If you run the Greek Fest race, you get free beer and free entry into the fest the whole weekend - so it kind of pays for itself, since a. fest beer is pricey and b. I intended on returning to the fest the next day. Not like you really need two days of gyros and ouzo, but I've always wanted to tour the Greek Orthodox church, and I never can do it on race night, because there is a strict dress code inside the church. So Friday morning, still in debate (knowing I was not in 5k shape at all, and knowing that my left leg has felt vaguely weak for about a month now), I packed a bag of clothes, shoes, and Garmin.
I finally decided to race, and texted David that we'd just figure out how out of shape we both were!
|Start of the one-mile|
By the time I'd done that, chatted with a friend, used the bathroom, and run back to my car for chapstick, the one-mile race was almost done, and the 5k was lining up. My Garmin said I had about 10 minutes to the start, so I decided to jog a mile, then do a few strides. But luckily, I didn't go too far - I heard the national anthem, and turned around to barely make it into the crowds as the horn went off. No strides for me, and barely a half-mile warm-up as the race started about five minutes early.
Mile one: I was not terribly far back, since I'd scooted up the side of the start, but I was still passing people for the whole first half-mile. Plus, this race tends to get a big crowd of weekend warriors, who start close to the front, and fall off pace FAST. So there was a lot of weaving. I wanted to run about 7 min/mile pace, knowing that right now that was about all I had, but 6:55 felt comfortably hard, so I stuck with that pace. I focused on normal breathing and using both legs evenly (I've been struggling with that). It felt good to race again, but I resolutely held back! 6:56.
Mile two: Mile two was the interesting one. There were two "incidents" in mile two. The only water stop is in mile two; because of my rushed start, I wanted a water, so I stayed to the left and grabbed one. The problem was that the young boy in front of me (high school runner) grabbed a water, too, then stopped dead in his tracks. No biggie - I put the brakes on, swerved, didn't collide with anyone. But those occurrences just throw your race off when it's a 5k, you know? It wrecks your momentum. And right after the water stop was a hairpin turn, which I knew also wrecks momentum! I'd planned to follow Chris' advice and take 5 quick strides after the turn to get back on track. But that didn't happen. I approached the turn with an older gentleman who is an incredible local runner (he actually holds some national grandmasters titles). I've gotten the impression in the past that he doesn't necessarily race clean - he uses track tactics. And I also have this impression that he's always competing with me, since we are similar paces. Well. We turned. He was on the inside; I was outside. And then he started drifting hard right. And harder right. And straight toward me. He basically ran me off the road: I was in the grass! Very weird. I didn't know what to think about that, but...benefit of the doubt? Maybe he didn't see me. Anyway. Mile 2 was 6:54.
Mile three: I felt pretty good at mile three, and I passed a lady I'd passed *right* at the line last year. I wasn't exactly speeding by the third mile, but I was passing plenty of people, and only one person passed me - my friend Rob, whom I'd been trading places with for a mile and a half. I almost caught a really tall, very long-legged girl: I'd seen her in SECOND at the turn-around, but at the third mile she was walking! But when she saw me she burst off in smoking speed. Weird way to run a race - but when you are over 6 feet tall, a short burst of speed carries you far. 6:53.
Last bits: No speed for me. I just don't have the leg turnover anymore. I finished in 21:33 by Garmin; they haven't published official gun times yet, but it should be a bit slower based on my start place.
|Sweaty picture in front of the Greek church.|
- Older runner apologized after the race (I know his name but I don't want to say it). He said, "Sorry I ran you into the shoulder. That's how I cut my corners. Wide." I said no problem, and really - it's not. But I have this feeling that it wasn't an accident. BTW I beat him, so nyah nyah.
- My leg turnover is seriously slow. Bad.
- I worked hard to land with even foot pressure and to use my glutes for power.
- All comeback races suck. This is similar to my first 5k back after the last hip surgery - not fun, not fast.
- But I'm really happy to use this time to work on pacing and negative splits. It's time to put the work in and get it right!
- I need to stop weaving so much: I ran further than I should have, and that hurts you in 5k.
- I am painfully aware of my extra years and extra pounds. Age and weight'll get ya.
- It was an unusually cool morning, so Friday when I grabbed my clothes I packed a black technical T-shirt. Terrible decision: I was HOT.
- I'm happy that I felt fairly comfortable all race. I know there's a lot of work to be done, but it's good to get back out there.
*EDITED TO ADD* Oops. I am entirely to blame for ever listening to my husband on time...he is wrong about 60% of the time, after all. The 5k started at 7:20 and it was actually five minutes late!