Race Report: Cupid’s Chase 5K (A.K.A. The Unclaimable PR)

On Saturday morning, Community Options Inc.  hosted a Cupid’s Chase 5K.  It took place in 25 cities across the U.S. simultaneously.  One of those cities just happens to be about half an hour from here.  I participated last year and really enjoyed myself, so I decided to go back this year.

Gun time was to be at 10:00 am.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, but HOLY CRAP it was COLD!  The temperature at gun time was 23 with a “feels-like” of 8.  Now, the cold I can take like a champ, but when you add in the wind… well, that’s just a whole different story altogether.  And IT. WAS. WINDY.  Sustained winds 20-25 MPH with gusts even stronger.  When I woke up Saturday morning and saw just how windy it was, I seriously just didn’t even want to go.  If I hadn’t already dropped $35 on preregistration, I wouldn’t have.  That’s how much I hate wind.

But I sucked it up, dressed in my best cold gear, and headed out in plenty of time to pick up my packet before the race started.  One thing they did differently with the T-shirts this year was pretty cute.  When you preregistered, you could specify whether you wanted your shirt to say “Available” or “Unavailable.”  Since this was a Cupid’s Chase, I thought that was a really cute idea!

So, anyway, fastforwarding through a portapotty stop, small talk with other runners, the dude standing in front of me with nose hair that you could braid, and lots of standing around shivering, it was 10:00 and time to run.  I was SO ready to get moving!  So when they yelled GO, I went.  It felt so good to get moving and get some blood flowing!  I was clicking right along at what is ordinarily a fast pace for me, but it felt very comfortable so I went with it.  Actually, it felt a little TOO comfortable to be a race.  The wind was at my back for the majority of the first mile, and looking back now, I wish I had taken better advantage of that.

Mile 1 – 8:33

Most of the second mile was spent winding around roads in residential areas, and the wind didn’t seem to have much effect on us there.  It was mostly blocked by houses and trees.  What did become abundantly clear to me during this mile, though, is that I’ve slacked off on running hills lately.  This part of the course was the same as last year, but I just don’t remember the hills being as tough on me then as they were this year.   (I haven’t made the effort to do any hill training because my “A” race next month is flat.)

Mile 2 – 8:57

And then we headed back in the direction we came from.  So you remember that first mile when the wind was at our backs, right?  Well, it didn’t magically change directions.  We were now running dead into it.  Let me just tell you, it wiped me out.  I tried.  I tried SO hard to tough it out.  But at one point when I was giving it everything I had to give and looked down to see nearly a 10 minute pace, I got so disgusted that I walked.  Probably only for about 15-20 seconds, but I did.  I freaking walked.  I caught my breath while muttering obscenities under my breath and started running again.  I told myself to just hang in there and then kick it the last quarter mile.

Only I didn’t get that chance.  With 2.9 showing on my watch, I kicked it.  I SAW the finish line right up ahead and to the right, but I assumed we would run past and back to finish out the mileage.

NOPE.

They were directing runners to the finish right there.  I crossed with my watch reading 2.95.  It all happened so fast that I didn’t really know what to think.  I remember thinking that maybe my watch was off, but when I saw that the clock matched my watch, I knew it wasn’t.  I knew I didn’t just run a 5K in 26:31.  Or did I?  No, other runners with GPS watches confirmed that the course was short.  Everyone’s read 2.95-2.97.

Mile 2.95 – 9:31  (See, I told you.  I don’t do wind well AT ALL.)

I was so bummed.  I felt robbed!  I didn’t get my chance to sprint to the finish.  Not that it really would have mattered anyway.  It would have just made for a lower PR that I couldn’t claim.  I can’t rightfully say that my 5K PR is 26:31 because I still should have been running for another minute or so.  I KNOW it would have been a PR anyway (current PR 27:51), but what would it have been?  27:30?  35?  40?  I don’t know, and I don’t like that.

But oh well.  It is what it is.  As it stands now, I “officially” ran a 5K in 26:31, an 8:33 pace.  It just makes me want to work on speed all that much more.  I hate that my PR wasn’t earned.  I WILL earn that time though.  I will get a 26:30 5K now if it freaking kills me.

But you know what WAS earned?

