I’m going to call this race The One That Got Away. It didn’t go at all how I’d hoped, but I still enjoyed myself. I signed up with the sole goal of getting a PR (personal record). My previous best in a 5k race was 33:12, set in March 2010. Recently I’ve been consistently running miles in the 10:30-10:45 range, so I had high hopes that I could beat that 33:12 time, especially since I’d run 3.1 miles the Sunday before in 32:48. In addition, the race was advertised as “flat and fast,” so everything seemed to indicate a PR for me.
The race wasn’t very organized, and the instructions we got at the starting line about where the turn-around was were slightly unclear. I just hoped that there would be people around me I could follow so I would know what I was doing. After several minutes, the race finally started. I let a bunch of people pass me, as is my usual practice, and focused on finding a good pace for me. The first mile was indeed nice and flat, and I finished it in 10:11, which is a new personal best for me. I was feeling good, if not a little warm. There were quite a few runners around me for the first mile, and then slowly some began to fall behind while others raced ahead of me. Before I knew it I was running by myself, which always seems to happen to me in races. It was around this point that I saw spray-painted on the road “5k turn,” and I saw several runners ahead of me turning there. But what I also saw was that someone had written in chalk over that and had drawn arrows up ahead to signal that the turn for this race was still a little bit up the road. So I kept going after trying unsuccessfully to tell the others that they were turning at the wrong place. There was a water station at the turn, and though I wanted to get clarification about the turn, two other women were talking to him and I didn’t want to lose time by stopping, so I turned around and kept going. I didn’t see a mile marker for mile 2 and missed the alarm on my Garmin, so I had no idea when I actually finished 2 miles but knew I had more to go. My pace had slowed considerably because there was more of an incline at this part of the course, but I was still hopeful for a PR as I made my way back to the finish line and tried to pick up my pace. I saw my pace go down to 9:48 at several points, which made me happy.
However, as I approached the finish, I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I had gone 2.8 miles and was already at 30 minutes. I was so disappointed and knew there was no way I would get a PR, and I was also confused because I was still a good distance from the finish line at that point. Still, I kept my pace good and strong and tried to finish as fast as I could. The finish line was actually inside the minor league baseball stadium, which was cool, and I saw Stephen and Charlotte right before the finish and waved and gave a thumbs up. Finally, I crossed the finish, and someone called out my name over a loudspeaker, which I loved.
(One of the few pics Stephen managed to get while he juggled a squirmy toddler.)
Stephen also filmed a video as I rounded the bases before the finish line. It’s cute because you can hear Charlotte saying “Mama.”
What I did NOT love was the time I saw on the finish clock and on my Garmin: 34:49. I was even more frustrated when I saw that according to my Garmin I had actually run 3.37 miles and not 3.1. I didn’t know what to make of this, and I still don’t. A friend on Facebook suggested that I didn’t run the tangents of the course, which is definitely possible, but there weren’t all that many curves in the course . It’s also possible that my Garmin gave an inaccurate reading, but it’s never been off by such a wide margin before, and the sky was completely clear and unobstructed during the whole race. If there had been mile markers along the course I could have had a better idea of how my Garmin was matching up to the course. Only mile 1 was marked (and my Garmin was right on track with it), and then they marked every kilometer, which wasn’t at all helpful.
Average pace if indeed I ran 3.1 miles: 11:13
Average pace for 3.37 miles according to my Garmin: 10:19
6/16 in my age group
Even though I was pretty disappointed after it was over, I still did well and didn’t walk at all. I also finished in the middle of the pack in each category, whereas I normally rank near the bottom. Plus, I got a technical shirt and water bottle with my registration, and I do love some good swag! 🙂
Now I need to find another race to sign up for so I can get that new PR!