Yesterday was the Green Legs & Hamstrings 5k,
10K 8k, & Half Marathon.
To say it was a tough race is like saying qualifying for Boston is a big deal. Yea it was that good. Guy’s I know to be 1:35:00 half marathoners came across at ~2:06+….
My race went well. They let the half marathon folks get a 2 minute head start, then us 10K folks, and then the 5k folks followed us by 2 minutes. The race started out in a flat fast section that was plenty wide for the first 3/4 mile. At the start line, I was trying to size up my competition, and I saw no one I recognized at the 10K start. Then I spot her: “the fast girl from the Louie Fields 5k race”. (Sub-19 5k time. smokin fast.) So I know I dont have a chance in hell of keeping her pace, but maybe she can carry me through my first couple miles at least. So the gun goes off, and we take off. 5 or 6 younger looking guys are in the front of the pack, and I’m hanging tough next to miss sub 19. At the beginning of the gravel loop she’s gaining some ground on me, and then I spot this awesome camo skort, so I know it must be the impeccably dressed Iris. Time to speed up again. She said some word of encouragement to me, and I took it as motivation to try again to keep up with Miss sub-19.
She lost me pretty quickly after the next turn, and I kept on trucking. The guy who’s obviously going to win the 5k flies by me before we get to the end of the gravel path. Wow that was quick. Then we get funneled into the single track. I remember thinking how narrow this section was, and now because the halfers had a 2 minute head start, now I had to fight a big crowd. I start yelling “coming on your left” “on your right” and similar such warnings. Then I hear a familiar voice yelling at me now “on your right”. When he get’s past me I see its Barefoot Josh. I check my time, I’m at just over a mile in 8 minutes. (That’s only 5 minutes a mile faster than I thought I’d be).
We get into the hills of witchback, and I start walking a lot (read: all) of them. They are all steep. And I mean STEEP. Like so steep when I was walking up them I literally could have climbed most of them on my hands and knees and stayed just as vertical as I was when walking. But they weren’t a major surprise, I was looking for this to be a tough race. It’s not that there are some astronomical number of hills, or that its a 2,528ft elevation change. Nope. Garmin said its roughly a 200ft elevation change. But the grades are very steep. 100 foot up doesn’t seem bad, until you do it on a 50ft long stretch of trail. Then there’s the infamous “cliffside” section. And you guessed it, you are on the side of a cliff with a very minute rock and wooden barrier holding the section of trail in place.
Anyway, I think I see a few guys in front of my who I assume are also doing either 10k or half marathon, but I can’t seem to catch them. Then the turnoff for the 5k comes up, and they all take it. Crap. Now I’m alone. hard to keep a pace in the woods alone. I turn to look behind me and see NO ONE. I’m all by myself, and for a moment, wonder if I missed a turn somewhere. That’s when I finally saw a couple runners in front of me, and breath a sigh of relief. I may not be able to catch them, but at least I see I’m on course still.
I follow them for a bit, and then make the turnoff for the 10K. I hear folks talking behind me at this point, and I realize I must have slowed down a lot for them to have caught up with me. I knew I was about to get passed. I was ok with it. But it never happened. Apparently shortly after the 10k turn, you are amazingly close to overlapping yourself and it looks like the next runner is only seconds behind, when in all actuality there is a ton of distance separating you.
I’ve looked at my watch again. It said 31 minutes at 3.3 miles; but now I’m at an eleven minute/mile pace. Ok, about an hour or so to finish. That’s expected. But the next thing I know, I’m at the end of witchback, heading across the road again. Watch said ~4ish miles. hmm. I don’t remember this part being that far, but an oxygen deprived brain isn’t thinking about that. I just want to finish. I pass one more 10K lady who said she was going to follow me, and quite a few 5k walkers coming back out.
Then, all of a sudden, there it is; like a glowing beacon of light: “finish–>”
I start sprinting. Hard. I have no idea of my time, but I think I’ve done well. The clock says 47:xx. I want to beat that 48. I find another gear and grind harder. I finish. No idea of time. Walked back to see it was sub 48. But my watch doesn’t agree. It has me at 46:56. Odd. Much later I’d realize the official clock started for the half folks 2 minutes earlier than it did for me.
But one big discrepancy. I finished in 46:55. I was running a bunch of 10:xx+ miles. Garmin says course was only 4.93 miles. I mull it over for a while (grumpily, I might add) about the short course. It was like 5 hours later I realized the course wasn’t short, it was just advertised wrong. It was an 8k not a 10k. Not sure if the race directors know this either, but it’s ok.
I catch up with barefoot Josh again, he said he was 2nd overall. I congratulate him. Awards start, I am surprised to win my age group, and of course Josh won his. We pig out for a while. We hang out for a while. Then we wait. and wait. and wait. finally the first half folks start coming through around 2 hours. Iris finished strong (with some strong language, if you read her blog or watch her finish video, you’ll see) at just over 3 hours, unfortunately it wasn’t enough to win her that coveted last place spot. 2nd to last, again. On the flip side, she did win her age group.
Good race, tough, but good. I think I’ll do it again next year.
Best of all: today I still managed a 10 miler. Not sure how, and it was painful. and painfully slow.
Almost forgot: I caught up with the race director and he said all the age group winners will be mailed some cool personalized award swag. Sweet!