Well, I thought I might, and I sure did — set a new 5K PR, that is!!! The Rotary Run 3.14 Pie Pi K / 5K was my very first race as a “runner” last year. Read my previous post for details. Long story, short: I cut over 15 minutes off of last year’s time and ran my fastest pace to date. New 5K PR and pace = 37:11 / 11:59* (more on that asterisk shortly).
This was the second year of this race’s existence, and the organizers allowed the field to double (results show a smidge over 2,000 participants this year; last year was just under 1,000). This was definitely noticeable on race morning. The race starts and finishes on the street in front of the local high school, and while there was plenty of space to move around pre-start last year, this Thanksgiving morning runners and walkers used up all of the street and had to overflow onto the lawn to wait for the starting gun. This is basically a Turkey Trot / mostly a fun run, so I don’t think anyone expected strict waves or rules, but it would have been nice if the organizers had pace markers to somewhat filter the crowds into the right areas (they did have them last year, but I think they also had a different race organization group).
So needless to say, the start of the race was CRAZY crowded: dogs, big walking families, moms and dads zigzagging with their very young running children, strollers, runners who were fast, runners who were slow. Oh, well — it was Thanksgiving, just smile and be thankful you can afford to race this year.
Unfortunately, there was some kind of clock misplacement because there were ZERO clocks on the course or at the start / finish line. IDK what happened, but I heard this through the grapevine. Usually I miss the starting line clock and keep my eyes out for the Mile 1 clock — no such luck. There was, however, a man at the 1 mile mark (I assume it was the 1 mile mark because there were also no mile markers!) who yelled out the time every few seconds. At mile 2, another runner who was really on his game yelled out to a woman on the sidelines for the time. Since there was no clock at the finish line, and my Nike+ app totally wigged out by starting approx 2 minutes after I set it to, and I promised myself I wouldn’t look at my wristwatch until post-finish line, I had no idea where I was time-wise when the finish line banner came into view. Usually, I watch the last clock and run faster to beat it from changing to the next minute. Didn’t have that extra external motivation this time.
The crowds thinned out well enough between 1 and 1.5 miles. I swear there were two water stations on the map at packet pickup, but on race day there was only one at the halfway point, and I had to wait a few seconds for a cup of water. There were only three volunteers at the left-side table, and they were trying their best to keep up. One water station is fine for a 5K, but I really wish I hadn’t had to stand there and wait. Blah.
At about 2.5 miles, there was a whipped cream shot table. They had one last year, too and the course was littered with tiny paper cups and whipped cream — treacherous! I skipped the shot again this year, and apparently so did most of the other runners. Whew.
The course looped through a beautiful, historic area of La Grange, and there were quite a few spectators. People watching for family and friends in the race, some families just sitting on their lawns and porches cheering us, and one sweet old lady sitting in a folding chair on her lawn all by herself clapping for everyone. She was the best. 🙂
Post-finish line there was bottled water and One coconut water –nice! Bad move, but I didn’t check out the recovery food since I was saving myself for our huge holiday lunch (downed a glass of chocolate milk as soon as I made it home). I think there were bagels and some fruit. Mostly everyone headed over to the pie tent to claim their Sara Lee pumpkin pies. Nice touch for a Turkey Day race, but same as last year, I left mine behind, and I believe it was donated to a shelter.
It really was too crowded in the finish area, so I didn’t hang around to visit with the live turkeys. :O
I still have been taking it easy from running since the half marathon in October, and my weekly mileage has been really low, so I didn’t think I would score such a sweet PR. McMillan told me I could do sub-37 minutes, but I was aiming for 38:anything. My final time was 37:11 (a “perfect” race time with all of my favorite numbers).
So back to that asterisk. Here’s where I’m conflicted about my pace. This is a USATF-certified race, and the official documentation measures the length of the course as a true Pi distance of 3.1416 miles — a stretch longer than a normal 5K. The official race results seem to calculate pace at the 3.1 distance. My official posted results show a 12:00mm pace.
Time = 37:11 Distance Pace _
Official Results 3.1 12:00.0
My calculation @ 5K 3.1 11:59.7
My calculation @ USATF 3.1416 11:50.1
I’m a numbers person so, yes, this is a big deal to me. Also, I broke into a new minute-per-mile range, and I want to be sure I really really did that! In fact, if I go with the USATF measurement, I actually ran the race at the pace McMillan predicted for me.
Speaking of numbers, this was a super 11 race. My bib was #11, my pace ended up in the 11s, and my final time was 37:11. What is the universe trying to tell me here? Probably just that it was meant to be a good race by showering me with this happy number (again, see previous post).
Overall, this was a great race, and I had a great time. As long as I’m not out of town next year, I’ll be going for a three-peat. I doubt I’ll knock another 15 minutes off my time, but I’ll be happy to shave even just a few minutes off.
I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving, enjoyed great food and great company. My holiday had its ups and downs but definitely ended as a big winner.
Final note: This was the formal end of my 2012 racing season, but I might might might run one last 5K next Saturday at Brookfield Zoo. Depends on how this week’s life events go (I am helping someone move into a new apartment and going to a mega concert on Thursday). We’ll see!
Ciao for now!