St Pete Grand Prix 5k
Goal time (aided): 15:00
Final time (aided): 14:58
Course: The course itself is awesome! However, the course is notorious for being short. Tons of twists and turns (it is a race car track set up in St Pete) all fenced in with barriers, road blocks, and the course starts and finishes on the beautiful waterfront of St Pete. I have spoken to the race director a couple of times who assured me it was 5k, but she is definitely not correct. I'd give it a max of 3.07, but more likely 3.04-3.05. It is frustrating when race directors aren't even close to accurate- 100-110 meters makes a big difference in a race only 5k long. It is even more frustrating when they call it a "5k". I guess "4.9k" doesn't have the same ring to it.
Race- I went out on fire with nothing to lose- short course, C race, no tapering, knowing I wanted every mile under 5 minutes. After about 10 seconds, a twenty-year-old ran out ahead of me- now, we're in business. He had runner shorts, a tank top, head band- he had the look! He ran the first quarter in 1:10, and the second quarter in 1:12. Wow, 2:22 for the first 800! I couldn't help it, I fell right into the speed trap about two steps behind him, but knew I had more. I was confident that this gentleman was in for rude awakening based on his breathing pattern, but who knows, I've been wrong before! We rolled through mile 1 in 4:49 and he was about 1-2 seconds ahead- way too fast, but, whatever, I was enjoying the challenge.
Mile 2- I passed him right about here. Oh man was trying to hang on, but I kept it fast. I rolled through the next half mile in 2:25 and entered the first 180 degree U-turn in pit row. He was definitely faltering here- about 15 seconds back- so I tried to relax a little, moving through mile two in 4:54. I knew I was about to pay the price, but forget it, it was worth it... at the time.
Mile 3- This mile was cool, although I was feeling the fitness falter, especially running solo again. The pit crews, family, car riders, etc. were all watching/drinking/talking trash while outside the fences, so that was motivating. The frequent turns were a pain- I can't even imagine having to do that in a machine capable of such high speeds. 5:01 overall for this mile.
The finish: I glided through with 14:58 on the clock and still had energy left, which is always a cool feeling in a 5k- I'm usually beat. I finished with a 4:55 per mile average overall, and a 4:49-4:50/mile average is needed to break 15:00, so again- bogus course. The guy who had been running with me finished in 15:57 or so.
Final thoughts: I had 3.06 for the distance on my watch, but I didn't care- I knew the type of race I was getting into, so I wasn't angry. It was worth it to see "14:xx" on the clock down the last straight. The weather turns pretty poor from here on out in Florida, but I may take another stab at a couple of races before Boston, however my main focus will be the marathon, so it will just be a no tapering scenario for them.
I think on this day (had the course been long enough) it would have been interesting to see what I would have done if the course was certified. Alas, it was not, so all I've got is a fun story that I hopefully won't embellish with time!