Sunday, February 3
17:55, 5:47 average pace. 12th out of 268. 3rd place in age group.
Got to the race early, turned in the team roster (we ended up getting the “Best Penmanship Award” for a printed, formatted copy), picked up the bibs, secured WTAC tables, and started to gather with my awesome WTAC teammates. Went out for a warm-up on Canonchet trails I had never been on, with Mike G, Mike C, Muddy, Jonny, Tom, Riyan, and Matthew.
Mile 1: Despite getting there just over an hour early, the time flew by and I found myself at the starting line. Dropped to second row to give Mike G a front row start. I had a single goal in mind: beat my 18-flat time from last year’s race. The gun went off, and I ran elbow-to-elbow with Jonny (literally hitting a few times) for the first ¾ mile. I followed right on Jonny’s heels as we turned off Ocean Road onto Earles Court, and then I felt like Jonny took off, although later data analysis (yes, I’m a data geek) shows I slowed quite a bit. Mile 1 split: 5:39.
Mile 2: Left turn onto Gibson, running part of the Blessing in reverse. Felt good coming into the turn-around, as I saw Mike G, Muddy, Tom, and Jonny coming back at me in their WTAC singlets. The positions were relatively fixed by now, although just after the turn around I passed one of the Rhode Runner team racers in their distinctive orange uniforms with an anchor symbol. Now it was just a sea of WTAC singlets coming at me, with Riyan, Jeff V, Mark, Matthew, Steve, Mike C and so on and so on. Really cool and uplifting! Now for the down part (what’s the opposite of uplifting?): passed through Mile 2 in a split of 5:57. What? 18 seconds slower?! What happened? I felt like I was running the same pace in the 2nd mile.
|Sprint to the finish|
Mile 3 and finish: Disappointed with my Mile 2 split, I picked it up slightly and just tried to hold on to finish. Come on – that Coast Guard House restaurant still seems far away. Finally, under the castle, I hit Mile 3 split at 5:44 (much better) and near-sprinted the last 0.1 at 5:21 pace. Just like last year, I turned the corner and saw the clock ticking away towards 18 minutes, but this time got just under at 17:55.
|Yes - made it under 18 minutes this time! Fastest Super 5K for me.|
Post-race cool-down with Muddy, and then with Steve and a bunch of other WTAC’ers. It was really neat to run in with Mason. I felt bad for him dodging pedestrians on the sidewalk – probably the safest strategy given that the course was open to traffic, but certainly not the fastest. Good time back at the restaurant with pasta and awards: an orange hat for my 3rd place age finish, and $100 Mews certificate for another WTAC outing in the near future. Mark, Mike C, Muddy, and Riyan all PR’d today for WTAC.
|Awesome showing for the awesome WTAC team!|
Post-race analysis: Checked on Strava, and was astounded to find it’s a 74’ rise from Ocean Road to the turn-around. No way! I thought it was near flat. Just as Mike G surmised, I had kept the same physical effort, but did not compensate by running harder up the hill to maintain the same pace. Strava shows I slowed to a 6:21 pace on “Earles Court Rise”, while Jonny only slowed to a 5:48 pace on same segment (he's smarter than I am, not to mention faster). Like I said, I’m happy with my overall finishing time, especially for the first road 5K of the year, but not the erratic pace path that I took to get there. Will try to learn from it.