One of my job perks is a monthly wellness stipend that I can put towards a variety of health and fitness expenses, including race entry fees. I’m typically not much for racing because I psych myself out so much and worry that the race matters sa-hooo much. I’ve decided, then, to overcome my race fear with the brute force approach: sign up for races regularly so I become adapted to the idea that my race time actually doesn’t matter to anyone but me!
This month’s race was the Winter RUNderland 5K, held out at Crissy Field. Even though we’ve had several rainy days in December, the weather was clear and beautiful on race morning. I took the bus out to Crissy Field, picked up my race packet, and relaxed in the Presidio Sports Basement lounge area before the start time.
The race itself was a fun family affair. Most of the participants wore fun holiday garb: tacky sweaters, reindeer antlers, Santa hats, etc. I’m not sure anyone was going for a PR, which is probably good because the course started our extremely narrow, and I had to dodge several strollers and a few dogs on leashes. Still, who gets grumpy at a Christmas-themed race that blares holiday music through giant speakers? Um, no one.
The course was a Figure-8 around Crissy Field, which was flat as flat can be. I had run with the SFRRC and done a fair amount of walking the day before, so an easy course was fine with me. As usual, I tried to convince myself that I should just “run this race for fun,” when really what I should do is TRY TO RACE A DAMN RACE.
But once the horn sounded, I took off and started picking off people ahead of me, which made me feel like an asshole because so many merry-makers were just running the race for fun. I ran what felt like a challenging pace, but I realized that it probably more like an acceptable tempo pace, not quite 5K race-pace.
Really, there is nothing to note about this race (other than the fact that I had a stunning view of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge as I trotted along), and I don’t want to bore you with the nonexistent details.
In the last half mile or so, things were pretty thinned out, and I noticed a teenager running ahead of me. He was loping forward, with that stride that made him look like a basketball player and not a runner. As I approached, he started walking, so I said something cheerful and encouraging, like “Hey, great job! Let’s get to the finish!” He started running again and we carried on for a bit, side-by-side. At one point, he said, “We’re almost to the finish line. It’s right over there!”, a fact which I confirmed as I continued to advance towards a strong finish.
“C’mon, see if you can run with me,” he said, clearly flagging.
“Uh, okay,” I thought. As soon as I passed him, I think he started walking because I didn’t hear his breathing or footsteps anymore. I felt kind of guilty for perhaps demoralizing him, but I’m not sure where he got the idea that he was pulling me along….
The next guy I passed tried to catch up with me in the last .1 mile, so I surged ahead. Then LITERALLY WHEN I MADE MY FIRST STEP INTO THE FINISH CHUTE, he passed me. I was kind of bummed, but then, it’s kind of an inadvertent asshole thing that I do: not racing very hard and then putting in a very fast kick right at the end of the race. This being said, I didn’t say anything congratulatory to him when he flopped on the grass afterwards. He was wearing headphones, harumph.
My Garmin measured the course .06 miles short. Oh well. Holiday music!
So, yeah, I guess this race report is really me revealing all the judgmental thoughts I have when racing. Whoops. I did congratulate a woman in a faux Fairisle sweater top who had been running just a bit ahead of me in the last mile. Then she and her two companions told me that they had run 14 races together this year, which is cool! Maybe I can run 15 races in 2015. Yeah, probably not….
All in all, it was a fun way to start my Sunday (before the macaron class). I got a mug with the race logo, a pair of cheap sunglasses, a tire gauge (?!?), and a very intense medal (the caliber of which seems more appropriate for a full marathon distance).
It will soon join my other medals…sitting in a shoebox in my living room. Goal for 2015: Build a medal display for me and the Hus-friend!
Garmin Time: 25:35 (3.04 miles, 8:25 min./mile)
Race Time: 25:00 (8:22 min.mile)
More Stats: 39th overall, 14th of 189 women, 9th of 50 in AG