Saturday, July 7, 2012

Race Report: Red White and Blue 5k

And in the 2012 Race for PR's, the R's is three for three!

The first race of 2012 was the Corvallis Half. Got a nice PR there.

Then we had the Newport Marathon. Horrible, awful, just plain bad. Nevertheless, it was a PR...and I'm not proud. So that's two for two.

And Wednesday (who put the Fourth of July on a freaking Wednesday?!), we had the RWB 5k in Corvallis. And as I'll explain, I'm not too sure about the exact time...but I'm sure it was a Master's PR. Three for three, baby!

So we woke up Wednesday to a bright, sunshiny day. Which, frankly, has not been the norm in the Northwest so far this year. But it looks like our Summer is finally here. Jen, Payton and I all planned on running, and Carson made a late decision to join us about ten minutes before we left for the race, so the whole R's family piled into the Prius for the short drive downtown.

Considering it's the cheapest race of the year ($4 pre-registered and $6 day of race), there was a fairly good size crowd at the start - maybe 200, 250 runners and walkers.

I'm not going to complain too much about a four dollar race, but they put the walkers on the course 20 minutes before the runners...that's asking for trouble on a bike path that goes about three or four wide in most spots. Especially when, we found out later in the race, there was a drunk homeless guy sleeping in the middle of the path. Hurdle!

And the timing...I thought I had my Garmin 110 started up in plenty of time. It usually only takes a couple minutes to find satellites on sunny days. Unfortunately, we were lined up at the start line under a huge tree. The RD yelled "go" through the megaphone and my watch still said "Acquiring Satellites."


So instead of using my plan of hitting around 7:15 pace and running through the 5k at a steady PR pace, I took off at what felt like waaaaay too fast, following some very speedy high school girls (see photo above, with me in my awesome new purple Oakley's and Payton peeking out behind me).

And of course, now that I was sprinting down the Corvallis River Walk, the Garmin could not find any satellites to latch on to. Hoo boy. Time to use the tried and true 5k strategy of...


Here's Jen and Carson going out at a much more sedate and fun pace.

We came up on the back end of the walker crowd awfully quickly and started having to weave and pass many one-wide, two-wide and even three-wide packs. Which was OK at first, but then, even before we made the turn to head into Avery Park for the halfway turn-around, the leaders started coming back the other way. And now the bike path was really crowded.

By the halfway point, my Garmin had at least come to life, so I could see my pace and I slowed down just a touch to around 7:15 pace to make sure I wouldn't collapse with the finish line in sight.

Just after the turnaround, the path got really tight and I had a couple of spots where I had to swing into the weeds to pass and one spot where I just had to pull up and run slow behind a group of walkers for a few seconds until I could pass. What are you going to do, right?

So the last mile is a slight uphill and the high schoolers pulled away from me a bit. I came up alongside a guy about my age and asked him what his running time was on his watch. He told me and I compared it to what I had on my watch. Then I tried to subtract my time from his time to see what I'd have to add on to my time at the end...and I tried...and I tried...

Trying to do simple math when running full out in the last half-mile of a 5k is a bit like doing advanced trigonometry to figure out the angle of attack when a tiger is leaping at your throat. I gave up and just hoped they had a clock at the finish.

Here I am about 50 feet from the finish line. I swear I felt OK, but good god, I look unbelievably stiff and upright and tight.

I don't know what to tell you. Obviously, I wasn't as relaxed as I would have liked to have been.

Still, I rolled across the finish line and the race clock said 22:22. A nice amount off my previous Master's PR of 23:11. Strangely enough, the posted results here show that I ran a 22:03. Since my watch was worthless, I'm not sure which to believe, but I'm sticking with the 22:22 that was on the clock unless I hear better.

So that's one more PR down. Next try for a PR is later this month in Seattle at the Seafair Torchlight 8k.

Wish me luck...and a watch that can find the satellites!

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