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Run for the Pineapple 5k

May 26, 2009

Bib Number: 420
Overall Placement: 146/381 (39%)
Age Group Placement: 6/25 (24%)
Gender Placement: 45/210 (21%)
Chip Time: 25:59

Ran with Little G on Friday morning, a quick, hot, and humid six miles that left us both tired and spent. In fact, when our Garmins trilled the end of the six miles at the top of my street, we both agreed to walk the two blocks home–we just couldn’t bear the thought of another running step.

As per my own previously-designed running schedule for the week, I was supposed to be running easy Tuesday and Thursday and running long Saturday, so the unscheduled tempo run Friday was completely out of the program. I threw the long run out the window and decided to rest until Monday’s race.

On my way to meet with my group of high school girls at church on Sunday, I decided to call my friend M and ask her if she’d be interested in running the race with me. She was! I was thrilled to have company, not only because the race was thirty minutes and one county north but because I love M and look forward to any time in her company.

We arrived at the race with just enough time to register, grab our shirts, return them to the car, and line up well at the back of the rather large pack of race participants. I noticed right away that, though the fact that the race was being chip-timed for the first time ever had raced the entry fee by $10 ($30 for a 5k? Outrageous, right?), the crowd seemed much larger than last year.

M and I agreed to meet at the end of the race. Though I knew I wasn’t going to set any PRs at this race, I was hoping to at least hold an 8:30 pace, while M has been running only sporadically and was treating the race more as a fun run.

When the “gun”* went off, I found myself zig zagging through quite a pack of steady but slower runners for the first half-mile. As I progressed, I finally found myself hitting the hoped-for 8:30 pace and trying to hold it through the heat, what we Floridians have the nerve to call hills, and my own less-than-adequate speed training.

This race always seems to me to be the longest 5k of my life. It’s loopy, run on a course that resembles a letter B, and when you finally reach that final straightaway for the last mile, it feels, at least for me, like eternity until you finally catch sight of the finish line. Though in the end Garmie proved that I was picking up my pace steadily even in that last mile, it took every ounce of energy I had to do it.

runpineI crossed the line racing against everybody around me, knowing I was far from a PR but, true to form, racing anyway. I am absolutely incapable of running a race any other way, and to every runner out there who takes offense at my hard-charging manner, my apologies if I’ve passed you fifty yards from the chute and you thought I held back in the first mile just to hot dog it in front of my sweetheart, I promise I do not. As in most cases, in this race I could not bend over to retrieve my own chip, as I had in fact spent all my energy over that last mile and into the race finish.

It broke my heart to know how poorly I had finished: my chip time (can’t even blame it on the clock) is more than two minutes worse than my PR at the distance. However, I know that I am unlikely to ever PR at this race. It’s held in May, when I’m always trying to acclimatize to the heat, and I’m always in the middle of my offseason, having peaked in my training in February or March, so I don’t come to the line speed-ready.

I finished feeling spent, at least, knowing that I’d left it all on the course. I got water and went back to cheer for M. Together we got Gatorade and pizza, knowing our $30 had been well-spent on a post-race food-fest and plenty of fluids for a May sweat-a-thon.

I don’t care how poorly I perform at this race every year; I plan to keep it on my calendar. It’s scenic, loopy, hilly, and fun, and I intend to finally tell its organizers what a great event it is. Keep that pineapple rolling!

Oh, and did I mention, all finishers got a medal? Yee-haw!

*The gun, in this case, was the voice of the RD, completely inaudible to those of us at the back of the pack, saying “Ready, Set, Go!” It’s priceless, indeed.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2009 4:26 am

    keep that competitive spirit alive! it doesn’t matter what time you clock, as long as you are consistently challenging yourself. the heat/humidity are a beast right now – not sure i could race a 5k at this time of the year! (i already want to drop out after 1 mile, 5k’s just hurt so much worse than a longer race) 🙂 sounds like you had a fun time and finished strong, and a medal is always nice too.

  2. the Ringmaster permalink*
    May 27, 2009 1:10 pm

    Thank you, Lindsay; that means a lot, coming from a runner as good as you! You’re right–I did have a good time, and this is why I run, after all.

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  1. 2010 Run for the Pineapple 5k « Mile By Mile

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