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Honda Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg 5K, March 22, 2013: race recap

Posted Apr 01 2013 7:00am
I may have a mentioned a time or 50 that I don't like 5Ks. So since I feel this way, I ran another one. I'm either a sucker for punishment or hope that one of these will change my mind.

Perhaps the latter happened. Shocking, I know.

This one did have a better chance since my dad was running it, too as his first-ever 5K (or race of any kind).

This race was on a Friday night at 6:15 p.m. I like the idea of a night race, but my first experience with an evening race wasn't great. 

This one wasn't shaping up to be either. My dad and I spent all day at a spring training game (in Dunedin, spring home of the Toronto Blue Jays). What? You say a baseball game is only about three hours? Yeah, they are. But, we get there when the gates open (10:30 a.m. in this case), watch batting practice (and try to get balls hit or thrown in the stands), watch the game, stay after the game to watch the players leave (and try to get autographs). That ends up being an all-day affair. In the sun. 

We did bring a cooler of water in the car, so we could hydrate on our drive home. It's hard to hydrate properly when you're at a place that charges $3.50 for a bottle of water.

By the time we got home, changed, watched the end of a disastrous Kansas State NCAA tournament game and left, we had 45 minutes before the race started (and about a 15-minute drive ... normally). Of course, we ran into traffic. We made it with about 20 minutes to spare and needed to pick up a timing chip and go to a port-a-potty.

The timing chip was a breeze. The port-a-potty, not so much.

Yes, there are four port-a-potties. That's it. For a race of 500+ people. Not cool.

We waited in line for 15 minutes, and basically walked out of the port-a-potty and started running. 
Port-a-potty line photo

My dad's plan: running and walking intervals.

My plan: see what I could do. I hadn't run a 5K since September, and I thought I was faster, but I wasn't sure.

I was worried I started off too fast. But, I kept it up for the first mile.

They turn downtown St. Petersburg into an Indy car track for a few days, and the 5K course is actually partially on the Honda Grand Prix track. 

I'm not into racing, but this was pretty cool. The cars had just stopped running for the day, so we saw cars, drivers and pit crews along the course. 

About halfway throughout the course, there was a water stop. At this point, I was still at the pace that I initially thought was too fast. Even though I was working hard, I felt like it was manageable for the rest of the race.

The course is an out-and back, and as I came up to the finish, I tried to push it to the end. I was flirting with a time I didn't even think was possible at this point in my running career.

I love this photo because I look like I'm really running (and I'm
wearing bunny ears).

As I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and looked at it, I was amazed.

 An under-30-minute 5K is a long-term running goal of mine. I had no idea I could be this close to it already.

Of course, I then wondered why I couldn't have been 11 seconds faster to meet that. And when I saw my official chip time of 30:09, I wondered why I couldn't have been 10 seconds faster.

But, it was still a 3:11 personal record. Not too shabby.

It was fun cheering my dad to the finish, and he met his goal of under 45 minutes.

As soon as he was done, he asked: "Why did I pay $25 to run 3.1 miles?" Shortly after, though, he said he'd do it again. He liked the camaraderie and how the course made the time fly by.

After the race, we grabbed pasta and meatballs and Sea Dog Brewery beer (yum) and met up with my running buddy, Lori and her husband, Chris, who came out to the race.

It was a really fun night (and yes, I'm saying this when a 5K was involved). And, you can bet I'll be running more 5Ks to get that under 30-minute time.
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