Tonight my running club put on the first of a series of 5ks used to track our progress throughout the season.
We met at the track as we usually do on Tuesday nights, and then went for a nice warmup run through Golden Gate Park. It was actually a course preview, 3.1 miles. It was great, because the course was fresh in my mind (not to mention, these are roads I've run a hundred times before). I was a little worried, because I've never really spent that much time warming up, although I knew that I hadn't spent enough time preparing before my last race, so I figured I'd give it a shot.
Here's the course (forgive me, my hand's not too steady with the touch pad mouse!):
We all met back at the starting line about 30 minutes later, and Coach Kirk, Mr. Enthusiasm himself, sent us on our way. The first mile felt good - I stayed on the heels of Kortney, who runs with my pace group but I think has the potential to be quite a bit faster. A pretty good group of us stuck together for most of mile one - Some Silvers: Little John, Aida, Kortney and me, and some reds: Leslie, Pam, and Rob. About halfway through the first mile was the hill behind the Conservatory of Flowers, but it was followed by a nice, gradual downhill, making my first mile 7:21. Not too shabby!
The Conservatory of Flowers
Mile 2 was down JFK, which is mostly flat. The group started to spread out here. Leslie, Pam, Kortney, and Rob pulled ahead, and John, Aida, and I were close behind. We had a slight downhill just past the deYoung Museum (by the creepy purple head), and then a gradual uphill to Stow Lake. That one was killer! I somehow managed to pass Rob, who stopped for a walk break, and Kortney, and kept my focus on Leslie. I knew if I could keep her in my sights, I would probably PR. Mile 2: 8:18
Creepy purple head - the one in GGPark is just like this one that was featured at Burning Man.
Mile 3 started out as a piece of cake. A little bit of flat, and then a nice downhill out of the lake drive. The rest was back up MLK toward Kezar Stadium. Rob passed me up again, but I managed to stick to him until he stopped to walk again. At that point, though, I was all alone. Leslie had pulled far enough ahead that I couldn't see her because of the curve in the path, and I could hear distant footsteps behind me, but I didn't dare look back. I knew I had less than a half mile left, so I really kicked it into high gear. I could hear Kortney getting closer, and I tried my best to sprint up the last hill toward the finish, but I was feeling like I might puke, and she managed to pass me. I did my best to stay right behind her, and made my final sprint over the crest of the hill and to the finish. Mile 3.1: 7:51
Total time: 23:14!!! A new PR! That's 1:10 off my last 5k, just over a month ago! BTW, that's a 7:29 mile, in case you were wondering (I'm just a little proud of myself, can't you tell??). A couple of years ago I could barely break 30 minutes!!! We had lots of runners with really great times - most of Silver came in just before or just after me, and a lot of people managed to PR, so we all agreed it was a great race. The best part, I felt great afterward! Sure, I had to walk it off for a minute because I thought I might collapse and/or puke, but once that wore off, I felt awesome!
According to my pace card (and I know these things aren't always completely accurate), I'm right on track for a 3:40 marathon - BQ, baby (ooh, and I found someone who offered to pace me for the last ten miles of CIM)!!! But I won't get ahead of myself here...let's see how the SF half goes in a couple of weeks!
I wasn't really expecting to do so well...I had a REALLY bad day, and was also feeling rushed to get to the stadium for our warmup, but I used all that negative energy to push myself to a new PR. Running really is the best therapy!
Afterward, eleven of us went to dinner at Pasta Pomodoro, refueled and chatted about the race, running, the upcoming Sentinel Triathlon (which a ton of SFRRC members are doing), and just life in general. We have a really fun group, and it was a great night!