Sunday, March 13, 2011

Race Recap: St. Patrick's Day 5k

St. Patrick's Day weekend is quickly becoming one of the best holiday weekends, simply because everyone seems to be running some sort of race! It's fun to read race reports, hear about new PRs, and admire funny costumes. From Ron completing his first ultramarathon, to Katie winning 2nd in her AG, to Page and Layla and Kim setting massive PRs, and to Alexa urging me to come out and run the same 5k as her, this whole weekend has been a blast to follow.

After doing somewhat well in the Strawberry Hill 5k+ about a month ago, I wanted redemption -- this time on a real 3.1-mile course, with a working Garmin, and maybe on a route that didn't include a 1-mile uphill. I thought I had a chance at PR'ing since I was holding something like a 7:16 average pace at Strawberry Hill, yet in the back of my mind, that race didn't "count" since the course was inaccurate and I didn't have my mile splits.

Alexa urged me to run the flat St. Patrick's Day 5k put on by the DSE Run Club. We started at Crissy Field, ran to the Fort Point National Historic site near the base of the bridge, turned around in some sketch-ass parking lot, and headed back.
This morning was pretty typical in San Francisco; it was in the mid-50s, overcast, and a bit hazy. The 5k route was indeed flat, and suddenly I had some new competition to help me go even faster. I had been trying to convince Sandra to come run the race with me, but instead her boyfriend, hereafter known as "E," had been talking smack on how he was going to win this race after only jogging a few times this year. Together, Sandra and I hold faster PRs than her boyfriend in every distance, and we wanted to keep this record going.

It occurred to me this morning that the only green clothing I own is a pair of CEP Compression socks, so this was as close to "dressed up" as I got for the event.

Mile 1 (7:04)

E and I started up front and he continued to talk himself down, probably trying to psych me out. He told me his goal was 30 minutes, and then he said it was actually 27 minutes, but then he admitted he had a 26-minute practice 5k earlier this week. He kept asking ridiculous questions (like "How do I know where go?" and "Is this really the starting line?") but he was just trying to make me lose my focus. I figured he was one of those natural athletes who'd get a solid time all while breaking me down from the inside, and I would have to try hard to keep him behind me.

The field. That tiny little guy in the bright yellow tank up front ALWAYS KICKS MY ASS SO HARD. Can I just tell you how much it sucks to constantly lose to a 10-year-old?
Mile 2 (7:20)
I managed to see E at the turnaround point, maybe 6 or 7 people behind me. This guy was killing it for having a training program that involved Egg McMuffins and lattes every morning. He even had the audacity to wave and smile, like he was barely doing any work.

Oh, scary bridge. I love you.
Mile 3 (7:30)
At this point, all I could think about was how I wished I hadn't eaten such a large breakfast. My endless gagging tasted like peanut butter toast, and it was seriously disgusting.

Little old me, nearing the finish chute! E is no where to be found, right?!
With about 2/10ths of a mile left, I kicked it into a higher gear, not knowing exactly where E was, and not wanting to turn around to look (which would probably make me throw up all over the place). I had slowed down a bit to keep myself from losing my breakfast and I felt like it could have come up at any moment. That last mile was really hard on my gag reflex.

Once I was in the finisher's chute, I heard footsteps quickly crunching in the gravel behind me. At the very last second someone showed up in my periphery. I busted into a hard sprint as E outstretched his neck to finish ahead of me, and the nice old man at the finish called out that I was the winner! Seriously though, I know it was a tie, and I cannot for the life of me figure out where E came from??! Sandra is convinced he hid in the bushes and jumped out at the end.

All that matters about today is that they said I beat him -- and Sandra and I can still claim that we're better than her boyfriend at everything. Okay, so at least at racing.

Overall, I ran really hard and managed a 43-second PR. It was a good race and I felt like I gave it everything I had. Normally after a race I feel like I could have given just a little bit more, but I really don't feel that way today. Who knows. Maybe next week I'll decide to try for a new PR in a different distance, since I can never seem to make up my mind on what I should be aiming at next. :)

The winners! E, me, & Alexa sporting our shiny new finisher's ribbons.
Finishing Time: 22:27 -- a 43-second PR
Average Pace: 7:16 min/mile (8.2 mph)
Overall Place: 60 out of 355
Gender Place: 8 out of 158
Air Temp: 53F, cloudy

3.08-mile splits: 7:04, 7:20, 7:30, :32


  1. SWEET!!!!!!

    PRs abound this weekend! Congrats on a STELLAR race!

  2. congratulations on WINNING! seriously, i laughed the entire time that i read this...i hate those 10 yr olds too! :)

  3. haha I'm glad you won!
    I'm going with the 'in the bushes' theory! :)

  4. Way to go! A new PR AND a "win" over E. Great run!

  5. Great job and congrats on a PR. I ran a St Patty's day 4 miler yesterday, but by no means was it a PR, but hey I had fun!

  6. That's a huge PR for a 5k! Congrats!

  7. Awesome race! Congrats on the PR! I love St Patrick's day races :)

  8. CONGRATS!!! you kicked some butt!! i was neck and neck w/ a 10 year old at a 5k over the summer. at the very end, on the track finish, i got ahead of him. then i heard his dad yell "GO GET HER" and the kid went flying past me. little sh*t.

  9. Well done, A!
    I'm still hoping to get you to the Midwest for some "Relay Time". I'll supply the cupcakes. :-)

  10. CONGRATS on the PR!!! Sheesh PRs all around this weekend :)

  11. I would say congrats on the PR, but it sounds like in this case, drawing / "officially" beating E means more to you. So instead: congrats on that! And have I ever said that I love how you write these race reports btw? It's exactly what you're NOT supposed to do with a college essay -- we always want the conclusion right at the top in bold! -- but I love he suspense on them.

    And for real, you've only been lost once on a run, ever!? I've been to Hampstead Heath n number of times and still get lost there!

  12. Great job A!

    Sweet giveaway - a race entry! I wish I could do it but I am already signed up for the Get in Gear that weekend!

    I was super jealous of your doughnut run! I want to host one of them in Minneapolis now. We currently do Tour de ice cream. Basically, we bike around and eat a bunch of ice cream. But running and doughnuts just sounds amazing!!!

  13. Keep it up with the huge PR's and you will be running with the Kenyans!! Have a great week A!!!

  14. haha this is an awesome post! congrats on a PR and beating E ;)

  15. Awesome!!!! Congrats! I should have done this race with you instead! Great PR!