet connection lets you check the results as they occur in real-time.) I was first in my age bracket (40-44 years). Of course, since I was closer to the front than the back, there could well be faster runners who started later who would be finishing soon. I hovered near the results table, where Uberthons had set up an iPad and three touchscreen monitors all connected wirelessly, and periodically checked to see if I was getting dethroned.
I prevailed! In the end, I finished 12th overall out of 180 runners, but first in my age group (out of 26) and therefore obviously first in my age/gender group (out of 13). I didn't win the blanket that went to the male and female winners of the 5K and 10K races, but I did get to go up during the extended awards ceremony for a picture, and I won a small bag of green-colored candy.
Even better, my two boys, N and J, ran in the kids' 1K race afterward. N paced himself, and while this race wasn't timed, I'm certain he ran a nice negative split. J ran too fast at first (he's more impatient in general) and then complained that he was tired. (I ran with him.) So I told him that was fine, he could walk until he felt like running again. He walked two stretches, but at the end, when I told him to run hard to the finish, he did! They each got to pick a kids' ribbon.
Then we went home and I took a nice long hot shower and scrubbed all the mud off my legs.