I wasn't too happy to be doing this, but I was going to approach it like taking medicine. It'll be good for me and help me keep my pace during the Cleveland Half marathon. Well, at least the weather turned out to be not too dreadful; at least it wasn't pouring down rain or snowing. I don't think the race directors would quite know what to do if they had a sunny day for this race. Still...I was hoping it would be a little warmer. It was overcast and 45, so actually those are about perfect conditions for running a 5k. The key is to not freeze while you're waiting around. Crazy Kurt picked me up an hour and a half prior to start time. I was wondering why he wanted to allow such a generous cushion of time. It certainly wouldn't take us that long to park and pick up the race packets.
Hmmm... I signed up for the race via "sign me up.com" I hate this f... site and will never use it again. I thought I was signed up, but never got a confirmation e-mail. I went back through everything triple checking it. I was afraid to hit the pay again, lest I get charged again on my credit card. I much prefer active.com for signing up for races. This is just ridiculous, though, and I'm stuck with it cause this is what all the Subway Challenge Races use. I have mixed feelings about doing Subway Challenge Races and I won't go into it here, because it requires it's own post, but this race benefits the Childrens Juevenille Diabetes Association, so I put up with the bullshit. I brought more money with me if it turns out my preregistration didn't go through, but I'll be mad as a hornet if I have to pay the full race day amount, which is a whopping $25 for this race. That's pretty expensive as far as 5k's go, but there are the children to think about...and they load you down pretty good afterward with food. Nice long sleeved T-shirt, too...one of the better ones on the racing circuit. Two free tickets come in the race pack for a Saturday afternoon Aero's game and I was partial to the $10 off Dick's coupons.
So, sure enough my race packet wasn't there in the pre-registered area and I showed the poor slob in charge, my printed out receipt, and made my best attempt to look like a red head on the brink of hissy fit. I furled up my eyebrows, planted the hands on the hips and said, "But I thought I was signed up!" The poor slob sensed the eruption that was about to take place, slithered off to get his female supervisor to deal with me. She was just the breathe of fresh air I needed to calm me down. She let me register at the pre-registered rate, so all was well. Still...I will never use signmeup.com again. It sucks.
By the time we get this all straightened out it's still one hour till race time. I was freezing, so Kurt suggested we do a little jogging before the race. I've never done this before, but it's what all the really good runners do to get warmed up before the race. Back when I was new to running, I was afraid to exert any extra energy before a race, so I barely moved till the whistle went off. But I felt stiff and it might be just the thing and when else can you run down the heart of Main St. in downtown Akron without repercussions? They'd already closed down the street for the one mile walk/run that started prior to the race.
I finally found Debi too, so she joined me for a trot to warm up. Looks like the rain was going to hold off. This is a huge race. I'd estimate between 500 and 600 runners. Debi and I planted ourselves what I thought was mid-pack, but when the race started--I had lots of people to maneuver around before I found my spot. This course is mostly flat for the first two miles, then surprises you with a low grade long hill until you enter the downtown area for the final stretch. Yes, a typical 5k feeling ensued; bursting lungs, my mouth hanging open dribbling drool. I had to stop very briefly once to get hold of my lungs. It was maybe a 15 second stop. They seem to help me. Had a tried to ply on without stopping, my overall pace would have dwindled badly. A fellow club member passed me about mile 2 and told how good I looked. Note how they will only say this as they're passing you. Grrrr...
I could see the finish clock looming and knew I wasn't going to have a personal record today for a 5k, but it was my second best time ever. A guy I had paced pretty much through the entire race said, "Now, give it a kick girl!" "But I want to throw up!" was my reply to that. I came in at 26:02. That's about 45 seconds slower than my best time of 25:20. That particular course was very flat, so I guess it figures. I felt strong as an ox, but my lungs could not process the oxygen to go any faster. This is where speed work is so important. All my strength training just doesn't make much difference in these short races; that comes into play on the long ones. Well...I swallowed my speed work medicine for the day...let's hit the food! I had a bagel, subway sandwich, power bar, Gatorade--double the calories I just burned off! All in all...a fun race. Look forward to the nice slow long run tomorrow with part of the group.