The start for the 5K this morning was a pretty late 8:45am, so I could sleep in a little and take my time eating breakfast. (The usual Kashi Go Lean Crunch with soy milk.) I knew the 10K and half marathon would already be underway, so I wanted to avoid parking on the west side where I might get entangled with runners. Instead I parked off Water street, near the east side of the Hawthorne bridge, and jogged over to the start. I wanted to warm up for about a mile anyway, and that worked perfectly. Of course, I still got there with 15 or 20 minutes left, which meant my warm-up was a little premature. I hopped around as best I could in the crowd to stay loose and said hi to a few people I know.
It was cold and damp in Portland this morning — mid 40s and foggy. I wore shorts and two tech tees, a short sleeve over a long sleeve. I also ran with a black mask on, since the Run Like Hell encourages costumes. The best costumes I saw were a group doing the 10K where most of them were dressed as disco dancers and one was dressed as a disco ball. There were also three ladies in pretty elaborate cupcake costumes, but I have to give them some points off because they weren’t running in them — I saw them walking in the 5K, some of the last people out there. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with walking! I just would have liked to see some speed demons in cupcake costumes.
The start was really cramped and I didn’t manage to get as close to the front as I had been hoping to, so I had to jump up on sidewalks and dodge and weave (all made more dangerous by my vision-impairing mask) for the fist few downhill blocks. I got ahead of the bulk of the crowd pretty quickly though and so the congestion didn’t really prove to be an issue.
The route was downhill for 0.4 miles, flat for 2.3, and back up the same hill for 0.4. If I was going to take advantage of the downhill, it meant I couldn’t start out conservatively. Still, it was a little alarming to look at my watch about a third of a mile in and see I was on a 5:55/mile pace or so. That tailed off quickly as we hit the flats and I hit my aerobic limits, but mile one still came in at 6:39. With the downhill, I guess that wasn’t too far off the mark if I wanted to hit my seven-minutes-a-mile average goal. I also secretly hoped that, as in past races, I’d keep up the same way-too-fast pace the rest of the way through.
I think those secret hopes lasted about fifteen seconds.
For the remaining two miles, I was hanging on for dear life. During mile two, on those occasions when I could spare the energy to look at my watch, it usually said I was on a 7:15 pace or so for the mile so far. I’d try to pick it up a bit, check again a little later, and it would barely have gone down. Breathing really hard, struggling mightily, getting passed now and again, I finished mile two in 7:11.
Mile three was more of the same, and then we turned right for the slog up the hill. It was just eight blocks or so, but it was brutal. I just counted steps to myself. “One two three for five. One two three four five.” Don’t think. Focus on the horizon. Just keep moving forward at whatever speed you can. Mile three took me 7:19, and the last 0.12 miles another 43 seconds.
Total time (unofficial): 21:51. (7:02/mile)
I skipped the beer and chicken wings they had for finishers. Maybe I didn’t feel up to them or maybe I didn’t feel a 5K run earned them. I had some water, recovered a bit, and went for a five mile “cool-down” run back to the car.
Update: Official results — 21:51 (7:02/mile). 46/750 overall. 38/244 men. 5/31 men aged 35-39.