Date: Saturday, September 25
Location: Plymouth, MN
Weather: 48F with light drizzle
Official Results: Overall results
Goal: 18:59 (6:06 per mile pace)
Official Time: 18:48 (6:03 per mile pace)
Garmin Time: 18:48 (6:05 per mile pace), as my Garmin read 3.09 miles.
Overall: 3rd (401 total); top 0.7%
One goal down. One to go. I wanted to run a sub-19 minute 5K this year. At age forty-nine that is getting hard to do. I had two chances left on the race calendar. This event and then a 5K in Phoenix near the end of October. Checked that box! Next goal will be to go under forty minutes for a 10K, which I will attempt to do in Fargo in a couple of weeks.
I have run the Plymouth 5K twice before, placing 5th overall in 2008 and 3rd overall in 2009. So I knew this course very well. I have increased my run mileage since my season ending triathlon two weeks back. I was feeling confident and strong.
It was a tad chilly with drizzle and that would play against me later in the event. During warm ups the legs didn't feel quite right but I kept positive. I was going to open strong and take it mile-by-mile after that.
The reason I wanted to open strong was there is a slight hill about 1/4-mile into the run. From my previous runs at this event, I had learned that the race is often decided at that point. It separates the pretenders from the contenders. This was the case again.
I led the event for the first 3/4's of a mile. I went out strong, but relaxed. After the race one of the other finishers told me that people were commenting at how hard I was taking the pace because, "the course is hilly and they thought I was going out too hard." Pshaw. I know hilly courses. This is not a hilly course. But my plan was to make people hurt going into that first hill. At that point I was clipping along at a very strong pace.
I knew two other people were on my shoulder as we crested the hill but wasn't sure of the rest of the pack after that. I eased back and the other two young bucks passed and opened a slight gap. I kept pace with them at that point through mile 1.
Mile One - 5:55
My work done, I just settled into staying relaxed. I had gone with simple 1-inch inseam running shorts and a very lightweight singlet while other people were sporting winter caps and sweatshirts. I was getting a tad tight and finding it hard to stay relaxed. 48 F is actually a nice temperature for a running race, but the cold drizzle was the bit that was making it harder than it needed to be.
I stayed within 20-yards of the leading two runners, and heard a set of footsteps behind. I wasn't going to look over my shoulder at this point.
Mile Two - 6:07
Shortly after we passed Mile Two we had a hard left turn. I looked back and spied only one runner...period. And he was about 30-yards back. I could not tell if he was gaining. So I started to dig a bit as we went up a slight hill in order to try and separate a bit before the next left turn. Out of sight, out of mind. Isn't that the rule?
The front two runners has separated by a good 60-yards but they weren't really running away from me. So I tried to gain some yardage back and just work towards mile three. My hammies were definitely tightening up from the wet and cold. I was worried that I could cramp up. I just talked myself into relaxing. Funny how the voices in the head can play such a strong part of races these days.
Mile Three - 6:11
One last hard left turn and a quick look back and the runner behind me had made up no distance, in fact, I had opened up a bit of room. At this point it was Dave Wottle time. I had worn my white Nike cap specifically for this purpose. To remind me to kick like Wottle at the end. Top three overall get very nice plaques. I had gotten one last year. And I wanted another one.
I just opened 'er up. As much as a tight-hammied-cold-49yo-old-fart could. I wanted that sub 19. I wanted top three. I had no idea if someone was coming up fast or not. I was gassed, but not as bad as last year when I had nothing left.
Last 0.1 - 0:34 (6:00 per mile)
Well, no one passed me. And I finished under 19-minutes. Pretty damn happy.
Let's get back to the event itself and break down the typical components, discussing what was done well and what needs improvement.
Packet Pickup - There is only same-day packet pickup. The event is generally small enough to get away with this and it is always well organized. I arrived forty minutes prior to start and it was a breeze to pickup my race number and long-sleeved T-shirt.
Grade - A
Suggestion - It's not necessary, but perhaps chip-timing?
Volunteers - Firefighters treat this event like a open house. Afterall, it is held on one of the Plymouth fire stations. We've been on tour of this facilty for Cub Scouts and our firefighters are the friendliest around!
Grade - A+
Suggestion - Just repeat in 2011
Run Course - The course is very well laid out. There are three miler markers that are spot on accurate. The course winds through residential streets and is well sheltered and has low traffic. And where else is the lead vehicle a fire engine? Way cool.
Grade - A+
Suggestion - Just repeat in 2011
Awards/Goodies - Long sleeved T-shirts as always. The good ol' cotton variety. Awards are very nice wood plaques that are awarded only to the top three overall males and top three overall females.
Grade - A
Suggestions - The gray color of this year's shirt was a little bland. Previous years had great deep blue or fire engine red. But I'm nit picking.
|I might have to go for a "three" three-peat in 2011!|
Overall - I recommend this race to seasoned runner, novice, or even walker! The sight of a huge American flag string between two ladder fire engines is just a fantastic way to begin the race. It is well organized and well laid out. And only four minutes (2-miles) from my door step.
Next Event - 10K at the Fargo Mini Marathon on October 9. There are three races at this venue. A half-marathon, a 10K, and a 5K. What makes this one special is the Boy® and the Well Kept Wife™ are doing the 5K. I think there is a battle brewing there for family bragging rights. Who will come out on top!?!?
The Well Kept Wife™, Glynis, the Boy®, Pont, & moi.