37 degrees and spitting rain.
In other words, a fantastic day for racing!
This was the third year in a row that I ran the Tortoise and Hare Ann Arbor Turkey Trot. It was at this race in 2006 that I commenced Phase II of my running life by finishing-- without walking!-- in a time of 32:58. Last year, with substantially more running under my belt, I finished in 25:01. This year, having already broken my 5K PR twice, run another half marathon and my first marathon, I didn't really know what to expect. I haven't run a 5K race since June. I've backed off from the high mileage weeks I was putting in before the marathon (though I ran 28 miles last week, which isn't exactly skimping on the miles) and I haven't been concentrating on speed work (my warm afternoon of 800s notwithstanding). I just wanted to get out and have a good time and whatever happened, happened.
The first thing that happened is I saw one of my RF501 training group partners, Ted of the Blue Shirt. I miss seeing everyone from the group every week now that the training season is over so that was a nice surprise.
The local high school cross country teams were out in full force, as they always seem to be for this particular race. Indeed, one of the standouts from Saline High School won the women's race with a time of 18:21.
I inserted myself into the pack close to the front because this was one of those races with a chip mat only at the end so the closer I was to the starting line, the more accurate my time would be. It was astoundingly cold so I bounced up and down in place to keep limber.
I did the first mile in 7:30 and held that pace or even slightly better for the rest of the race. This was a novel development, as I am overly prone to going out too fast and then fading with each successive mile. I didn't feel that drain this morning. I felt strong for the duration and cruised to a time of 23:10 (Garmy said 23:04, but whatever) which was good enough for third in my age group. Immediately after the race I saw Kara, another one of my RF501 comrades, who totally rocked her 5K (you go girl!).
I improved my time over last year's by 1:51 and ran my second-fastest 5K ever. Not bad for a Sunday stroll in the park. I also shaved my Shave Your 5K Challenge Stubble Time (23:19) by nine seconds, which was, let's be honest, my primary goal today. Even if I fail to reduce the stubble any more for the rest of the year, I can say I pared 9 seconds off my stubble time.
23:10 (7:28/mile average)
3/33 age group, award-worthy, though I don't know what I won since I didn't want to stand around freezing my ass off waiting for the 10K to finish
86/376 overall (I don't know about my place among the women)
Second-fastest 5K time ever!
2 friends/fellow runners encountered
ZERO: Race T-shirt, as I was not one of the first 600 participants because I uncharacteristically did not preregister (adopting a "wait and see approach" to the weather situation) and therefore, doing race day registration and becoming participant #662, I did not receive a race shirt, which really irked me for two reasons: one, because THERE WERE BOXES OF THEM STILL LYING AROUND AFTER THE RACE, and, two, because this year's shirt was a technical tee in a choice of colors, which was a vast improvement over last year's lackluster heather-grey cotton tee which is the most boring race shirt I have in my collection.
Additionally, I think that as an age-group award winner I should get a goddamn race shirt on principle.