Monday, June 19, 2006

Trail Note: Race for the Cure

Another week, another 5k... Fortunately, this is my last one for a while. I was reading an article about training tips for 5K's and 10K's and they quoted a champion 5&10K runner who stated that the thing about a 5K is that you are uncomfortable the entire race. It's true. Unlike a longer race (10K, half marathon, marathon) where you run pretty comfortably for most of the race, a 5K hurts from the very beginning if you're giving it your all. I used to finish them with a lot left in my legs because I avoided that pain, but now I have a better guage on the right pace.

As always, the Race for the Cure is an amazing and moving event. Also amazing to me is how well organized the Seattle version is. There are multiple events, starting with a kid's race, then the women's only competitive 5K, the co-ed 5K run, a 1 K walk, and then the main event, the 5K walk. Because of all the different categories, the actual runs aren't that crowded. There were no lines for packet pick-up, we made our "in celebration of" signs without having to wait for pens or table space, and there were no lines for the actual indoor restrooms. Yeah, Seahawk's Stadium!

I did the women-only race and Jeff ran the co-ed run. The course runs from 1st avenue by the stadiums north onto the Southbound lanes of the viaduct, off the Western avenue onramp, then back south on the Western avenue offramp onto the northbound lanes of the viaduct. While the course is mostly flat, those on- and off-ramps have a painful incline. After the first hill the crowd thinned out and we were mostly running single file or in small clumps of 2 or 3 runners. After the second hill, I was marking another runner, and we passed each other a few times on the subsequent ups and downs until we were past the halfway point running south. We then ran side by side, not talking, for the next mile or so. At one point she said something about 23; I though she was asking what pier we were running by, but then she repeated "let's finish under 23."

About the point I passed the 2 mile marker, I was really starting to hurt and was seriously thinking about slowing down. At that point, however, with only a mile left, it was too late to slow down. I could hang in for another mile. And so the mental game played out for the next mile: "Okay, you'll be done in less than 5 minutes, can't slow down now." "Just that downhill and a bit left; you can make it." My running buddy took off as we hit the off-ramp and the final click or so of the race. I kept her in sight, though, and finished in 22:50, 20 seconds slower than last year's PR, but still pretty fast for me (7:22 pace), especially considering that I haven't been running that much the past 2 months.

After passing the finish line, I kept running toward the stadium where all of the sponsors were located with their giveaways. I was determined to get a bandanna after last year's disappointment. After circling around the tents, I finally followed the crowd and picked up a couple of this year's version: really pretty pink bandanna / scarves. I was then able to make it back to the finish line in time to see Jeff finish his race. Overall, a great morning.


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