8th annual event, but my first time here. I had not planned to race today but Jody suggested it and who am I to decline a "race date"? She is building up her speed and a 5K today works well for her. I had that brutal run at Carkeek Park last week. I took it very easy as a recovery week and still felt beat up and tired on Thursday. Rested yesterday and I will just hope for a good run today. No time expectations. I have not raced a 5K since December (22:37) and when I get a look at this course I know that it will be tough.
This race has a lot of positives and I am surprised that more runners are not here. Start and finish at the historic Stadium Bowl. Cheap entry fee, with T-shirt and it is a fundraiser, with all proceeds going to autism programs. I have run past this High School stadium during a race, but I have never stopped here. This view is from the parking garage. Free parking, plenty of restrooms, chip timing, lots of volunteers, very well organized. But getting up and down those steps...wow.
Jody and I get our numbers and T-shirts and walk back up to the car. We head out for some warm up miles, but get distracted by Bob Martin and Bullseye. Great to see him here. We have no idea where this course goes, but we learn that it will be hilly. It will start up the hill a ways and then finish on the track so we will get a net downhill. I warm up for about a mile and do not feel all that good. Then Jody wants the car key to take her jacket back. I offer to run it back for her. At the car I remember that I do have my racing shoes in the trunk, ones that I use for less than a half marathon, Brooks Launch. I was not sure if I would wear them today, but here I am back at the car so I put them on. I wonder how much is mental, but as soon as I am jogging back I just feel so much faster. I put on some strides and am ready to race. It really does feel different and I wish that I could wear them for marathons, but my arches do not like that.
I run over to near the start with my camera, to get one photo of the course, and the hill. Runners are just starting to gather there. Back to the car to drop off the camera and then get to the start line.
Start - Nice to see few of the usuals. Bob, Marci, Judy, Barb and Erik. Erik has been beating me now for 15 years! He has run this before so I plan to stay behind him at the start and see how it goes. Nice wide street with room to run and we start off on time. I follow Erik up hill and downhill along nice residential streets. Some big houses with amazing views.
Mile 0.74 - A nice downhill and I happen to look at my watch to see my mileage and that my pace is 6:54/mile. Faster than I should be going. Up and down but nothing too steep. Around the lolipop part and I pass Erik on the uphill, wondering if I am being stupid. Keep watching for potholes, there are lots of places where i could trip.
Mile 2 - Still feeling pretty good. Legs are alright today. Fairly flat on the out and back bit. A mile marker says two miles, but my watch only reads 1.87. It is mismarked. When I finish my GPS will read 3.12. Now a very steep downhill where I have to put on the brakes, then a wonderful long gradual downhill section. This is where I should be slowing and tiring, but the gentle downhill is so nice I am actually getting faster. Too far down though, now we turn and head back uphill, but not so steeply. Not passing anyone, but also not being passed. Longing to see that drop down to the stadium and finally there it is. Steeply down and onto the track. Always fun to sprint it out and finish on the track.
Finish - 22:31 (7:15 per mile pace) and really happy with that. Net downhill must have helped some. I cheer on the other finishers and soon Jody is in. With chip timing we get results quickly. Jody gets third in her age group (two gel packs) and I get second in my age group (socks)
19th of 113 who finished under 1 hour