Sunday, October 11, 2015

Strides 5K

Jack O'Keefe Memorial Strides 5K
Waterford, CT
October 4, 2015

Hadn't run this in a few years and the timing worked out.  It's a fun race held in Camp Harkness, which has a beautiful park setting.  The race benefits physically challenged programs in New London County, and they throw in a cookout afterwards.  Let's do this!  And get this, Jana is in for running the 5K as well!  She's run plenty of fun run 5Ks, and runs about 3 miles daily religiously, but never in a timed official 5K.

Had my warm-up run with Matthew, who is not racing as he has a meet the next day.  In the men's room I run into age-group nemesis Scott Grandfield and we both seem unhappy to see each other.  Turns out we both looked at the results from last year (19:xx) and felt we had a good shot of winning the race this year.  Besides any other competition, we now had each other to contend with.  He asked me what pace I was looking to go out in the first mile, and I said 5:40.  He said OK, me too.  Here we go.

Mile 1:  I wished Jana good luck and then settled in up front.  The gun went off and Scott took off like a rocket.  I give chase and followed him out of the park.  About 1/2 mile in I get passed by a guy who sounds like he's barely breathing.  This doesn't bode well.  Just before the 1 mile mark I catch Scott and pass him.  Mile 1 split:  5:26!  Has to be one of my fastest ever.

On my return
(pic by Matthew)

Mile 2:  I can see the leader, but his gap is increasing.  Up a slight hill, and then down to where we start a small turnaround loop.  At a 90-degree turn on the turnaround portion, I glance back to see I have a decent lead on Scott.  On the road heading back now, I can see many oncoming runners, but I can no longer see the lead runner at all.  Mile 2 split 5:55.  Slowed too much.

Mile 3:  At the beginning of the third mile, I see Matthew spectating on the side of the road (what's wrong with this pic?  - Mom and Dad are racing, and Matthew is out supporting us and taking pictures and videos of us).  He yells out that I'm 20 seconds behind the leader.  Really?  I figure the guy's a minute ahead of me.  OK, just a mile left, lets see if we can pick it up at all.  After a couple of turns, I turn into the park for the final stretch, and voila, there's the leader in front of me!  I muster up what kick I can, and actually narrow the gap, and finish just 4 seconds behind him.
In the finishing chute, just behind the overall winner

Final results:  17:35!!  Two seconds off my all-time PR.  2nd overall, 1st in age group.  Full results here.  Of course now my questions (to myself) were where could I have taken off 3 seconds to beat my PR and 5 seconds to beat the winner.

I ended up finishing up just over a minute ahead of Scott.  He and I went back out for a cool-down and to see Jana running the course as well as his girlfriend was out running the 10K.  Jana was elated to find she was 2nd in her age group, so I was really happy for her.  We both got $10 DD cards, and used mine up on the way back for the three of us.  Fun day.  Now after today's results, I've got to get at least one more road 5K in this fall season.

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