This morning, my blogger buddy The Girl in Chucks talked me into running the Strawberry Hill 5k in Golden Gate Park so we could finally meet up in person! While it was still very cold this morning, at least it was sunny. I decided to run to the start to get in a warm up (and also to hit the 5 miles I was supposed to do today), so I left pretty close to the start time in hopes to not need to stand around long. I put on some warm running clothing, stepped out my door, and realized my iPod was waterlogged from yesterday and didn't want to play.
Not a big deal. I don't mind running without music.
A half mile from home, my Garmin chimed the "Battery Low" signal. I charged it immediately after my run yesterday -- what did it mean battery low?! I was hoping it was a mechanical issue from being in the rain and it was just playing games with me. I clicked it off, deciding that if the battery was indeed dying, I'd rather have my mile splits for the race than my warm-up miles.
I tracked down The Girl in Chucks, wished her a good race while shaking her hand as the airhorn was blown, and we were off. I really did cut it a little too close this morning.
Lots of people at the low-key DSE race.A mile into the race, my Garmin chimed "Battery Low" again and promptly died after the first mile (which I finished in 7:21). Fair enough, I suppose I had my warning.
I guess I'll run without my Garmin now, too. Isn't this how people have run for the last couple thousand+ years?
The Strawberry Hill 5k is probably one of the hardest 5ks you could run here in the city. It runs a lap around Stow Lake with a roughly one-mile uphill grade that corkscrews around Strawberry Hill (one of the best vantage points of the city, alongside Twin Peaks), one mile following the same tracks down, and then the last mile is a mix of sharp, steep inclines with some gradual downhills around Stow Lake Drive. It's a really hard course. And, it's mostly on dirt in the woods, which, thanks to the recent rain, actually meant running in thick, sticky mud.I felt like I was going at a good clip up Strawberry Hill, until, I ACTUALLY HAD TO STOP TO WALK. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: I walked during a 5k. At the very top of Strawberry Hill is a steep bank of narrow steps that you basically have to use your hands to climb to the top. It's made of woodchips and makeshift wooden stairs, and with all the people around me stopping to walk to the top, I followed the leader.
Yeah, I didn't really get the course either. Just imagine that it's mostly an uphill climb.
I booked the downhills as fast as the mud would let me and saw the clock say 23:59 as I crossed the finish line. Not bad for a hilly, muddy 5k, I guess. I'll take it. And then the DSE announcer told us that the course actually measured out to be 3.3 miles rather than 3.1. Based on some rudimentary math of my average pace, this would have put me into finishing the "real" 5k in 21:50 or so -- which would have been awesome for a hilly, muddy 5k that involved a few seconds of walking.
Gah, I wished my Garmin was working now!
Me & The Girl in Chucks after the hardest 5k ever.
I'm tempted to try another 5k in the near future, of course, to see how fast I could potentially do it. But story of my life, huh?
"Everyone's a winner at DSE races!"