Get to the Green 5k
This is the 5k associated with the 5 points St Pats day festival in COlumbia, and has turned into a huge event. 1600+ runners. Weather was awesome, almost too warm, probably mid 60’s at race time, and sunny. Course has an incline for much of the first mile, but is mostly flat thereafter. I PR’d here last year at 22:25 and its definitely a PR friendly course. I lined up 2nd row behind the singlet wearing dudes and the pace was super fast from the gun. There was a bottleneck around the festival gate about a quarter mile from the start, so went out in crazy speed to avoid the stampede. Made it through unscathed. I was the unofficial pacer for a couple of guys looking to go sub 20, though of course I’ve only done it once, and with only 2 seconds to spare.
I ended up being a bad pacer, as I was way fast on the first split after the hill, 6:16 by my Garmin. Felt OK, though I was definitely breathing hard. One of the guys was right on my shoulder, the other somewhere behind me probably cursing me for taking on a crazy pace. I was definitely pushing it pretty hard after the first mile, and luckily I finally settled into a nice cadence that wasnt killing me. They had an official clock at the 2 mile mark and saw around 12:40, so I knew I was definitely in range for the sub 20. Felt pretty rough at this point, but I was bouyed by the fact that the last mile is completely flat with a little decline right at the end. I lost the other guy I was pacing behind me. My breathing was definitely getting ragged at this point, and to say I was hurting is putting it mildly. You could see the finish from about .50 – .75 miles out, but it felt like torture because it was taking so long to get closer to it. I had one guy pass me right at the 2 mile mark, but I was mostly alone for much of the last mile. As I approached the clock, I saw it turn to 19 minutes. I tried to muster a kick, but there was little left in the tank. One of my friends ended up passing me in the last tenth, but I was surprised to be anywhere near him at the finish (he’s a 55 year old perennial age group winner). Saw 19:20’s as I approached the finish, and gave it all I could, finished in 19:31.
Totally thrilled with the time. No way I would have predicted anywhere near that fast – I was hoping just to shave a few seconds off my 19:58. Missed an age group award (3rd was 18:30ish) , though frustratingly if I was 2 weeks younger would have gotten 3rd in the 30-34. Still 34th overall in a 1600 person race feels amazing.
March for Meals 5k
This is a cool race that is run in and around Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia. Unfortunately it doesnt go by the animal exhibits but does go up into the botanical gardens. The botanical gardens have a single track trail which winds up a 300 ft mini mountain. This part of the course really slows you down, though theoretically you could take some of it back on the crazy steep downslope. I ran it last year in a PR 23:30 and won my age group on a fluke, but that was enough to spiral me into an obsession which continues today. I had a chance to meet Mr (and Mrs) Sig before the race – great to meet you guys! This was my first race as a 35-39er. Race temps were low 30’s – I did 2 miles to warm up in the zoo parking lot (its a huge lot), and felt pretty good after that. My goal was to run the first mile in about 6:30 pace and try to hang on from there. The main issue with this race is being in a good position once you hit the single track and the mountain, because its hard to pass during that stretch.
I lined up second row behind 2 people I knew would go sub 20. Bolted out and tried to maintain a strong pace to get into a good position. I was in pretty good shape at the bottleneck of the start of the trail, but I was a little boxed in by a couple of guys I knew I should beat. Hit the first mile in 6:30, right on my race plan. Luckily the trail opened up just a bit right before the mountain and I surged ahead. The mountain was tough, just a ridculous incline, though only about a quarter mile in length. The two in front of me were really laboring and I had to slow down to an almost 10 min pace and was breathing down their neck. I was surprised because one was the overall female winner and the other a local elite grand master 50 something that ran a 19 something at my sub 20 breakthrough. At the top of the hill, I caught my breath than decided to really burn it the rest of the way out. Second mile was 7:09. Passed the two ahead of me and went careening down the slope at sub 6 pace. The rest of the race was flat. I started laboring pretty bad with about a half mile to go, but I wanted to at least be in 20:xx range and win my age group. I also knew I was fairly close to the front, figuring only about 6-7 people in front of me. I gave it all I had the last half mile, just totally red lining it, and feeling a little pukish to be honest. Long straightaway at the end and saw low 20’s as the clock came into the view. Pushed it and finished in about 20:30.
Won first in my new age group and I was very happy with the time, knowing the difficulty of the course. My 3rd mile split ended up being 6:09, which explained why I was so cashed at the end. Great feeling though! Mr Sig got 3rd in AG, I think a PR? He’ll have to chime in on that. Cooled down by running the course again at a leisurely 9 minute pace. I’ll post the results when they come out.
Not chip timed, so they gave me some extra seconds.