warm up: 0.81 mi, 8:45, 10:45
Race: 3.11, 20:42, 6:39 avg
I was very apprehensive about this race as I didn't think I could move my legs anywhere close to what I'd consider my 5k pace. Also, it was supposed to be raining and in the high 60's. I wasn't sure if I'd be cold from the drizzle or warm from the humidity. But, I was in for a pleasant surprise. I picked up Thomas from Jenny's house about 5:30 and we got down there just after 6:00, parking at my favorite "secret" spot near the start line. It was early and still dark when we first got there so we hung out for a bit and then I took a trip to the POPs. Just after 6:30 we headed toward the start. I did some warm up and Thomas did his own thing. When I got back he had met up with a couple of the cross country kids (Spencer and Logan). I ran into Dixie (I think I had not seen him since the wedding). He said he was going to hang on behind me as long as he could. There was pretty much no rain at this point, just a little here and there. It was feeling a bit warm though, hovering near 70 degrees with the humidity you get when it's drizzly.
The race started, and the usual Turkey Trot mayhem ensued, with people blocking me while others went around me, little kids going out way too fast. After about a 1/4 mile the chaos settles down a little bit. Crowd is still thick, but people are more or less running the pace they are going to run. Thomas is nowhere to be seen, I'm sure some pretty far ahead by now. Finisher's mugs go to top 125 runners. I scanned ahead as we went down the hill to see how long the line of runners was ahead of me - it was pretty far. I was getting into a groove of passing people, my pace was holding in the 6:20's range and ended up being 6:28 for the first mile. In years past, you really needed to be a good bit under 20 minutes to get a mug (also, it used to be only top 100 finishers). This year I was reasonably hopefully that under 21:00 and I still had a chance.
Second mile was slower at 6:46. Needed to hang on and stay sub 7:00. The third mile has a hill, not too bad, but enough to slow me down a little. Going up the hill I'm now in the 7:00's, but I pick some back up once the road flattens out and I can see the stadium not too far away.
I pick off a couple more people but it's not easy. Each person I see might be number 125.
But, I make it to the finish chute and they are still making sure that we stay in line (a good sign!) and a guy is handing out finisher's cards. I've made it again somehow.
Last year, Andy and I ran the 10K, so we were able to see Thomas finish. I didn't see him finish but I was confident he had been done already for a little bit. I first saw Spencer. He was walking around without a mug (worried for a second), but he had just forgotten to get the mug when he dropped off his finisher's card so he went back and got one. I asked how Tom did, Spencer said "he crushed it!"). Finally found Tom, his time was 19:05.
We stopped for cinnamon melts on the way back to drop him off at Jenny's house and also got a picture with Andy.
Things have changed a lot since last year but the run, getting the mugs, cinnamon melts and a picture were the good things that hadn't changed and I was thankful for all of it.