First race in a year after getting sidelined by my nasty hip/groin injury, so expectations were tempered. Happy to be at a starting line finally, but I really wanted to beat my previous best on this course of 32:00 from 2 years ago. Tough to tell what shape I'm in, but I figured it'd be close and if race gear decided to work, I'd get there.
Nice and rainy this morning. Definitely warmer than previous years (in the mid 60s) but the rain was a bummer. Oh well. Did a 0.75 mi easy warmup, 0.5 mi at tempo effort, then 0.25 mi easy. Tempo effort pace was around 7/min miles. Ugh. In consolation, I recalled the 15K I'd run where my warmup tempo felt way too hard and was slow, but I busted a great race. In some light rain then too, if I recall. Trying to keep myself positive.
A late bathroom break and I was relegated about 8 rows back. One row for each second it'd take me to cross the mat, as it turned out. A combined 5K/8K start, so I felt okay in my positioning before we started, but wound up bobbing and weaving the first mile.
Since I haven't yet replaced the dead battery in my HRM and I wasn't sure what pace to shoot for, I just ran. First mile short according to Garmin, and when I looked I was running around a 7:02 mile. Ugh. Okay, new strategy....ignore the watch and run fast enough to make it hurt.
2nd mile also way short according to garmin, in the 6:50-ish range. Boy, it really felt faster, and was really starting to feel harder. I'm still managing to reel some 8K'ers in at this point, and am closing in on what I hope is the only 8K chick ahead of me.
3rd mile hurt worse, now I'm completely ignoring the garmin splits because they're way off from the course, but the pace is around 6:36/mi at the beep. Better. Maybe I can still beat my worst time on the course :).
4th mile.....not worrying about pace anymore.....remembering what it's like to hurt in these races again. Boy, I need to work on my misery tolerance. I am managing a decent job of accelerating a smidgen every time my brain asks to back off just a tad.
Last mile.....the twisty, curvy, hard-to-figure-out-which-way-to-turn, narrow (and somewhat crowded with slower 5K runners), slippery, rolling part of the course. Aside from breathing, trying not to crash into anyone while passing, staying upright on any number of the 180 degree switchbacks, not much to recall. When I vaguely recall I'm getting near the finish, I pour the last bit of effort on that I've got left. Not sure I really accelerated any.
The finish comes in sight. Of course, a nice stretch of wet, muddy grass is now between me and the finish, so real acceleration is not happening. Traction also isn't happening. But wait.....the clock reads 31:xx. Evidently the garmin differences have managed to delude me into thinking I'm not near my goal pace and yet here I am. Same course, same distance as last time. Almost mow down a cheer-leader who decides cheering for me by twirling and moving in front of the finishing chute might be a good idea. I was either finishing alone or dragging her with me, but I sure wasn't budging from my line. Fortunately, she didn't quite drift enough to cause a wreck.....I might've felt badly after restoring O2 to my brain, which didn't occur for several minutes.
So, 31:54 on the clock, 31:46 on the chip, and finally, 3rd in my AG at this race (previous 2 times I've been 4th), and a PR at the distance. Hard to not be happy with that. Not in the race shape I was in last October, but maybe, just maybe, I can see it from here...
Afterwards, Dianna & I enjoyed one of the perks of the race....a free tram tour of the free-roaming area (well, mine was free, so I guess it was an overall 50% discount for the both of us). The day actually brightened up a bit, clouds moved off, and I relaxed while seeing some nice nature scenes. Now, back to see what I've missed in the college football and Seattle Sounders FC games.