Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bedford Rotary 5k

(Results) I opted to do the 5k this year rather than the 12k, because I didn't have a great experience last year (I ran the 12k while sick) and wasn't too excited about doing it. So I simply watched the 12k and cheered for Alan and his teammates and Caitlin, and hydrated while hoping that it wouldn't get too hot by 11 am.

I warmed up on the course with the map in hand, but didn't get much of a feel for the course because the starting line was kind of far from the parking lot where I started and the race was a lollipop. So it goes. I was distressed to see on the starting line a really fast-looking woman. She appeared to be a master's runner with no body fat, clearly defined muscles and perhaps capable of running a 17-minute 5k. Well, there went my chances for this race! I loitered around near the starting line and some guy told me he recognized me and asked if I did the Newburyport track races. That seemed weird because I only did one, in fall 2008, in which I ran 5:58 for a mile (all out). Whatever. He introduced himself and asked what I wanted to run, and I said 18:30.

I lined up on the starting line and there were multiple photographers taking pictures. I used to feel bad about lining up on the starting line, because many of the men would likely beat me. But I have learned that it's okay to line up on the starting line if you're going to (try to) win. In this case I ended up 9th overall, so it was justified.

The gun went off and a guy (Dennis) running next to me said, "I heard you say you want to run 18:30. That makes you my new best friend." I introduced myself and he said he planned to run the first mile in exactly 6 minutes flat. That was okay with me. But I was thinking, wait, that doesn't sound right, 6 minutes flat is too slow for 18:30, isn't it? However, I was planning to start out conservatively because of the heat. Alan said "it's looking really good," meaning that no one was close behind me, so I didn't have to kill myself to establish a lead in the first mile. Dennis pulled away over the second half mile of the race and got to the mile mark a few seconds ahead of me, but I still got there in 5:58.

Over the next mile or so Dennis lengthened out his lead somewhat, catching up to a very little boy who had gone out ahead of us. I was afraid that I would run the second mile slower than the first, because he was getting ahead of me and because I usually run the second one slower. So I was pleasantly surprised to reach two miles in 11:51, for a 5:53 second mile. Not tearing up the pavement by any means, but not slowing down, either. I caught the little boy just before the 2-mile mark. He ended up being just 12 years old. Two miles in 12 minutes is pretty impressive for a 12-year-old, I think. This put me in 10th place.

As I turned back onto the road we had started on (I said it was a lollipop) Alan looked behind me and said, "you have at least 20 seconds on the next woman." Now, this could mean two things -- either "I can see a woman and she is at least 20 seconds behind you," or "I can't see anyone behind you but I can only see about 20 seconds down the course." I decided to assume the former, but it turned out to be the latter.

On long straight road, I caught Dennis. He told me I ran a smart race as I passed by. I got to the track (stadium finish!) and kicked like it was a track race, trying to catch the guy ahead of me. I was running fast enough that I was surprised that he wasn't getting any closer -- he must have been kicking hard, too. Just before I crossed the line I saw the clock and it said 18:33, so I knew I hadn't broken 18:30. So it goes. These cute cheerleaders held up a finish tape and some photographers took a picture. The little kid finshed about 30 seconds later, and his dad asked if I would pose with him for a picture! Gosh, that's the first time anyone's ever asked to take a picture with me. I was honored. Oh yes, and the very fast-looking woman finished 4th in 20 minutes. Still fast!

The timing company added about 6 seconds to everyone's finish time -- mine was reported as 18:41. The guy who won the 12k finished in 37:13, and they reported it as 37:19, which is too bad because he set a course record and it's 6 seconds slower than it should be. (My stopwatch and the finish clock agreed exactly.) So now I know that if I want to break 18 minutes at a race timed by this company, I should run 17:50 just to be safe! (easier said than done)

They did the awards ceremony before I even finished cooling down -- it was over by 11:45. That was surprising! Luckily Alan was there to pick up my medal and put down my mailing address. But happily, there was plenty of food left and we got a good lunch before setting out to hike a few mountains and then go camping.


Caitlyn Clark said...

Nice recap! You looked really strong on the track!

Are you doing Rhodey? I'll probably do it and depending on how my race this weekend goes. If all goes well, I might shoot for somewhere between 18:15-17:50

Diana said...

Thanks, Caitlin! Needless to say, you also looked strong on the track... I heard Matthew tell you to "kick like it's a 1500!" I thought it was good advice so I tried to apply it to myself, too.

What race are you doing this weekend? As for Rhody, I'm heading to rural Maine for two weeks, so I won't be able to do it this year. But there will be no love lost between Rhody and me, as I have no particular fondness for running around a parking lot. Good luck, and I look forward to hearing how it goes!