Jingle All the Way 5k
This is a 5k that is usually well attended and kicks off the Christmas parade in front of the State House in Columbia. About 300+ runners. I looked at the course which included a huge hill at about 1.25 miles in . Race temps were in the mid 40’s, windy, with a chance of rain. I lined up 2nd row behind the singlet and racer shoe types. The pace right from the start felt pretty fast. There were crowds all through the first mile cheering and screaming, so this probably added to the adrenaline. I found a comfortable pace about a half mile into the race, and felt the pack thinning considerably. There was a long downhill stretch followed by a turn at the bottom, and my Garmin informs me of a 6:08 pace.
I was a little panicked at this point, because I figured this meant a bonk was in my near future, especially with the monster hill looming around the bend. To add to my trouble, my shoelaces on my left foot were completely undone, and my car key was in the laces of that shoe. I slowed a bit and hit the hill, which was rough. I dont know what my pace fell to, but it was probably in 8 minute territory. Luckily the hill was only about a quarter mile. I reached the top breatheing pretty hard but relieved the worst was over. Unfortunately, my shoelaces were now so loose that my key broke free and was flopping around my legs. I had to stop and almost rip my laces to free my key, and just held it in my hand the rest of the way. This took several pulls at a complete stop, and probably cost me about 10 seconds minimum. I was very surprised that no one passed me during this debacle – the hill had claimed quite a few people apparently.
The rest of the course had some slight inclines but nothing too bad. I hit mile 2 in 6:56, which wasnt too bad given the hill and the stop. I was pretty gassed by the 2 mile mark, but I felt myself steadily closing in on a 4 person pack ahead of me. I started pushing it a bit as we neared the last half mile. Hit the 3 mile mark at a 6:50 split and put on the afterburners. I passed all but one of the group. However, a ripped black guy built like a sprinter blew by me in the last 100 meters. I saw the clock at about 20:40 but I could not muster a sprint with the way I was breathing. I hit the finish at 21:05. I thought the guy who passed me was in my age group, but checking the computer results showed he was 35, which I think he may of turned in the last month (the guy is known to me from other races). Anyway, I finished in about 14th place and 3rd in my age group, which netted me a nice medal. I knew this was the best outcome because I knew 2 other guys in my AG were there, and they run about 18 minutes. I was OK with the time, considering the huge hill and the stop. I have another 5k next Saturday, which is pretty flat. I’m going to give it my all to lower my PR before my goal race on Dec 26.