Saturday, after a day of watching the live video stream of the Ironman World Championships in Kona (how about the incredible come-from-behind win by superstar Chrissie Wellington?! Amazing, as always) I headed into town to race a little local 5K with a few friends. It was an odd evening race with a 5pm start time, and if I may be permitted a bit of foreshadowing, that is not an ideal situation for someone like me who prefers to race in the cool of morning with a mostly empty stomach.
Big Dog added photos on facebook, which I completely stole for this post. Thanks, Big Dog!
At any rate, it was a so-called “skirt-chaser” 5K, in which the women got a three-minute head start on the men, and we were all competing for the same age-group awards (normally women race against women in their age group; men against men, and so on). Brunbec, Jenniac, and I all came dressed for success in running skirts and bright colors. We definitely took the theme as an excuse to have a little fun with our outfits. Somewhere there exists a pre-race picture of the three of us together, which I’m hoping the running store will put online sometime, and if they do I’ll add it here.
We also ran into our friends L. and A. at the start — they are training for a marathon together and had their 20-mile long run the next morning, but still came out to race like a couple of badasses.
The race started out well, going downhill all the way to about the halfway point, and I hit mile one in just over 8 minutes and mile two just a touch slower than that. The last grueling mile, however, nearly effing killed me. It was all steep uphill and it was so hot I kept dumping water over my head and praying not to puke. I took quite a few short walking breaks just to get my stomach to stop cramping. Mile three was barely under 10 minutes. Uh, OOPS.
I was following just behind another woman for the last half mile, and as I saw I was going to finish just steps behind her, I momentarily considered sprinting to pass her, but I was already so far off what I’d consider a fast time for myself that I didn’t even bother. I finished in 28:05 (ish – Garmin time) and managed to hold onto the contents of my stomach, but not without extreme effort.
I waited at the finish for my friends, and everyone basically confirmed that the hills and the heat and a day’s worth of food in their stomachs was making them feel like death on that last mile, too. I would normally feel like a wimp to complain about such matters, but I think the course and the time of day were pretty universally painful, so I’m sticking to my story.
We hung around for some post-race food provided by a nearby deli. I cleverly fashioned a veggie sandwich out of spare parts since no vegetarian sandwiches were offered. OOPS. (Note to race organizers: lots of athletes are vegetarians or are health-conscious enough to appreciate a veggie option — It would likely be cheaper, too.)
While we ate we watched the awards ceremony. Because of the “skirt chaser” theme with the women’s head start, men’s and women’s awards were mixed, and the 30-39 age group had a woman take first, a man second, and another woman took third. The third place woman was the one who finished just steps ahead of me, beating me by literally one second. Had I sprinted to pass her (or had the men not been mixed into our AG awards), I’d’ve had third. In the official results, I am actually listed as 3rd in women’s 30-39. OOPS.
I didn’t expect to be able to PR during this race due to the heat and the evening start time, so I was fine with the way things worked out, but I can’t help feeling like this little 5K was full of what-ifs. What if it had been a morning race, or a different course, or I’d paced better, or I’d been more competitive in the end? What if it hadn’t been a “skirt chaser” theme?
Well, if it hadn’t been a “skirt chaser” theme, I would likely not have worn this ridiculously awesome outfit and all of my town would have missed a chance to appreciate the Quad Squad reporting for duty. So there is that.
Either way, I got to spend the evening with my friends and check out our town’s new running store and a generally good time was had by all.