I am not a morning person, but I'm sort of used to getting up around 7ish because of my son's elementary school schedule. Voluntarily getting up at 7 am on the weekend, though, is a different matter. Yet, I did it for the 36th annual Lake Run around Oswego Lake. I signed up for the 5K race; there was also a 12K race. Here were the courses:
Millenium Plaza, the site of the race and the festivities, is the place in Lake Oswego that hosts the farmers' market and various summer events. I picked up my racing bib and race T-shirt there yesterday afternoon, just as the various vendors were getting set up. Blast Burgers was there, and I was sort of tempted to suggest that the family come back for dinner.
Anyway, parking wasn't too bad this morning, even with the local merchants having put up "No Lake Run Parking" signs in their lots. I ate yogurt for breakfast, left home around 7:20, and parked by 7:30. It was pretty crowded (over 600 5K runners, and almost 500 12K runners). I was wondering how jammed the race route was going to be, but the race organizers know what they're doing: we ran on the road, which was blocked off from traffic.
Before the race started, someone from one of the local gyms led us on a warm-up routine, which consisted of bodyweight squats, pogo jumps, and some other kind of stretches. I went along half-heartedly, keeping in mind what I'd read in Born to Run (and other sources) that pre-running stretching doesn't do anything useful.
The horn sounded the start of the race, and we were off. I was much nearer to the front than the back, but there was still a slow mass in front of me that I threaded through for 50 yards or so, before settling into a position behind the really fast runners.
Now, the grim part of the recap. I had expected the course to be more or less flat, since it's a LAKE RUN. That's where I was wrong. We started on State Street, heading south, and then turned right on Northshore Road, which is when the course became hilly. Rolling hills, not the brutal steep slope of the Mt. Tabor run I did back in February, but several more hills along the way.
I must have missed the first mile marker, or there wasn't one. I did see some pink line spray-painted on the road somewhere around 7:15; maybe that was the marker. There was a mile 2 marker that I crossed at 14:37ish. That sounds about right, since mile 2 had more hills, and I eased up a bit on the uphill parts.
I got passed by a bunch of lean young teenaged guys who seemed like they part of the Lake Oswego High School cross-country team or something (checking the results, there were a bunch of 14- to 16-year-olds, all from L.O., who finished ahead of me).
I'm not sure what time I hit the 3 mile marker, but it was downhill from there to the end of the course, which I could see. I went into fast mode - at least, as fast as I could muster, except when I heard someone (two?) behind me, I poured on the speed and sprinted to the end. It turns out there were two 18-year-old females catching up to me (I must have passed them early on, since they hit the start line 3 seconds ahead of me). Our "gun time" was the same, but my chip time was 3 seconds faster.
I finished in 22:59, which was 44th out of 629. I was 4th out of 26 for my age/gender group (4th out of 67 for age group). I got "chicked" by four women, including two 50+ year olds(!). In fact, the 52-year-old woman was the fastest woman in the entire race with a seriously good 6:40 pace (20:44 overall).
By the way, it doesn't bother me to get beaten in a road race by women; I'm not like that private high school in Arizona that forfeited a baseball championship game rather than play a school with a girl playing second base. I'm actually kind of surprised it doesn't happen more often, since middle distance running would seem to be an athletic event in which physical size/strength differences between men and women should matter less. I'm a reasonably good runner but far from being elite, and I would have thought that many 20- or 30-something women who run a good amount would be as fast or faster than I am.