It appears that it was silly of me to register for each Al Goldstein race instead of getting a series bib, seeing how I ran all but one of them. This is because the sixth one was canceled due to the weather… after I had spent all day freaking out over it, since that’s what you’re supposed to do on the day of a race. Total waste of anxiety. (I did get a nice tempo run out of it, though. In a deluge.)
Noah was supposed to pace me in that one, so we took a literal rain check on it.
Given that I accomplished my goal for the summer with the first Al Goldstein race, any PR at all would be a nice bonus. But since I do love to put added pressure on myself, I chose a ridiculous A goal, with “PR” as a B goal. And I told Noah not to let me know what he was doing, because my plan was just to follow him blindly and not look at my watch, so as to avoid the disaster that ensued when I attempted to follow Henrik. I mean, I did follow Henrik. You can “follow” someone and finish several minutes behind them, which is fully what I was expecting to happen here.
It was almost twenty degrees warmer than the first Al Goldstein race, and that one was also partly cloudy. Well. This should be fun…
My only input to this pace plan was that I did not want to go too fast up the hill, because it took me a full season to figure it out, but that will kill me. “So, like… 6:40?” And then I covered my ears because “la la la, I am not involved!”
There was a false start when the horn was blown early… then didn’t blow at all when we actually started. That was weird. And then I got caught up in a bunch of people who were all but stumbling over one another, and I didn’t want to start weaving all over the place, so I was scrambling to catch up to Noah right from the get-go. But I finally did, and he asked how I was feeling, and my unsociable response was, “Not talk-able.” Which isn’t even a word.
People were streaming past us on the way up the hill, of course, but he assured me that that was okay, since we’d catch up to them later. I mean, not all of them, but a lot of them. (Yes, this I know, having learned the hard way.)
Even so, I was pretty much toast before the first mile was done. Being told that you’re right on pace at one mile is a frightening thought when there are still more than two to go and you’re already halfway dead! I did remember the whole “use your arms when your legs won’t do it” thing, but, well, there’s only so long you can do that.
There was a water station around the midway point. This is unusual — there generally isn’t one. But it meant that I got a photo taken by Kristen, so that you can see me lurching along behind Noah, whom you can’t actually really see because someone is blocking him. But the point is: I’m following him. Which is what I was supposed to be doing, I guess.
That guy right in front of me in the Whippets singlet? I was tripping over his heels and it was annoying me, so I passed him. I don’t think he liked that, because he sped up afterwards, but it wasn’t under my feet, so I didn’t really care. Gah.
The last mile is always brutal. I know this. Hearing that you have only five minutes more to go is hardly a comfort when it feels like you’re going to have a heart attack within the next thirty seconds. Someone running with one of those annoying talking GPS systems passed me at some point, and he was running 6:24/mi, so I figured that if I had been on pace until then, as long as I didn’t let him get too far away from me, I would at least PR.
Because I didn’t know whether I was running A goal pace or B goal pace, I didn’t know if, “You’re almost there, but not quite” meant that I would PR but miss an ambitious goal, or that I wouldn’t PR at all. I should have considered this beforehand, but I’m an idiot. Though I figured it was probably B goal pace when Noah told me, about a minute after he had said that there were 800 meters remaining, that now is the time to sprint. Are you insane?! (I didn’t say that. What I did say was, “I can’t do it.” And then I realized that I should shut up and spend more effort running and less effort talking.)
Just past the three mile mark, the finish line came into sight. Somehow or other, I started to speed up a bit, because that’s what happens when I see a finish line, even when I can’t quite read the clock yet. When I finally could make out the numbers, I saw 20:12, and Noah looking over his shoulder at me rather worriedly, and then I started sprinting like a crazy person, because if I got this close to a PR and missed, I would hate myself forever (more than I already do).
The clock display flipped over to 20:30 just as I crossed the mat. And I did not start in the very first row. So I got a PR.
How I managed to do that, I have absolutely no idea. Before the race, I said that I really had no desire to experience the level of pain inherent in a 5K PR. Which was true. And it hurt like hell. But after the fact, of course I’m glad I did it!
Garmin: 3.11 miles in 20:27, 6:35/mi.
Officially, 3.1 miles in 20:24, 6:35/mi. 88/517 OA, 7/218 F, and 1/58 F30-34. I was shocked that I placed in my AG, because there was big turnout, probably because it was the last race of the series and because all the people who were registered for the previous canceled race earned automatic entry into this one. But I was extra happy that I did place, since Al Goldstein himself was there to hand out the medals, and I got a photo with him!
(Jana finished second female overall and was paced to a PR by Shan. We’re like elites, she says. Ha.)
Am I upset to have not reached that ridiculous A goal? No, not really… because it was ridiculous. I never really believed that I could PR at all, so I’m good with this. And most importantly: I appear to be intact!
It’s good to have friends and teammates who are faster than you.
And for a laugh… the McMillan prediction game!
1mi — 5:52.6
4mi — 26:31 (6:38/mi)
5mi — 33:50 (6:46/mi)
10K — 42:22 (6:49/mi)
15K — 1:05:38 (7:03/mi)
10mi — 1:10:49 (7:05/mi)
HM — 1:34:27 (7:13/mi)
FM — 3:18:47 (7:35/mi)