Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The "5k"

Things are ticking along here in PuddleThumper land.  The porch is looking great.  More on that later.  Lots to do in the garden and the house and physical therapy for the recalcitrant hip seems to be going well too.  I'm been averaging 30 miles per week running and feeling good.  The hip really is fine for shorter stuff, even shorter faster stuff.  I've run up to 10 and felt good.

A breakthrough of sorts at the PT's office the other day.  He found an exquisitely sore spot right on the ischial tuberosity (that's the sit bone and also called sitz bone oddly enough).  Once he had me move through a bit and pinning that spot, magically everything on that side up through my low back relaxed.  It was very strange.  And discussing day-to-day activities as running doesn't seem to bother it, he helped me see that my positioning when sitting at work probably wasn't helping thing.  I have a good chair and sit upright but i sit on the edge of my seat leaning forward.  Evidently that is bad!  I've been constantly reminding myself at work to use the lumbar support of my chair at work and amazingly enough, things seem to feel better. 

Reach the Beach is around the corner so this is all very good news.  I decided purely based on the not three bazillion degree temps we had on Saturday to jump in and do the Seafair Torchlight 5k run.  I've never done this one and have wanted to do it for years as it has an afternoon race time. I heard nighmares about traffic as the downtown seafiar parade goes right after the race.  but I knew I could take the bus, keep everything simple and race. 

this year they changed the course and were starting over in belltown.  There was both an 8k and 5k and i was downtown (after a very good nap on the bus!) in good time to walk over, register and get ready.  I ran into a R2R buddy who was volunteering so that was nice to see a friendly face!  And I was amazed at how large an event this was.  Who knew?
  • Tough to get everyone lined up and then still had to make room for the elites/invited runners in the front.  The announcer had everyone" take a step back and then another." 
  • I have never been so crowded at the start and no pace markers. 
  • The course starts uphill and then gets onto the parade route.  I set a new course record for number of kids' hands hi-fived in a race. 
  • I thought I was in 7:20 - 7:30 shape but with uphill start was aiming for 7:40 first mile.  With much dodging of very slow people the first half mile (!) and a fairly steep uphill section, i hit exactly 7:40 and felt like crap. 
  • The turnaround point on the course came really early (ha!) and there was not much room for the 5k'ers going back along the same route.  I felt great in here though and got in a very pleasant 7:09 mile.
  • One of the elite finishers was jogging back along the course the last couple of blocks cheering for the runners.
  • I'd seen somebody's t-shirt with teh quote something like "ask yourself if you can dig deeper and the answer is usually yes" (no idea who now) at mile 2, i asked myself this and the answer was yes. 
  • Turned the corner to the finish and saw the clock at 19:XX.  And realized the course must be way short.
  • I got passed by a lot of the guys in the final sprint but did manage to pass and stay ahead of a gal my age the last quarter mile. 
  • Got a very nice technical shirt from this race plus the finish line had small bags of pirate booty (mmm salt) and half pints of blueberries they were giving out. 
  • There was nobody ready to take chips from this race at the finish.
2.65 garmin miles @ 19:13 chip time for 7:17 pace.

Woohoo!  I raced. it has been a heckuva long time since I've felt that I have raced and I am delighted.  for 3.2 actual miles, I probably would've been 7:20-7:25 but who knows.  I felt very strong in the middle mile and even strong on the uphill section.  The consistent core/agility class I've been doing is definitely helping.

After grabbing some snacks, i did a half mile jog back to the bus and was home within 30 minutes.  It was a perfect way to do this race.

And then the dilemma.  On course, I turned around when I saw a sign indicating 8k straight and 5k u-turn.  Evidently there might have been a first sign which said "ahead" and then the actual turn came later.  I never saw a sign which said the turn was ahead.  I was racing and you just don't notice things so well when running hard.  I just turned at the first sign I could see and followed other runners doing the same.  I came in first in my age group (and the course is still listed as a 5k with subsequent pace) but really feel uncomfortable about this.  I emailed the chip company about the question in results and they forwarded this to the race company but I've not heard anything yet.

At this point, I'd prefer the (first ever) DQ and knowing that I raced well.  It was the workout I needed both physically and mentally regardless of what my place was in the race.  And the shirt with a stylized pirate logo is a hoot!  I'll wear that one a lot 'cause it does actually fit!