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Monday, April 10, 2017

Bursting with Speed 5k

Finally, the stars aligned and I actually had a race on a day with gorgeous weather! Not only was the low 59F on Saturday, the humidity was right about the same...59%. Unheard of for April in New Orleans! I ended up racing the Bursting with Speed 5k on a brisk, breezy, sunny morning, temps about 65. Besides the wind - which was not really bad at all, more a factor of running on the lakefront than the weather - it was absolutely ideal.
I had high hopes for a faster race than my last 5k, which felt inexplicably slow. And I did: a full MINUTE faster!
Lake Ponchartrain
The Bursting with Speed 5k is held in honor of a local runner, Benny Burst, who passed away after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia. This race serves as a fundraiser for LLS, the leukemia and lymphoma society. Walgreens is a big supporter of LLS, and I already participate in events and fundraisers for them, so of course I wanted to run this race. I also thought it would be a no-pressure event, and I was right: the race offers substantial prize money for the top three finishers, so the field was crowded. I could run for time and not worry about a place, like I might in a smaller race (by the way, the top two finishers ran under 15:00, so...yeah, it's a fast race!).
The only drawback to this race is that the Lakefront does offer some challenges. As I recall from many painful marathon miles, it is full sun, beating down on you, reflecting off the white pavement; it's always going to have wind; and of course, it's "hilly" for New Orleans and there are a few bridges. But honestly, no biggie. The weather was so nice it made up for all that. I mean, I got a sunburn, but I survived!

This race was run further up but I parked closer to the other end
of the Lakefront due to my late arrival.
I cut it a little close getting to the start, and while I squeezed in a 2 mile warm up, I didn't have time or space for strides or anything. I started nearish to the front, and we headed out into a crosswind/headwind. I'd prefer that to a headwind on the way back, though! I powered through mile one, head down, and hit it in 6:25 - exactly the pace I wanted to run. I assumed I'd run a 6:35 for mile 2, which had two hills and a rather awkward turn-around, so that pace made sense. It seemed like mile one went fast, but mile two was agony. I really can't run on hills at all. So hard for me. And then I got boxed in and had to shorten my stride and felt very uncomfortable for awhile. Even though it was pretty crowded, I never really passed anyone and wasn't really passed by anyone the whole race. I hit mile 2 in 6:32, and ugh, I sort of gave up at that point. I really need to work on keeping my head in the game! I now had a tailwind to the finish, but I was dawdling. Mile 3 was 6:26, suddenly I saw clock still in the 19's, and sped up - 19:40 by Garmin, 19:46 gun time (there were mats at the finish only, not the start - the New Orleans track club chips races, but only reports gun time).
A friend took this picture near the finish

Now of course, there has to be a caveat: some runners, including myself, had Garmin distances that were short of 3.1. I got 3.09, but others got 3.08 or even 3.06. The course might have been short, or our Garmins cut the corners when measuring distance. Not sure. But even if it was a worst-case-scenario of 3.06 miles, my time still extrapolates to 19:55, and I'm OK with that: I'm just really happy to be under 20 minutes again! Yay for speed creeping back!


  1. Congratulations on a great race! If it was a certified course it doesn't matter what your Garmins got- last year I ran two USATF certified courses that came up .02 short and we figured it was due to trees and a small trail section on the courses. Some people got the correct amount, too. Either way, that's an excellent time and hooray for a big improvement over the last race!

  2. Congratulations. I personally thought you never lost your speed, but that you weren't acclimated to the heat you were running in. Regardless. I'm glad you had such an awesome race.

  3. Nice work! That's an awesome time! And I am glad that the weather was more agreeable for a change! Seems like it's been a long time since you've had cooler race weather!