ENOUGH WITH THE SMALL TALK. HOW'D IT GO?
Not training for a 5K makes it hard to reach your goals for a 5K. I finished in 20:03, 40 seconds slower than my PR in last year's race (which happened to be my last 5K before this).
DID YOU WIN?
Surprisingly, I moved up in my age group from 12th last year to 8th this year. But overall, I dropped from 61st of 3788 to 80th of 5035.
HOW'D THAT HAPPEN?
Man, it's hard to come up with a good 5K story when you've run 10 marathons & ultras since the last 5K. Nevertheless, my greatest annoyance with the race was on display right off the bat when I saw the starting area jammed with folks a full half hour before the start. To make matters worse, they put someone out in front of the mats to make sure you couldn't load from the front.
So there I was, going to the back of the line and trying to nudge my way forward through thousands of people. I made it reasonably close to the front, with only a 12-second gap between my chip time and gun time. But there were still plenty of lollygaggers I had to weave through before I got in the clear (more on this shortly).
Once I got out of traffic, I just ran. Everything seemed to be in rhythm, but I just plain wasn't fast enough to break 19 minutes (my original goal) or set a new PR (my backup goal). I knew at the 2-mile mark that those were out the window so I just tried to run as hard as I could. Only one guy passed me on the final straightaway, so that felt better than last year's collapse.
Here are some numbers for you: There were 428 people over the starting mat before me (at least; there may have been some untimed folks also). The median finish time among them was 24:59. The average was 28:18. Of them all, 137 took longer than 30:00 (in other words, at least twice as long as the winner). A dozen took OVER AN HOUR. There may well come a day that I just start running people over.
See, this is not about being slow or fast. It's about common courtesy. This is a race with prize money on the line, and regardless of what you understand about your own skill level or about running in general, you know damn well whether you're gonna have a prayer of winning a race with 5000 people in it. So if you're lining up on the front row with the idea that you're heading out for a nice walk, then you're a complete asshole and I will gladly write the North Texas Food Bank a check for your share of the donation just so I never have to deal with you again.
6:19 last .1
OK, WHAT ABOUT THE REAL REASON WE ALL RUN, THE STUFF?
It's a 5K, so you get a cotton T-shirt. But it's also a really big 5K, so you also get plenty of finish line goodies, such as samples of Clif bars, Muscle Milk, Fuze, and of course, a free beer (Miller 64 or Blue Moon).
Boston Marathon, Apr. 16.