|It's been six years since I was in the same age group as guys in their 30s so I'll take third place in the M35-49 age group!|
Six weeks after running in my last 5K and right in the middle of a half marathon training cycle I put on my racing flats for the Atlanta Children's Center 5 to Thrive 5K at my training ground of Piedmont Park.
We learned about the race last year when a parent of our son's preschool classmate told us about it. She raises money for this race each year.
It seemed like a decent crowd for a community race -- I heard before the race that maybe 300 people had registered for it. I stood and waited while they had pre-race warmups -- I almost never do anything that I wouldn't normally do in other races.
And then the race was off. I remembered from last year's race that I started off way too fast and paid for it at the end, so I tried to slow myself down. Still there were a bunch of runners way ahead of me and I was still running at a 6:30/mile pace!
We went around the tennis courts and then back up around the Active Oval. There was a young guy, maybe 10 or 12 years old, who kept on zooming past me and kind of in front of me every time I would start to get ahead of him. It was maybe the first mile when I passed him.
I kept plugging along, entering the bowl near Park Tavern. At this point last year a guy passed me who later was the Masters winner. That didn't happen this year but later on, when we exited the bowl and took our last turn around Lake Clara Meer near Mile 2, a white guy in a yellow Ironman shirt passed me. There was really nothing I could do.
In addition, all race I'd been behind an African-American runner in a bright yellow shirt. He pretty much had me the whole race and there wasn't anything I could do about it. But right at Mile 2.41 (I looked at my watch at this point), when we were climbing the hill next to the tennis courts, he stopped for a second. I never got a chance to ask him later what happened.
I made my way to the top of the hill around the Active Oval and knew this would be a pretty fast finish. I felt my effort was good but it was nothing like the last race when I was able to run right behind a really fast runner (for a 6:45 mile!). The closest people ahead of me were at least 12 seconds ahead of me. I counted this as we neared and passed each orange cone on the way to the Mile 3 sign.
I was a little surprised when we finished and I looked up at the sign and it said 22:16! I didn't think I was running that slow (but now when I look at my Garmin data for some reason I really dropped off pace after exiting the bowl and running around Lake Clara Meer).
I finished at a steady effort (22:26 on my watch), not knowing until I saw the photo below that two guys were right behind me! (The last guy in the picture said as much to me after the race but I didn't have any idea how close it was!).
|Almost at the finish.|
So it was no surprise when they reeled off the names and first and second place went to someone else. I was relieved to have been named third place. My splits were 7:04/7:05/7:37 (with the last tenth at a 6:33/mile pace).
Even though 5Ks are no longer my focus this training cycle, I feel like I need to do a little more work on them, since I have three more races coming up before my half marathon. I am happy that my cadence was an average of 184 steps per minute, something that I would never have done in years past.
The post race stuff was excellent, with IceByrd frozen yogurt and KFC chicken tender sandwiches and even tiny cupcakes from a local baker. They had Easter baskets for children who registered for The Bunny Run.
Definitely made for a great start to the morning!
Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 57 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Doug Kessler 10K), shorts, cep compression socks, Saucony Type A6.