I ran this race 2 years ago. With temperatures in the 60s just two days before, I was hoping for nice, mild temperatures on race morning, unlike the temps I experienced 2 years prior. Temps in the teens with a pretty good wind – no thank you!
Unfortunately, as luck would have it, our mild temperatures were short lived and I was looking at running conditions eerily similar to what I experienced the last time. You win some, you lose some…
What I love about this race is that it doesn’t start until 9AM and they offer race day packet pickup. I hate having to make 2 trips (one of the reason why I try to avoid big races downtown if necessary), so packet pickup makes it easy. The 9AM start time meant I was able to “sleep in” (Miles made that a little more difficult with his endless snotty nose, so he was up at 5:45… and for 2 hours in the middle of the night), eat breakfast, nurse Miles, and have some time with the family before needing to leave for the race.
I ended up getting to the park right before 8AM. I picked up my number and t-shirt, and went and sat in my nice warm car, reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants as I waited. I stayed warm until 8:40 when I decided to finally get out of my car for a quick warmup and then made my way to the starting line. I quickly found one of Matt’s runners and went to talk to her for a few minutes before the start. We run about the same paces, so I knew I just needed to try to keep up with her during the race.
The starting line was packed. There were probably twice as many runners as there was 2 years ago, and that ended up making the start incredibly difficult. After crossing the starting sensors, I ended up having to run outside of some cones in order to avoid tripping over someone’s feet. I definitely lost some ground by doing that, but I made up for it pretty quickly.
The course follows a path around Creve Coeur Lake, which meant no matter what, we’d be facing the wind at some point. Luckily (or maybe not so much), the wind was to our back the first part of the race. About a half mile in, I random older guy asked me if I was ready to speed up. I laughed, then made a little bit of a surge to keep up with him.
Mile 1 – 6:35
The second mile seemed to go by a little slower as the crowd started to thin out a little bit. I started trying to catch up and pass a few of the people in front of me, and was successful in maybe passing one or two at the very most. I tried to focus as much as I could on my breathing in order to keep my pace fairly steady. I ended up feeling pretty good the second mile, despite slowing down a little bit.
Mile 2 – 6:43
The third mile is when it really started to get tough for me, both physically and mentally. By the end of the third mile, you are out of the woods and can basically see the finish line. It seems like a lifetime away and it took everything in my power not to stop or slow down. The wind was also now coming at my face, and I could feel my hood trying to pull me backward. I was getting cold and tired and just ready to be done.
Mile 3 – 6:43
The last half mile was miserable for me. Once I got through my sweet spot at 3.1 miles, I started dragging. The wind was getting to me, and the fact that the finish line was so close and yet so far was really messing with my head. I ended up passing one more person before the finish, but I had nothing left in the tank to get one last kick in.
Mile 0.74 – 5:10
Finish Time – 25:12
Average Pace – 6:45/mile
I finished about 40 seconds slower than 2 years ago, but was overall pretty pleased with my time. My 5K time was right around 20:30, so I was at least able to see some progress from my last race 6 months ago. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn I finish 2nd overall and 1st in my age group, which strangely was 20-39 year olds.
Race #1 and my January race is now in the record books. On to the next one! Looking forward to a small 5K in February!