Sunday, April 10, 2016

4/9/16 Tacoma Daffodil Parade 5K and Challenge

Late last year I realized that I was in striking distance of my 100th 5K race.  Not as significant as 100 marathons, but it is fun to celebrate the milestones.  I usually do not commit to a 5K until just before the race and I did not map out a path to #100.  But after the Hop for Hunger (#97) and last weeks Run Like a Fool (#98), I started looking.  Then Jody mentioned that she would be doing a long training run on Saturday with her running partner and I found myself free to find a race.  A quick search found not only this Tacoma race but the four race challenge event.  Sounds like a crazy fun way to celebrate #100, so I signed up for all four races.

The Daffodil Parade is actually 4 parades in 4 cities in one day.  Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting.  The floats and marchers travel from one town to the next from morning to late afternoon.  With the roads closed for the parade someone had the great idea of staging a 5K race before each parade.  Separate races you can sign up for just one race, or two or three, or with one entry you can register for all four races.  Results for each race plus a cumulative challenge total.  T-shirt for everyone and a medal for challenge finishers.

Tacoma race start at 8:45.  A little traffic coming to downtown as I have to wait for some parade floats to pass by.  Lots of police and road closures, but easy to get to my usual parking spot a few blocks away from Tollefson Plaza.  Plenty of time to walk to the plaza, get my shirt and number and back to the car.

Cloudy and about 50 degrees.  Short sleeve shirt, cap in case the sun come out.  A little warm up run.  Looking around I can tell that challenge runners like myself have a red dot on their bibs, single race runners do not.  I see a woman with a Dog Lake Marathon shirt, I will have to chat with her at some point.  Mike Henderson and a few other regulars are here for the first race only.  Mike asks if I am going to hold back, or blow it all in the first race.  That is the big question.  What is my goal?  How do I approach today?  When do I eat?  I guess that I would like to average a sub 25 minutes per race, but really I have no benchmark for something like this.  I could really stiffen up after the first race and the other ones could be very difficult.  We shall see.

Start - Nice sized race.  Chip timed and I start near the front.  Word on the street is that last year the course was a little short, but they have fixed that.  The course is not so simple, with a loop and then two different out and backs.  But it will be well monitored by police and volunteers.  Daffodil Princesses cheer as we head out.

Mile 1 - 7:21 - Standard 5K first mile.  Guess I am not holding back.  Over to Highway 705, don't think I have every run on here before.  Now back to Pacific and the parade route.

Mile 2 - 7:27 for mile 2  - Feeling good.  Following Dog Lake woman and her husband.  Short line of Daffodil Princesses reminds me of the Wellsley girls at Boston.  Lots of runners near me, gives me incentive to go fast and I gradually catch one woman.  She is in the challenge and I will go on to barely beat her in each race, coming from behind each time.

Mile 3 - 7:47 third mile - Can see the finish, but it looks far off.  We have a long course here.  Dog Lake woman is just ahead and I work hard but do not full out sprint.  When I realize that I will not beat 24 minutes I pull back just a little and cruise in to the finish.

Finish - 3.27 on the GPS.  Another runner has 3.25 on their watch.  Catch my breath, check in quickly with Mike and then off to the car to get out of town and get to Puyallup for the 11:15AM start time.

27th of 219
Race#384, 5K#99

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