When I first signed up for this race, I did so knowing that the shirts I've seen from past Beltline races were pretty cool.
When I ran the 5K today, I was hoping that I would have a shot at breaking 23:01 to qualify for Group A of the Peachtree 10K.
But what was in between was a bunch of question marks, as I really haven't run any race in recent memory in the speed needed to qualify for Group A.
The race course starts along an unimproved dirt and grassy section of the Beltline trail. Just as in the Eastside 10K last December, I was expecting the start to be congested -- and it was. I eased into the start of the race along uneven and sometimes rocky terrain. When the first mile ended and I saw I ran it in 8:20, I knew that I would have to shelve hopes of a Group A finish.
So I shifted into Plan B, which was to have miles at a pace under 7:43/mile, which is what is needed to qualify for Group A in a 10K (you have to run an average of 7:24/mile to qualify for Group A in a 5K race).
First I settled in behind a runner who seemed to have a good pace. But I soon passed him along the rolling hills of the race.
Although I had never run the race before, I knew from looking at the course map that the race would continue along neighborhood streets and then return to a paved portion of the Beltline for the finish.
I settled in behind another runner who seemed to be doing pretty well. Two other runners joined us near the Mile 3 mark, but this dude started to kick and although I was able to keep up behind him (my Garmin says at a 6:06 pace!) he easily finished two seconds ahead of me. But we dropped the other two runners at the finish.
Although I missed Group B by 16 seconds, I feel pretty good about the race. I had good strength on the rolling hills and had a little bit of speed at the end. One of my miles was 7:40 so I feel like I'm in a decent spot when it comes time to run a flat 5K. It was a nice way to get my feet back into a racing season and I still have my Group B parachute from running the Eastside 10K in 50:07 last December.
And I got another cool technical T-shirt for my collection!
Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (83 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Big Peach 5-miler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+/29A.