Moving right along… we raced again on Saturday at the Mount Albert Sports Day 5K, a new one for me. The run starts and finishes alongside the fair grounds, and athletes are encouraged to “Come for the run, stay for the fair!” We lucked out with a beautiful sunny and comfortably cool morning, so we did just that.
We scoped out some of the course during our 3K warm-up and quickly realized it wasn’t going to be the flat route we expected. I knew a PB wasn’t realistic, but I thought something around 21:00 should be doable based on recent paces.
The race draws a fast field with lots of youth track clubs, so I expected it to be a fast start and didn’t worry too much about lining up behind a few rows of kids. Turns out, that was a mistake. The first couple hundred metres were mayhem, trying to get around people without trampling anyone. To make it extra chaotic, there’s a fairly steep climb into a sharp left turn right out of the gates. Oof! The way was clear after that, but the hills continued.
KM 1: 4:19
We had an out-and-back stretch on a rolling country road to the turn-around at 2K and it wasn’t long before I could see the lead pack headed back toward me. It was fun to see Andy as well as Instagram-friend Erin for waves and cheers as I made my way to the turn. They were both looking strong near the front of the field.
KM 2: 4:21
I felt like I was pushing as hard as I could, maintaining effort up the hills and reminding myself not to let up, then trying to barrel down the other side to make up valuable seconds. I didn’t think the numbers on my watch were reflecting my output but there wasn’t much to do about that except keep plugging along (and stop %*&#ing looking at my watch, as Andy would tell me. Lol).
KM 3: 4:22
At the 3K mark we turned into a residential neighbourhood for a long loop to the finish and I knew from our warm-up that the worst of the hills were over. Unfortunately I was pretty much spent and didn’t think there was a hope in hell of picking it up, so I just tried to hold on. I found myself neck-and-neck with Tyler (whose name I learned learned later when we officially met in the food line) and hung on his tail for a while. I made a move to pass a few times but he always fought back and we found ourselves jockeying for position through most of the final 2 kilometres.
KM 4: 4:21
“Racing” against Tyler actually made the time fly by and suddenly we were making the final turn. I had gained a few steps on him but he flew past me on the home stretch yelling “Let’s go!” as he did so. I tried to chase him but there was nothing to give as I ran down the chute seeing the clock tick over to 22:xx.
KM 5: 4:19 (+80m garmin nubbin: 0:18)
I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the result and may have chucked my water bottle in the ditch during a minor hissy fit (not going to live that one down…). That being said, I put in a solid effort, my splits were consistent and I placed very well so it’s still a good day at the races! And then we went to the fair to eat ice cream and get dizzy on spinny rides. 🙂