I had never done a 4th of July run before and when I found out I was going to be in town and I had no plans for the morning, I decided to sign up for the Freedom 5000 in Claremont, CA. I asked Jason what he thought about me racing it and we decided it was too soon after the Seattle Rock & Roll (and my 15 miler on Saturday) to race it all out. We decided I would treat it like a tempo run (8:15-8:30 miles). That was the plan anyway. My last 5K was in April 2009 and I finished it in 51:31. So, I was pretty sure I would get a PR during this. Barring a major mishap, of course.
I picked up my bib at Memorial Park on Saturday and I saw that people had already staked out their spots for the parade. I figured that parking would be a hard to come by in the morning so I decided to ride my bike over. Not only would it be better parking wise, but it would help me warm up for the race. And maybe tire me out a little so I wouldn't be tempted to race all out.
I woke up at 5 and ate my favorite breakfast (orange juice, a banana, and yogurt & grapenuts) then got ready for my race. I left my apartment at 6:30. It was only 9 miles over to the park but I wanted to get there early to watch the 1K fun run and then do a good warm up. I got there in plenty of time and locked up my bike & helmet and headed over to the start.
The kids were a riot. So much energy and enthusiasm. The cutest was this little guy who stopped in the middle of the street to inspect a man whole cover w/ his father lamenting about how he’d lost focus. Not often a kid gets to play in the street and he took full advantage of it. Good for him. :) After the kids headed out, I did a standard warm up and then ran a mile to get the legs ready to roll. Then it was 8 (and warm!) and time run!
This wasn't a chipped race so when the gun went off, I was a little confused about where the start line was. After a few seconds I hit start on my Garmin and moved out with the crowd of 1,352 (1,088 runners and 264 walkers). It was a mess at the start but eventually, I got into some open room and settled in. They were calling out our splits at each mile and at mile 1 my split was at 8:30 which was about where I should be. The next mile had a lot of downhill and I was feeling great. As I went by, they called out my split – 15:58. Oops, too fast! I remember thinking “I’m going to be in trouble with Jason!”. But the last mile had a little uphill so I figured I would naturally slow down a little. Everything still felt good. I was a little hot but I knew it would be over soon so just kept going. Then we rounded the corner for the last .1 and I saw a woman in front of me. I thought to myself “She looks like she’s in my age group, reel her in.” So I picked it up and did just that. Crossed the line in 24:59. Done! And a PR. A little faster than expected but a good, solid effort and my tempo run for the week!
Later when I checked the results, I saw that the woman I’d passed WAS in my age group. Ha! That finishing kick was well worth it! So here are the stats: 4/51 for my age group, 48/552 for women, and 223/1088 overall. Not a bad way to spend the 4th of July. I think I’m going to have to do this more often.
I finally rode home about 10 am and it was dang hot by then. Still, rather ride than drive. And anyway, it made eating 4th of July food much less of a guilty pleasure. :)
Hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July!