Patrick’s Day 5k RR I was very tempted to give this a Friends style title “The One Where…" but it would give away the best part of the story so you’ll just have to read
Last year this was the first local race cancelled, just 3 days out. Normally this is a 5 mile race held in downtown St. Louis, but this year it was shortened to a 5k and held at Forest Park. I had not signed up for the race last year because I felt like it was too close to the Asheville Marathon. This year it was set up to run in spaced out waves of no more than 50 runners every 15 minutes from 8am to 10am. Within each wave they started two people every 10-20 seconds. They were not time based (any pace could sign up for any wave). I was in the second wave. I really am not feeling speedy right now, and 5ks are not my strongest distance anyway, but it was nice to have another opportunity to race in person, and it was time I tried a 5k again. My goal was under 28 minutes.
I lined up when they told us to, and was in about the 10th pair of runners to start. The start was downhill and I felt pretty good, but the 5k burn set in quickly. The race started at the upper Muny parking lot, and then went down and back up again toward the Jewel Box on an out and back. I was gradually passing people who had started ahead of me. After the out and back we ran along the upper ball fields which have recently be redone, and have a really nice year-round bathroom but there was no stopping today! I continued to pass people one or two at a time – which surprised me a little since we started so spread out, but I wasn’t complaining. My pace wasn’t great for me, I already knew I was going to be way off my PR (26:36) and that going under 28 was still possible but going to be really close at best. We did another out and back toward the Science Center and I passed a pair of walkers (from the first wave, maybe?) and after that I could only see one more pair of runners in front of me. I was pretty far back but slowly closing the distance. Just after mile 2 I was able to pass them, and I found myself in a position that has never happened to me in a 5k, there was absolutely no one in front of me anywhere in sight. (It has happened in a couple of smaller marathons where at my pace it gets very spread out, which was unnerving in South Dakota, when the gravel rails to trails trail was under construction and I wasn’t even sure where the course went…) This time the route was well enough marked I was confident I was in the right place, but it also felt much more like…actually leading a race. For someone who was running around a 9mm and knew it, it was very weird. And it got weirder…as I passed around the 2.5 mile mark the course turned and there were two course marshals sitting there, one of them on one of those little mini-bikes the Shriner’s use in parades (I think he probably was a Shriner, it looked like he was wearing one of their “Police” costumes they use in parades sometimes). He started up his mini-bike and…became my lead vehicle! And it wasn’t just because he decided he wanted to move to another spot to course marshal – he actually looked back and drove at my pace in front of me until I made the turn for the finish. As I turned for the finish the course went back uphill (it’s the “Upper” Muny Parking lot for a reason) I heard someone running behind me. I thought, poop, this person is going to be the only person (I think) to pass me this whole race and they are going to do it at the finish. I didn’t have enough in me to speed up, and sure enough, just before we got the finishing chutes, they guy ran past me, very casually, he didn’t even seem to be running that hard. I finished in 28:02. JUST missed my goal…it was that uphill finish (and possibly having no one to chase for over half a mile). I was 26th in my AG. 10 year AGs, but of the top 3 women ALL of them were 30-39. Of the top 6, 5 were 30-39. So it was a weird but fun race. And really nice to do a real race again. To round out my miles for the day I ran a 2 mile cool down. I also ran almost 3 miles as warm up to get almost 8 for the day. Still a cutback week, but I was as tired after those miles as the 12 the week before.
Edited by amarie2009