Sunday, January 12, 2014

Nor Cal 10 Miler Series 5k

That was so much more fun than I thought it would be. I spent most of yesterday with a headache which did nothing for my mood. To top it off I slept terribly, waking up every one to two hours. Finally at 5am I gave up and just got out of bed. I didn't have any plans for today's race other than to just have a good run and enjoy myself. That was proving hard to do with a headache and lack of sleep.

As I left the house way ahead of schedule, in the dark, I realized that I was actually very tired. This made the drive to Foster City seem to last FOREVER.

Once I arrived I found myself faced with every side of the four way intersection coned off. I was super confused with where to go and since I was so early there was no one out directing traffic or any signs to give me a clue as to where I could or should go. I ended up driving too far, making a u-turn and heading back to the building where I was pretty sure I was supposed to park. I went to turn into the driveway only to find cones blocking the driveway. Um, how am I supposed to get into the parking garage??? I ran over the cones, yes, I really did. Maybe not exactly ran over them, but I squeezed passed them and I have may have knocked one over in the process, but it was dark, I couldn't tell for sure. Once I got into the garage, I circled around several times trying to get my bearings and figure out the best parking spot, I realized that it felt slightly creepy to be all alone in the garage. I decided to go scope out the start area and hopefully find some bathrooms. I arrived 30 minutes prior to packet pick-up, and I got some strange looks for apparently looking creepy while lurking in the dark, trying to scope out port-a-potties. I went back to my car and waited until 7am for packet pick-up to be ready and not be creepy.

On my second trip over I was able to quickly get my bib and sit around and wait for the building to open up that had the bathrooms. By this time, I really had to go. Thankfully I got up to walk around and realized the doors to the other side of the building were open and found bathrooms! Yay! With that I went back to my car to stay out of the cold.

I sat in my car, with the seat warmers on and waited until Mary Sue arrived. With 30 minutes until the race start we headed over to get ready. I did a very quick and short warm-up run and some stretches. It was enough to loosen up my ankles and honestly I wasn't really concerned because I was grumpy and wasn't planning on going out hard. As we lined up it became clear to us that at least 2/3 of the folks were running the 10 miler and only a small group of us were running the 5k. The 5k folks lined up behind the 10 miler runners, which I was totally okay with. Even when I had to pass a lot of those runners at the start. Hey, they were running 10 miles, they needed to pace themselves.

The path along the street was nice and wide and totally flat. I found a pace and settled in. I tried not to look at my pace on my watch, I did occasionally check the distance to gauge where I was and how the course was panning out. When I saw the first male 5k runner heading back, I started to pay attention. I like to keep myself occupied and I like to watch the leaders. When I saw the first place woman go by I started counting spots. Up ahead I could see the 5k turn-around and thought to myself "that's early". I had the thought that the course might end up being short depending on what our return route looked like. The next thought that occurred to me was that I was in 10th place in the women's division. Wow, I wonder if I can hold that. My question was answered at 1.77 miles when a 12 year old passed me. She didn't look 12 to me though,
I was sure she was older. I had seen her running with her Dad after I passed the turn-around and said to myself "she'll pass me". I didn't realize she was 12 until I saw the results. Shortly after that I was passed by another woman. I kept my eyes on the ladies in front of me hoping that I could stick with at least one of them long enough to make a pass at the end.

As I saw the finish line approaching, I started thinking about my game plan. I should have enough in the tank to sprint at the end and I had been keeping this woman in a white jacket who had passed me earlier in my sights, I was gaining on her. I was still thinking the course was going to be short until I realized we weren't running straight back up to the finish line, we would run past it and make a u-turn and come back in. Good thing I hadn't started sprinting yet. At this point I just stayed on the heels of the woman in front of me. I didn't want to pass her too early only to have her feel competitive and take me at the finish line. So I just stayed literally right behind her. Then without any warning she slowed to walk. Oh crap! I quickly dodged left but still managed to hit her in the shoulder. I apologized as I ran past and at least felt good about being in 11th. At this point I looked at my watch and realized I could earn a PR if I wanted it. It hadn't been the plan, but why not. I picked up my pace as I did, I could see a shadow approaching me and realized it was the woman I had passed, so I pushed harder and watched her shadow fall away. I sprinted across the finish line for a 29:41 finish and a 13 second PR.

Well that felt good. Maybe I should plan all of my races like that and I wouldn't be such a basket case pre-race. I headed over to gear check to get my bag and collect my race shirt. The race director asked my how the course was and I said it was great, except for the fake out at the end. i was told this was done so that we wouldn't have to cross a really large and busy intersection further out. Made total sense, and I really had no complaints about it.

As I came back over I saw the woman I had passed and gave her a thank you. I told her I was pacing right behind her and appreciated having someone to keep me going. Turns out she also earned a PR, so it was a good day for both of us.

After a quick look at the results I realized I had placed 3rd in my age group! The two people in front of me were ages 30 and 33, practically babies in comparison to my 38! Being that this was a small inaugural event there were no AG awards, but the race director was kind enough to give me a print out of the results showing I placed to make it all official! Thanks Gene!

Overall a great event and a great course. I would do this race again next year knowing that it is a super flat and fast, a great course to earn a PR on.

3/10 AG
11/56 Div
28/86 OA

We'll do it again in two weeks! 

A copy of the official results showing I'm 3rd in my AG


  1. I love love love this! The PR, that you counted where you were in the race, everything!

  2. What a great way to start the year - a brand new PR without really trying! Congratulations! It was a fun morning.

  3. Nice job catching your woman! Congratulations on the PR!