The only reason I did this race was because it fit into my training schedule better than any other option (and I was forced because another race up and decided to move its race date). And I did this race despite past grudges. All of this notwithstanding, the race drew a nice crowd of 370 runners. The weather was a chilly 33 degrees and snowflakes were descending, but not accumulating, under completely grey skies. Perfectly acceptable race weather. I had a soft goal of getting around 19:50, thereby greatly improving from the disaster that was the Super Bowl 5K.
At the gun, the crowd got a bit pushy and I almost bit it hard. Fortunately another runner was pushed into me and we helped each other maintain our balance. Thank you random race guy, I appreciate it.
There are no meaningful hills on this course, so I knew I wanted to give a strong start and try to maintain. The crowd thinned rather quickly and I was moving briskly along listening to my race 5K mix. As I approached the first mile, there was only a volunteer announcing times (as oppose to a clock prominently displaying the time). I decided to take this as a sign to not look at Garmin but to focus instead on keeping a steady pace (which I failed to do anyway, as Garmin later told me I added 20 second to my second mile). I just wanted to keep running hard but not crazy hard.
Then entire second mile I was slowly reeling in white-shirt-green-shorts-guy (wsgsg), but shortly after the start of the third mile I was unexpectedly passed by red-hair-college-kid (rhck). I do not like being passed, but I knew that this was not the time to make my move. Instead I did a slight increase and used rhck as a means of catching wsgsg—keeping in mind Viper’s post about passing with authority.
Around the mid-way point of the third mile, as rhck was passing wsgsg, I passed them both, putting the accelerator down for a few meters and stomping on their sprits as I ran by. I then summoned everything I had to bring the hammer at the end of the race (and still without any idea of time).
As I rounded the last turn I saw the finish line and was surprised to see the clock was well under 19 minutes, inspiring me to pour it on for the last .1ish. As I crossed the finish I couldn’t help but think that I had surely earned an AG award.
This good feeling and cocky assumption kept me from quickly starting the remaining six miles I still had to complete. So, instead I stood around not stretching and eating ‘victory’ bagels while waiting for the race results. Of course, they were taking their sweet time and about 45 minutes elapsed before I heard the results were posted. Not caring about this delay because of my forthcoming bling, I sauntered over to see how I faired in my age group.
And that is when I learned that my age group was from 18-49. No joke, 18-49. I’m pretty sure someone saw me kissing my imaginary AG award goodbye. Just as I was on the verge of forgiving the Shamrock 5K for its prior transgressions a new and grave insult was struck. I mean, most age groups are in 5 year clumps, sometimes they are 10 year clumps, but a 32 year age group. I hate you Shamrock 5K, you are my enemy once more.