Big Backyard 5k – 5/22/11

This was kind of a non-planned race I signed up for at the last minute when I heard a friend of mine was running it as her first 5k ever, and I thought it would be fun to see her there and cheer her on. It fell at kind of a weird point of my half-marathon training (I ran 8 miles the evening before… so my legs were not so lively and fresh, more like sore and frozen in carbonite). I figured I would just run it easy and not try to worry too much about my time – I’d probably PR by default even at an easy pace, since I set my standing PR in my first race 7  months ago.

The race was a fundraiser for parks in the county and was run on the paved trail in Marymoor park, and was dog and stroller friendly. The forecast called for cold overcast rain, but the sun was peeking out over the clouds and it felt kind of sluggishly humid, making me regret wearing my long-sleeved tech shirt and rain hat. I found my friend and we slid into the line of folks waiting to start. I heard a girl behind me commenting on how it was hard to pass people in this race since the path is so narrow, and right at that point the race director called out that anyone with a stroller (of which there were many, all throughout the line) should move to the back of the pack. Naturally… no one moved. I knew at that point it was not going to be my fastest race. But oh well, it wasn’t chip-timed regardless and I was just out there for fun (at least, I kept trying to convince my over-competitive nature of that)

My friend had spent a few weeks battling the flu and hadn’t been able to train as well as she wanted, but that worked out in her favor when the race began and we shuffled to a jog behind a wall of strollers, dogs, and slooow runners. We tried to dance around people on the narrow path but mostly had to deal with it for the first mile as the crowd thinned out a bit. At that point my friend had to stop and walk and told me she’d see me at the finish, so I tried to pick up the pace a bit and get around a few of the strollers and stragglers.

OK, my calf sleeves look ridiculous

Pictured: cheesy fake smile and ridiculous calf sleeves. Also, ugh, my big fat legs are bumming me out

It was still fairly slow going at times, but I managed to pass a few folks. The mugginess sapped my energy a bit, and my tired legs weren’t quite in the mood to be speedy, but I summoned up the will to cruise along at a decent pace (for me) when I was in clear running. My ipod died about halfway through which would have probably annoyed me more if I hadn’t been racing, but running along with hundreds of other people is always interesting enough that I don’t really NEED music (though I did realize, without tunes in my ears to distract me, I sound like a freight train when I run… eep).

There was a bit of a fakeout at mile 2 where they diverted you right past the finish line (so you could see it looming, and then had to run past it), which was kind of a kick to the morale and made the last mile feel super loooooong (which always kind of amuses/bewilders me, how a short race can feel so long when I’ve been banging out 5 mile runs every week in training).

It was getting warmer and muggier and I entertained the idea of trying to pull off my long-sleeved overshirt, but I’d strapped my ipod on over the top of it and knew that would be asking to get tangled all up in cords and sleeves, so I tried to endure and just keep on trucking. I managed to sprint the final bit and then forgot to stop Henry the Garmin at the end, but looking at the Garmin charts (and the abrupt speed drop-off) I think my actual final time was 31:00:

Could have been a decent PR if I had some running room at the beginning of the race!

that clogged first mile really cost me

All in all a decent race, if a bit overcrowded, muggy, and non-chip timed. Technically it’s a PR (I clocked in at 34:06 my first race) but I’d still like to officially get a sub-30 5k under my belt that wasn’t done in training. Next time, Gadget, next time.

My friend finished in around 40 min with a combination of walking and running, and said right away that she wanted to sign up for another one… the running bug bites again! :>

Will add race photos when/if they’re posted!

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