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.