Gotta love small races!  I took first place in the 30-34 age group!  (Please mind your manners and don’t ask how many people were in that division.  *coughcoughcoughsixcoughcoughcough*)

So the day turned out not to be a TOTAL loss.  🙂

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Race Report: Sounds of Spring 5K

The Sounds of Spring 5K was a small race put on locally for the sole pupose of helping out one family.  Their son (who looked to be around 7 or 8 but I’m no expert on kids) is hearing impaired.  Their insurance company has denied their claims for a hearing aid, and they couldn’t afford to pay for it on their own.  Enter the running community.  All proceeds from this race went directly to that family so that their son would be able to hear the Sounds of Spring.  (It was announced at the awards ceremony that the family would be receiving a check for a little over $2,800, which should cover the entire cost of the hearing device.)

I had but one goal for today:  break 28 minutes.

The race started at 8:00, and I got there around 7:30.  I left the house a little early because I wasn’t exactly sure where the church that was hosting the race was located, and I wanted to be sure to allow myself time to find it, check in, take my race t-shirt back to the truck, stretch, etc.  While I was doing all that, I found my friend, B, that I had talked into registering for this race!  Yay!  So we chit-chatted and she introduced me to A, another friend of hers that was there.  After just a few minutes they announced that it was time to start making our way to the start line, which was probably a quarter-mile or so up the road at the top of a huge hill.  Seriously.  HUGE.  Like we were getting winded walking up it huge.  So when everyone made it to the start line, the race director yelled GO, and off we went.

I FLEW down that hill.  It was so steep that I seriously couldn’t keep from it!  But little did I know that when it leveled off that was IT in terms of elevation.  The rest of the course was pancake flat.  I slowed down tremendously after that initial decline and was running where I thought I needed to be to get my sub-28.  It wasn’t until my Garmin chimed mile 1 that I realized I hadn’t slowed down enough.

Mile 1 – 8:19.  A very unsustainable pace for me.  Woops.

But I tried to look at it from the “banked time” perspective.  I honestly didn’t feel like I was going that fast.  But it would catch up with me later.

Oh, and B?  Yeah, this was her first 5K ever and she had already passed me.  (Note to self:  Stop recruiting people unless you know they are slower than you.)

I am always so surprised at how much harder it feels for me to run on totally flat terrain.  It defies all logic, but I swear it’s true.

Mile 2 – 9:01.  Perfect.  Now just hang on to that.

And I do hang on to it for approximately 10 more seconds, and then I feel the too-fast-too-soon catching up to me.  I glanced down at my watch somewhere around 2.25 and see my pace has slowed even more to around 9:20.  Not great, but it’s enough to still get me a sub-28.  And then we rounded the final curve that put us straight into the wind.

F-word.

I hate wind.  I mean I really, really, really hate wind.  But I just hunkered down and plugged along as best I could.

Mile 3 – 9:34.  Positive splits, anyone?

When I finally saw the finish line, I knew I had met my time goal, but I kicked it in (what little bit of a kick I had left in me) anyway just to make sure no one passed me right at the finish.  (They didn’t.)

Official time – 27:51.

YAY!  Goal achieved!

After I crossed the finish line, I met back up with B (She KILLED her first 5K with a time of 25:47) and we just stood around chatting with folks and stretching until everyone finished the course, then we went inside for the awards ceremony.

I’ll spare you all the details up until the 30-34 female age group.  Some fast chick got first place, and B got second!  BIG YAY FOR B!  (Addendum to note to self:  If you continue to recruit people who might be faster than you, make sure they are not in your age group.)

And guess who got 3rd.

Go ahead.  Guess.

YUP!  It was me!  😀

Try not to be too jealous of my awesome prize.

I finally got to hear my name called at an award’s ceremony!  (I technically had a podium finish in my last 5K, but it wasn’t recognized, so it didn’t really count.)

While I’m overall happy that I met my only goal, I’m kind of disappointed that I didn’t exceed it by more.  If I hadn’t started out so fast, I feel like I could have held on better in the end.  Ah well.  Rookie mistakes.  I’ll do better next time!

Me, B & A after the race.  I am obviously incapable of NOT looking like a total two-bagger in photo these days.

Race Report – Cupid’s Chase 5K

‘Twas a beautiful February day!  A great day for a 5K.

This was Murray’s first year to host the nationwide event.  I always expect a fair amount of disorganization with an inaugural event, but that proved not to be the case with this race.

I got to the park yesterday morning with just enough time to pick up my race packet, get my bib on, stretch a little bit, and walk to the starting area.  I was glad for the good timing to minimize the waiting-around-in-the-cold time.  It was a pretty nippy 31 degrees with a cold wind.

