Haven’t been running well lately, haven’t done speedwork (or even threshold work) for over 8 weeks, and just haven’t felt good recently. So, for all the anxiety and dread I felt all day today, I’m pleasantly surprised I could still pull off this pace. It’s not as good as my last 5K in July (and not among my top 3 5K’s on Strava), but given where I am now (i.e. struggling to maintain enough fitness for a 50-miler in 4 weeks), I’ll GLADLY take this performance.
Race-wise, the most salient points:
* I started in the Red Corral, behind the Championship Corral. The championship corral went first; my corral went about 5 minutes after.
* This was the closest I’ve EVER been to Stephen Curry! He was the surprise guest of the night, and they brought him out just before the race begun! I was pretty close (but not that close, maybe 5-6 deep) to the mini-stage he and some other guests (Chase VPs, etc.) were on. Regretted gear-checking my phone!
* The start was very crowded, especially over the 3rd Street bridge (which served as an effective bottleneck). There were, as usual, quite a few slower folks who decided to start at the front, requiring me to take the outside “lane” to pass. 😑 But overall, I was actually kinda surprised how fast the field was overall! By the time I checked my opening pace, i.e. when I THOUGHT I had found a suitable group of people to run with, I was shocked to see 5:24 on my watch! Way faster than I knew I could sustain for 3.5 miles!
* Predictably, while my watch beeped at a respectable 5:33 for the first mile, mile 2 was a slow-motion collapse. I tried to resist checking my watch too often, but it was clear to me I was slowing just from how many people were slowly passing me… Mile 2: 5:53.
* It got worse. I didn’t feel like I was slowing down, but the effort started to feel increasingly anaerobic. But, suddenly, as we approached the small out-and-back thingie on the course, I’m passed by another guy in a Salesforce shirt!!! I couldn’t let this happen, so I pushed it a bit to retake the lead (which he graciously give me room to do).
* Now, the next mile was REALLY a race, or at least now I had something to card about: this dude. I’m pretty sure we switched off maybe 3-4 times. But as we approached the “half mile left” sign, I decided to really push. At which point it was pretty much mental. I felt that I could go faster and harder; now it was just how much pain I could endure for maybe 2.5-ish minutes.
* I caught about 10 or so runners during this 5:30-pace half-mile kick (with a real, final ramp up to a max 4:40-pace sprint at the end, and actually passing someone literally 2-3 feet before the finish). And, despite my poor middle miles, I’m actually proud of my performance this race a lot due to being able to squeeze that much at the end. (In fact, Justin, the other Salesforce dude, specifically congratulated me on my kick as soon as he crossed the finish line 5 seconds behind me. Seems like he was also trying to out-kick me.)
* After the race, I had the same queasy upset stomach I encountered after my last hard effort, at Jack and Jill (except, for J&J, it was worse and lasted for HOURS). I HATE the feeling, but in a way, it tells me that I did push myself to a certain limit.
* The best part of this race was how BIG yet local this was. I actually really liked seeing almost everyone wearing their team shirt! Definitely gave the event a huge “team” vibe. Plus, a pretty sizeable chunk of my immediate team went!!! Great timing too, because I’ll be using this as a benchmark for their half-marathon training! 😄
So in the end, this race turned out better than expected, in spite of all my pre-race whining. Hope this doesn’t jinx my luck for Dick Collins, though. But before then, I’m going to reward myself by sitting on my butt for 5+ hours on a bike this weekend. Kinda nervous, but quite looking forward to it!
Chip Time: 19:39 (5:37 min/mile if this was really a 3.5 mi course; 5:47 if this was a 3.4 mi course, which is more likely).
Overall: 93/8374. Men: 91/4762.
Salesforce Overall: 2/508.