Time: 30:02 (-4:19 from last year)
Division (F30-39): 20/69 (I think. There are some people listed without ages as well as some unidentified runners on there, so I could be lower.)
Distance: 3.13 mi
Heart Rate: 183 bpm
What I ate
the night before for lunch: Thai peanut pasta and tabbouleh
What I ate
on race morning for dinner: Small steak (bad idea) and corn
What I carried with me: nothing
What I wore: T-shirt, shorts
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. SO CLOSE. Just 3 seconds away from a sub-30 5K. I’m disappointed, but I will survive. I think I ran a good race, and probably wasn’t in a position to run a great race.
We left the house at about 11:20, parked at a ramp on Michigan Ave, and then jogged (well, I jogged, my husband walked) over to the race start. I did about a mile warm-up in all, as we ran a small part of the course to check it out. It was much darker than I recalled. Maybe last year the moon was brighter, I don’t know. But, I warmed up! Hooray! I would have liked to do a slightly longer warm-up but realized it was 11:45 and turned around to get back in time for the start. The start seemed to take forever to come, we stood around for 10 minutes but it felt like 20. We didn’t start exactly at midnight either, and then it took awhile for us to filter through the start area. My heart rate was kind of elevated at the start (still aerobic) due to the warm-up and some slight pre-race anxiety.
Mile 1: 9:54 (180 bpm)
I was in the hole from the beginning, but it was so hard to dodge people. There weren’t pace groups, just a single sign at the front that said 7:00 pace. I think that was just a deterrent for slow people who might want to start at the front. It was very frustrating to try to dodge and weave through people while uncertain what the ground in front of me was like. There were a few small puddles and you’d think they were filled with battery acid from the horror of some participants. They were stopping, panicking, and making sudden lateral movements, just to avoid a puddle that wasn’t more than an inch deep. People were slowing to a walk (and not an intentional run-walk walk) less than half a mile in; just take 10% off your effort and you won’t have to do that, folks! I had a lot of speeding up and slowing down during this time, and it took almost half a mile to get up to goal pace, which was now too slow to make my goal. My mouth was a little dry which bothered me.
Mile 2: 9:45 (184 bpm)
Still above goal pace, argh. I really screwed myself. This did have 2 hills, but I did ok on the hills, even sometimes accelerating on them. I regretted the steak; I didn’t feel actually nauseated in my stomach, but did have kind of a gaggy feeling in my throat. I still had some dodging and weaving around people to do, which was made more difficult by the visibility. There were lighted stretches, and then unlighted stretches with enough ambient light to see, and other stretches in shadow where the ground wasn’t visible. That made it challenging for my eyes to adapt, and I wasn’t sure of my footing at times, so I had to be a bit cautious. So that caution cost me those 3 seconds… but tripping, falling, and twisting an ankle would have cost many more seconds. Right before the turnaround, the woman in front of me slowed suddenly due to an errant glow bracelet on the ground, which she said aloud that she thought was the cone. Um, thanks for stopping short right in front of me. I found anytime I was forced to slow down due to a sudden movement from someone else, it took me a bit to find my groove again, as opposed to a gentler slowdown from approaching a slower runner
Mile 3: 9:22 (186 bpm)
This mile was mostly downhill but did have one significant (for a 5K) uphill. I knew I needed to make up time, as I’d set my watch to show average pace and could see I’d been in a hole the whole race. I did have some slight cramping in my lower GI system but I knew I could power through and it would go away, either when I finished or before. It did, and I was glad I didn’t let it scare me. I was really able to get in a groove and was running much faster, but it clearly wasn’t enough. When my watch flashed for the 3rd mile, I saw I had about 55 seconds to get to the finish, and I turned on the jets, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t know right away, though I knew it was close. I came through the chute at a sub-8 pace. Some spectator reached across to give me a high five, but they reached out so far I had to dodge around their hand. Look, I don’t mind giving high fives at the finish, but don’t hold your hand out so far it obstructs me. Let me choose if I want to touch you or not. I blew my nose into my hand about 80 times during the race so I saved the guy a snotty high-five.
My husband finished before me by about 45 seconds, and was lying in the grass (because he doesn’t know how to race without practically dying… I could use a bit of that devil-may-care attitude) and called out to me to let me know that he was there. I acknowledged him but he was also coughing and I was like dude if you’re going to be sick get away from me. He was fine, I was just being paranoid. We got some water and cookies and picked up our race shirts, then cooled down walking along the Lakewalk a bit before returning to the car. I felt fine until we got in the car and started driving, and then I started to feel a bit queasy. It passed, but gave me a moment of panic.
I am pleased with how I raced, even if I didn’t get that sub-30 I wanted. This was not a good race to try to push myself to the max, since it was fairly crowded until maybe the last kilometer or so (after passing the last of the runners still heading out), and it was pretty dark in some spots, with some sketchy footing. I probably shouldn’t have eaten steak, but it was what was for dinner. I can analyze every aspect of this race and find a million spots where I could have just changed things a little bit and I’d have made my goal, but it really doesn’t matter. I still ran a very good race, finished strong, improved my time and placing significantly, and now I know without a doubt that a sub-30 race is within my grasp. There’s still a lot of potential left in this body and mind, and I’m not even working on speed or shorter distances right now. We’ll see if I really do try to chase down the sub-30 dream again this summer; so far I haven’t found a 5K I want to run that’s cheap, convenient, and timely.