I have had this race on my radar for a while after a tip from a friend. I knew I might not come home with anything but a good workout, but the 5k/ 8k option seemed to fit my schedule well for a taper race and dress rehearsal. Perfect!
When I arrived at the course, I was an hour early. I asked to see the race list. There were a ton of people signed up for the 5k, (which was listed as a "run/walk"), and a handful of people listed for the 8k, (listed as for "runners"). I signed up for the 5k knowing that I would certainly not PR and that I could get in a good workout..maybe finish near the top. With 5k, the pain would be over quicker... and I had never done an 8k.
With a long time to warm up for 5k, I started to the parking lot where a young teenage girl was doing all sorts of bounding, athletic-looking warm-up drills. She was also getting tips from some coach-y looking fellows.
Red flags went up.
After passing her once or twice I got up the courage to ask which distance she was doing, and her time goal. As I suspected, 5k, and some number that started with a 17.
I promptly took my Brooks-attired self to the registration table and switched to the 8k.
My warm up included 2 miles of easy running and some jumping, karaoke legs, sideways shuffling with arms swinging. I did whatever I could do to mimic Miss Teenage Fastrunner. Maybe I should have done some strides, but I doubt it would have helped much today.
The RaceThe 8k racers lined up and I looked around. Where were the faster runners? The cow bell rang and we took off. I mean I took off. Way too fast. About 400 M later, a guy sped right past me, obviously first male out of all 20 or so people. He held his lead and I tried to slow down since it was a good 5k pace still.
Then I had a funny thought: Why not keep going this pace if it feels good? This is not the thought you should have when you are not training for 8k races, I guess. The adrenaline wore off a bit and reality sunk in. Then it was all I could do to maintain something in the six-thirties.
I had two miles, mile 3 and 4, that were in the 6:20's. The rest were all in the 6:30s or 40s. The course is pretty and runs through part of the Prefontaine trail. I ran alone for most of the first half of the race and was happy to see course marshals and white chalk arrows at all the intersections.
After mile 3, I was screaming past 5k runners and walkers who started later. I was impressed with the turnout to support Bridgeway House which serves the needs of children with autism and related disabilities, while educating and supporting their families.
As I got near the finish line I could hear my dad shouting above EVERYONE else. He is such a great supporter! My husband and two of my sons were at the finish too. I gave it my best and rounded the corner, trying to make it before the clock hit 33 minutes. My watch beeped for mile 5 (certified course, so just over 8k). I didn't quite do it (33:02/6:39 pace). But I knew I was the first woman!
|A beautiful day for racing in Eugene|
Post race & thoughtsI was surprised that my legs didn't seem to have anything faster than those paces, but I shouldn't be. It just reminds me just how important interval-paced training is for shorter races.
As part of my marathon training schedule(s) (A and B), I haven't done interval paced (5k race pace) training since February 1st; it's now April 15th. I have a funny feeling that right now my 5k pace and 8k pace are the same. I could only laugh at my "8k pace" since I was running faster 8ks in 10k races last fall. I can't wait until after Eugene to start training for 5-10k races!
|Me, my hubby and Matthew|
It turns out that the women's 5k winner, 14 year old Gracie, won in 18:16. Not her best day, but she was in good spirits. She has a track race coming up that she's excited for.
The organizers did a fantastic job and were quick to hand out medals to age group winners at the promised time.
The top finishers in both events received a cash prize. I promptly filled the car up with gas and decided that with the rest I will either fix my hair-color botch job, or invest in self-tanner. There is a saying that goes, "Oregonians don't tan, they rust." (I hope the saying holds true on April 29th!)
Overall, it was a good time for a good cause. I'll be looking for this race again next year.
One more note: Super congratulations to all of you who survived Boston yesterday! What miserable running conditions. My hat's off to every single one of you crazy warriors.