After a nice 1.5 miles, in which I had to constantly remind myself to slow down, I returned to the race start, handed the dog off to my daughter and reset my Garmin. The Wing Commander gave a nice speech and then asked the serious runners who were really going for a time to raise their hands. Out of over 100 people, there were maybe 10 of us so we were sent to the front of the start line. I had the distinct feeling that I was going to be face down in the road with 100 foot prints up my back because lined up behind me were about 100 young military guys who may not be "seriously running for a time" but could still run circles around me.
Needless to say, I took off way too fast. I kept glancing at my Garmin thinking something must be wrong with it. Granted, the road away from the gym starts with a significant down hill, but I still couldn't believe I was running a sub 6 mpm pace. I was stuck between the need to slow down and the fear of getting trampled! My first half mile split was 3:38, GULP! 7:17 pace! As the crowd thinned out I started getting it under control, but then we stopped.
Yes, stopped. Suddenly up ahead I noticed all the runners bunching up and milling around. WHAT?!? Apparently there was something wrong on the adjacent air strip so they were stopping all traffic on the roads around it. Several of the front runners had gotten past the lead car before they could be signaled to stop so as we stood and waited, they flew by on their way back to the finish. I didn't think we had been standing there that long, but those guys were blazing! At this point any kind of PR was out the window. One's fastest 5K cannot include a 5 minute break before the first mile.
Fortunately, it hadn't taken me long to pause my Garmin so when they gave us the all clear, I hit the start button and once again and took off way too fast again, but I got it under control and my second split was right on target with 3:53.
Then we hit the next, WHAT THE HECK! for the day. We were barely over the one mile mark when I realized I could see the water stop and what looked like people turning around just ahead of me. I was thinking maybe on the way back they were going to route us on a different path and add to the route through the buildings.
Now past the turn around, my third split was 3:55. I was feeling good and getting into my groove and felt like I could maintian my pace for the second half of the race when a woman all in black slowly crept past me. She instantly became my target. I had to pick it up just a touch to stay with her, but I was determined. My 4th split was 3:57, still on track, YES! Although I was beginning to wonder if I could really maintain that pace for another mile and she once again began putting distance between us.
As we rounded the corner onto the main road, I was scanning for the new turn that would add the needed distance to take us up to 5K and realized it wasn't going to happen, the runners were barreling up the street and making the same turn back into the gym parking lot. I decided to sneak right up on the heels of the lady in black and then blast past her in the final up hill sprint through the parking lot with everything I had left.
This was a very low tech race. There was a clock, although it was sitting down low on a table by the snacks, so after the first 10 runners crossed the finish line no one else could see it to know their time. There were no bibs, or chips, just someone standing with a piece of paper writing down who came in first second or third. We were told at the start that if anyone was over 40 to please let someone know when we crossed the line.
As we turned the last corner into the parking lot, I powered up into a full sprint and, pink tu-tu flying, bounded past my target and across the line. It felt really awesome of have that good kick in me and despite the uphill grind. The pace for my last partial split was another 7:17! I say partial split because it was about .4 miles long. The entire race was 2.4 miles. Ummm, that's a 3.8K guys, not 5K!
|LOVE the expression on this guy's face. Do you think it was the tu-tu or the bare feet, LOL|
|Notice the location of the timing clock in the background|
I am also experimenting with twitter. I was hoping to be able to tweet from the HM next week, but am still working out the technical issues (it seems everything is complicated in Korea). If you want to check it out, I'm listed as @Barefeeties These will be purely running tweets