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2010 Run for the Pineapple 5k

June 1, 2010

Bib Number: 436
Overall Placement: 102 / 500 (20.4%)
Age Group Placement: 5 / 48 (10.4%)
Gender Placement: 30 / 309 (9.7%)
Chip Time: 24:42

Almost didn’t run the race yesterday. Little G sent a text on Sunday, saying instead of racing we could just stay and run around town. I realized that would mean (a) sleeping in, (b) saving $35, and (c) lowering the risk of aggravating Little G’s Boston injury. But I really wanted to race, this race specifically. It’s one of maybe three races that I’ve run every year.

Typical unselfish Little G, she agreed to go to the race with me. She came to get me at 5:30 and we talked about her daughter’s wedding all the way up–the same wedding I had to miss because the Monkey was flying with a fever on Saturday night.

Got to the race site a little after 6 and found out they only had L, XL, and XXL shirts left–for a change.¹ But the upside was that instead of paying $35 and getting a shirt, we were given the option of paying only $30 and not getting yet another race shirt. I was thrilled.²

We went back to the car to drop off our $5 and pick up water and gels.

We ambled back across the street to the race course and started warming up–at 6:30, it was way too early to go potty or have our gels. We saw a few course markers and decided to run on what we figured out later was the back half of the course. We knew we were doing a longer-than-usual warm-up, but we both said we were okay with that. Talking through our race goals, it turned out neither one of us was going for a PR that day; we were treating the race more like a tempo run than a true race.

After our warm-up we had just enough time to hit the porta-potties and ingest our gels before getting in the crowd for the start. Having learned my lesson last year that this is the kind of chip-timing that only gets your clock time when you cross the finish (as opposed to marking both your start AND your finish), we got pretty close to the front of the pack.

Of course our position meant we got passed a little bit at the start of the race, but at least we didn’t have to weave through walkers, and I got passed less than I would have expected. Though I wasn’t trying to keep up with Little G, I had her in my sights the entire time. For maybe the first quarter-mile we were together, and then she started to pull ahead. But I was already running faster than I had planned–about 8:15 instead of my planned 8:30–and allowed her to get ahead of me, all the while watching and following her.

I remember saying last year that this race was the longest 5k of my year, and so it surprised me how quickly the one-mile marker came upon me. I was also surprised that, though the last two years I’ve found this race unbelievably hilly, I only noticed two inclines, and going down them was infinitely more difficult than going up them–I had to really watch my footstrike as we pushed downhill.

We hit the final straightaway and I knew it was time to go to work. I could actually see people slowing down, and I vowed not to be one of them. I started gaining on–and passing–people I’d been pacing off of–I even started to reel Little G in a little bit, and if I’d had another quarter-mile I would have caught her.

In the end, I finished in 24:42. First mile at 8:05, second at 8:04, third at 7:45. I’m wholly satisfied with how tough I ran, especially knowing that I didn’t come to the line preparing to race. Even my failure to place can’t dampen my joy.

The first time I ran this race, in 2008, I finished in 27:34. Last year, I ran it in 25:59. And both years, by the time I hit the summer’s last 5k at the end of July, I’d been close to 70 seconds faster.

And do you know what 70 seconds off yesterday’s race time is? It’s awfully close to my 23:28 5k PR. Just sayin’.

¹Really. It’s a rare race I do that still has small shirts left when I get to the registration table, generally one hour or more before chip time. So here’s my rant: haven’t RDs figured this out yet? I have. It’s not your typical population, people. Many runners are “out of shape” if, like me, they have body fat anywhere upwards of 20%. So why aren’t we ordering more small shirts? Or–just an idea here–even extra smalls? Okay, rant over.

²Rant not quite over. At most races, when I get to the table and they have no shirts that would fit me at all, instead of simply getting a medium that I could wear only for pajamas, I go ahead and order an extra large, the Boss’s preferred t-shirt size. So now the Boss very happily waves to runners everywhere, feeling very connected to race-runners everywhere. He doesn’t need one more shirt.

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