Remember how I said I wasn't going to try to PR this fall, that I was going to run for fun and not focus on the clock? Well, I ran for fun and I PR'd anyway! Sort of.
Today was my first race (finally!) in my Oiselle Team Volée Race Kit! OTVRK! The Run Scared 5k was the perfect mix of down-homey and pro. I arrived at Seward Park after an 8-minute jog from my house. That's a first; I was crazy excited to be able to get to a race using my feet instead of my car. I got there way too early (I'm a neurotic early bird, haha get it, bird? Keep up.) and felt stupid standing around by myself. Most of the runners were in costume, but I dressed up as a sponsored runner in my Oiselle race kit.
After walking around the park for 45 minutes or so, bonking my head (hard) on the roof of a pavilion, and peeing 46 times, it was time to warm up. A mile and another pit-stop later, it was time to line up. Actually everyone else was already lined up; for once I was not early. Chronically early runner, late to line up! Everybody MOOOOOVE!
I really loved this race because the timing was pro. They had TWO timing mats, one at the start and another at the finish! Race directors, listen up. This is how you do it. Is it just on the East Coast that they just do finish-line-only mats? That's annoying. This race also had a civilized, well thought out line-up with lots of pace signs and clear places for walkers, dogs, and strollers to line up. (To the people with the black labs who lined up right near me in the 8:00-9:00 pace area and then almost tripped me with their leashes in the first 20 yards of the race, you suck. You are not welcome back.)
Countdown, air horn, and we were off. The course is great - there is one decent-sized hill (300' or so) in the first mile, but the rest of the course is downhill or flat. (Most of my previous 5k attempts were run on an annoying course in annoying Massachusetts with an annoying hill in the 2nd mile that just messed with my head.) I focused on having fun, not dying, and avoiding the walkers who flooded the course around mile 1.5 and didn't understand that they should stay to the right. Whatever, the hill was behind me! I got to walk to the race! I was in a good mood for once.
Before the race, I kept going back and forth about whether I wanted to try to stick to a certain pace, or whether I should avoid the Garmin. I sort of did both. I basically tried to stay around 8:00-8:20 on the flat parts of the course, and I avoided the Garmin while running uphill. This seemed to work for me; I didn't get pissed off once. You know what I mean, when you look down and Garmin says 10:30 (or whatever your "I suck" pace is) and you just deflate like a front yard Santa on 12/26.
I finished in 25:17, which is one second (!) faster than the fastest 5k race I've ever run, but I didn't initially think it was a PR because, okay this is a long story. Last year I ran the evil 2nd-mile-hill 5k in 25:18. Then in March of this year, I ran this little rinky dink 5k where they sent us the wrong way on the course and we ended up running 3.5 miles. This was maddening because I knew I'd run a fast race (for me, duh) but I didn't have an actual 5k time to show for it. So I just took the 5k PR that my Garmin said I'd run as part of the race, and called that my PR. I asked twitter today if they thought that was a PR or if my official race today was a PR, and no one responded because they were too busy yelling WHACK JOB at their smartphones and unfollowing me. Well then Sean got home and convinced me that since this was the fastest I'd ever officially run a 5k (since college anyway), that it was a PR. So I kinda sorta PR'd by one second.
After the race, I learned that I'd placed 3rd in my age group, so I waited around for the awards ceremony just in case. The last (and only other) time I got an AG award, I missed the awards ceremony and didn't get my coupon for plastic surgery discounts (or something similarly useless; I'm determined to age gracefully, whatever), so this time I was determined not to miss out. Sadly, they only did 1st place awards for age groupers (we are not old fish by the way) so I just stood in the cold rain to watch other people get their awards, which was fun too.
Next month I'm running the Mustache Dache. It's even flatter and I am determined to run even faster, unless my legs fall off before then. But I will focus on having fun too, which I also did today. I keep saying I want to PR in the 5k but then I also want to run a marathon and a road mile and a half marathon and what do you know, I don't really improve too much at any distance because I am too busy running all of them. So for the rest of 2013, 5k's only!
Did anyone else race today? How was it? Are you training for something? Tell me about it! Have you ever run a race where they messed up the timing or the course? Does it count for anything?