I ran my first race of the year: Unity College’s Spring 5K. I’ve run it in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. I skipped last year due to the trip Steven, Doreen, and I took to Italy. It’s the fastest course I run – in other words it is mostly down hill or flat, even though there is a cruel little up hill at the very end. USA Track & Field has an interesting web site that lets people map courses, and it shows an “elevation profile.” Someone entered this course here http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=113635. You may have to wait a few seconds for the elevation graph to load, but it is useful and interesting if you like to run.
Mom and Dad gave me $50 at Christmas, and I told them I would use the cash to pay for race entrance fees. Kind of like what Julie did for me a couple years ago. As I was signing up, Doreen had the nice idea to pay for Dad’s entry fee. Mom decided not to run, but Dad was going to run it. It was a nice idea, but I had the funny thought that it sort of cancels the Christmas present. Dad and Mom eventually arrive, and we get all our bib numbers, and thankfully for Mom no one got the number 13.
I ran a short 1/2 to 3/4 mile warm up, and then hopped in line in the second row or so. Dad went to the back of the pack. Right in front of me, in the very first row, were two youngish guys with baby carriages. They looked fast, but I was concerned that they were directly in front of me so I moved over so they were to my left. I overheard another runner jokingly asking them (with a smile:) “you guys are fast right? with those carriages (ha ha).” Now, if people didn’t know the good natured attitude of runners you may think that, reading behind the lines, the runner was thinking: “what the BLEEP are you two doing in the front row with those BLEEPING carriages!” I don’t think so, I think it was good natured ribbing, with perhaps just a little honesty in it.
One of the two guys, also being the kind, considerate type most runners are assured everyone – “no problem, we won’t get in anyone’s way.” I don’t think they were saying – “Mind your own business – we are going to blow you losers away!” They were truthful for me anyway, they were in front of me the whole race, and did not get in my way.
The race director gave his traditional start of the Unity Spring 5K race speech: “The course is all down hill, every runner will get a PR, and every runner is good looking! Well, at least two of the three are true!” It was funny the first time I heard it, and I still enjoyed it this time (the fifth time I have been in the race.)
We were off, and I was thinking of the pace I needed to go to get my ultimate goal of 19:59 or less. I would have to run each mile in 6:27 or better. I was close to the front and didn’t have a problem avoiding any slow runners. I don’t remember anyone zipping by me either so I don’t think I bothered anyone. I quickly got behind a guy wearing a Pat’s Pizza logo on the back of his t-shirt. I stuck with him and ran pretty hard down the hill that covered the first half mile or so of the race. After the hill there is a slight incline as we ran into the small down town Unity. Pat’s Pizza and I arrived at mile number one in 6:22. Very good, I thought.
Mile two started and I just focused on the pizza on the back of the shirt (kind of like what Homer Simpson would do if he ran a 5K). I could also see the baby carriage guys, but they were pretty far ahead. Also in front was what I thought was the first place female runner. I could not see anyone I thought was my age. The carriage guys looked to be 30 or less. Pat’s Pizza guy looked to be 50 or more. Maybe I had a chance to win the 40 year old age group?
Towards the end of mile two, Pat’s Pizza and I caught the number one female.. At the same time, another lady came up beside us. Pat’s Pizza, myself, and the new lady all passed the other lady at this point. That was kind of neat, running with the eventual female winner as she actually passed the eventual number two female. There must be some sort of runner’s code between ladies, because as the passed each other they had a “looking good, ” “looking strong,” exchange. They didn’t say anything to the guy runners though.
Mile two arrived, and looking at my watch I saw 13:07. I couldn’t quite make out the math, but thought I should be just under 13 minutes at mile two in order to be on pace for sub 20 minutes. I didn’t think I slowed down, but aparently I did. Mile two was covered in 6:45. Bummer. I wonder if mile one’s marker was short, and mile two was long? Average pace up to mile two was 6:34 – too slow for sub 20 (6:26).
At the mile two point I was running side by side with Pat’s Pizza. I moved in front after the mile two mark. I saw the two baby carriage guys, and made my only effort to catch up with them. After a minute or so though, I didn’t think it was going to happen so I decided to just try to run at a good pace, but not worry about catching anyone. The last quarter mile is uphill. I ran very hard and finished strong. My total time was 20:24. The last 1.1 miles were covered in 7:17 – that averages to a 6:37 mile pace. I came in three seconds faster than Pat’s Pizza (a 50 year old, so he was close to my age group – boy I’m getting old.) There was a 48 year old who beat me by 17 seconds, so I didn’t win my age group. Here are the results: http://www.coolrunning.com/results/07/me/Apr21_UnityC_set1.shtml. Funny – they have my age at 47!
The 20:24 pace calculates to be a 6:35 pace. That was the pace I had after mile two, so I think it was a nicely run race.
Well, that’s the report. My next race is May 13, Portland’s Seadog’s Mother’s Day 5K: http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=17400. I think it’s elevation profile shows it is a little tougher than the one I did Saturday, but is still fast. Maybe I’ll be sub 20 in that race?