The race was supposed to start at 9:00.  At 9:00 they called the runners to the start line, and then we stood there for 6 minutes through the “We’d like to thank…” speech.  At 9:06, they blew the air horn (a step up from the verbal “GO!” from my last race!) and we went!

It didn’t take me long to realize I had forgotten to do something.  I forgot to change the pace alerts on my Garmin.  I had it set to alert me at anything slower than an 11 min/mile or anything faster than a 9 min/mile.  Dangit.  I had to listen to 3.15 miles of Garmin telling me to slow down.  Ugh.  I’m sure my fellows racers loved me too.  But I wasn’t about to stop and fix it.

The first 0.75 miles or so were all out in the open, and the sun had fully melted all of the ice and snow that we’ve gotten over the past week.  Then we hit the tree-lined residential areas, and there were some pretty tricky spots to maneuver there.  I lost a few seconds side-stepping around and tip-toeing across some lingering ice patches.  It made it impossible to run the tangents in some places, leading to an extra 0.05 mile over the course.

Mile 1 – 8:42

I wasn’t sure what to expect with regard to the terrain of the course, but there were no real surprises.  Just some minor hills.  Mile 2 was the most difficult and felt like my slowest (which turned out not to be true).  The majority of it was a looooooong, gradual uphill.  There was one short, steep part but then it leveled off to a lower more manageable grade.  It was a good thing there were so many volunteers pointing us in the right directions.  We were turning here and there and I had no idea where we were anymore.  I was beginning to think they were taking us all snipe hunting.

Mile 2 – 8:59

We finally turned a corner and I saw familiar scenery.  The last part of the race was a retrace of the first part leading back into the park.  I was still feeling pretty strong, and it was really looking like I was going to hit my goal of 28:00. 

Mile 3 – 9:16  (I’m surprised by this.  I guess I was losing more steam than I thought.  I really felt like I picked it up some over mile 2.)

I kept pushing and in the last stretch I noticed that a girl that I had passed earlier in the race was trying to chick me!  Aw, hell naw!!!   It was a two-man race to the finish. I had no idea who crossed first, but I heard the guy at the finish line yell “Purple, blue!” to the girl taking the tags off our bibs. I was wearing the purple shirt, and she was wearing blue. I got her!  HA!  Garmin showed my fastest time during that last 0.15 to be 5:45.  Yeah.  I don’t run that fast.

Stupid me, I didn’t even look at the clock as I was crossing the line, and I forgot to stop my Garmin (AGAIN!) until after I’d gotten water and decided that my lungs were NOT going to come flying out of my nose.  I asked the girl that crossed with me if she noticed the time, and she said the last number she saw was 27:59.88.  I was thrilled that I got my 28:00.  I actually would have been happy with anything faster than my PR of 28:38 from last month, but I had my heart set on 28:00.
 
I was at the race by myself, and so was the girl that I finished neck-and-neck with, and we ended up hanging out and chatting.  After the last 5K finisher came in, they were holding a one-mile fun run, and we decided to bandit that too just to warm ourselves back up.  It was sunny and 40ish by that point, but it still felt chilly from being all sweaty with the wind blowing.
 
Then it was time for the awards ceremony.  I didn’t know if I had come anywhere near placing or not, but I was hoping.  Turns out they didn’t go three deep in the AG awards.  Instead they awarded overall female, overall male, and the top spot in each age group, and that was it.  The overall female winner also took first place in my age group.  I didn’t think most races did that?  I thought if you won overall, you didn’t get the AG award?
 
This has turned out to be a pretty key detail.  Why?  Because they posted the official results online, and I was SECOND IN MY AGE GROUP!  If the first-place girl had been taken out of the running since she was the overall female winner, that would have been ME taking that medal home!  Just my luck!  Oh, and the official results show a finish time for me of 28:00.95.  DOH!  That’s okay.  I’ll take a 28:01.  Still a 37-second PR.  I’ll get it next month!
 
Photo swiped from the Cupid’s Chase facebook page:

That’s me in the center, in the purple and black with bib #24.
Distance – 3.15
Time – 28:00.95
Pace – 8:54  (9:02 if you calculate using a distance of 5 kilometers instead of 3.15 miles)
AG placement – 2/12
Gender placement – 10/60
Overall placement 21/86