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San Francisco Marathon 5k - Run5k

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San Francisco, California
United States
Total Time = 24m 17s
Overall Rank = 96/1114
Age Group = F
Age Group Rank = 25/701
Pre-race routine:

Went to bed late, as per usual. I picked up Michael (yay, first race with Michael!) at 6:30 a.m. and we made it into the city by about 6:50 and even found free parking on the street. Not bad. I ate about a third of a Clif bar on the drive over and drank quite a bit of water. I'd brought a Gu, but decided not to bother with it.

Timing wise, we planned well. There was a bit of a line at check-in, so it was nice to have time to deal with that without stressing, then get back to my car to stow our stuff, figure out the timing chip situation (a sticky strip that you wind through your laces), and stake out a spot at the start line. The race was chip-timed but there were no timing mats at the start, so we wanted to get as close to the front as possible.

I'd hoped to meet Juliana finally, but no such luck. Considering how many races we've done together, it's amazing we haven't figured out a way to meet yet!
Event warmup:

Michael and I ran maybe a quarter mile at a pretty speedy pace (about 7:30), but that was it. We both agreed we should have warmed up more for such a short race.
  • 24m 17s
  • 3.11 miles
  • 07m 49s  min/mile

This was my first standalone 5k, and my strategy was simple: haul ass. OK, my strategy was more like, start fast and then go faster, but haul ass was what I did in the end. I had two goals for this race: finish under 24 minutes and/or run sub-8:00/miles. After doing the math, I realized a sub-24 race was probably beyond me, so I'm OK with missing that goal, and very pleased with the second goal.

Folks started lining up for this race pretty early, and thank God the race director asked the slow people to move back because there were tons of little kids up front at first. Michael and I placed ourselves pretty well, I think, because we were out of the crowds in less than a minute (probably much sooner for Michael, who's super speedy). The race start was weird -- we were standing maybe only two rows back from the front, but I never heard anyone say "start" or fire a gun or anything. All of a sudden everyone just went.

I got waaaaaaaaay caught up in the crowd and went out like crazy in the first mile. Even forcing myself to slow down I ended up with a 7:39 pace, which is way too fast for me in any race (or maybe not? considering how this one worked out). My tentative plan had been to start out at just below an 8:00 pace, but ha, that flew out the window immediately.

After the first mile I fell into a pretty hard but steady pace, which I'm pleased I was able to maintain for the rest of the race. I've decided, in my extremely limited experience, that a 5k is a much more mental race (for me) than a half marathon, because I basically spent the whole time in my head, focused on just moving forward as fast as I could and not easing up (vs. a half mary, when I can sort of zone out for the first eight or nine miles once I've found my cruising pace; maybe that means I'm not running the half mary as well as I should). I don't think I looked up even once to take in my surroundings, just kept my head down and my eyes on the ground. I'm pleased with the results -- mentally, I never faltered, even when I felt pretty rough, and I didn't let any distractions...well, distract me. There were some headwinds and I just pushed through them (and gleefully anticipated the tailwinds), I ignored the racers I was passing, and those passing me.

Speaking of which, at the start line when all the kids were lining up, there was one boy who stuck around, even after the director told the slow folks to move back. I was kind of annoyed with him because he kept announcing that he just wanted to be up front so he could break the tape (which was dumb anyway, because it was that yellow caution tape, so not really made for breaking), and I really wanted his parents to get him out of the way. So naturally, he beat me at the end. Hee. He was one of those annoying child runners who sprints like crazy for 100 yards, then basically walks for 20, then sprints, then walks, etc. So I kept passing him, and then he'd fly by me, and blah blah blah, you get the idea. Still, good for him! He was super fast for a little kid!

One fun thing about this race is that the 5k basically ended at the same time as the first marathoners were finishing, and everyone crosses the same finish line. We had separate chutes, but it was still awesome crossing with some incredible runners.

I also ran into an old friend at the finish line, which was odd. He's a photographer who was shooting the marathon for a local newspaper. I hadn't seen him in more than two years, so I stopped and called his name. We hugged briefly and he snapped a shot of me doing the cliched arm pump.

As I mentioned in my logs, I'm thrilled with this time except for one problem: According to the McMillan running calculator I should have a much faster half marathon. I feel like such a slacker!

I think all in all I prefer longer runs, when I can get into a groove and enjoy my surroundings. A 5k goes by so fast and there's no time to just appreciate the moment. I couldn't spare a breath to thank any volunteers and I didn't want to break my concentration and take in the views of the bay (not a big deal, since I've walked plenty in that area before, but still). But it was a fun experience and I'll definitely run this distance some more.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe ease up a little in the first mile. One of these days I'll negative split a race.
Post race
Warm down:

Michael and I walked the loooooooong buffet line and then hiked a couple blocks back to my car. San Francisco Marathon is a pretty huge event -- a marathon, two half marathons, and the 5k, and they all end at the same place and within a few hours of each other. So there's lots going on and it's a little confusing, but in a fun way. We really wanted to steal some finisher's medals, since the 5k folks are the only ones who don't get one.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not running a standalone 5k before.

Event comments:

The race started a few minutes late, but no big deal. I was impressed with how well organized this event was, considering everything they have going on. Hopefully next year I'll be doing the marathon!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-07-28 12:00 AM
00:24:17 | 03.11 miles | 07m 49s  min/mile
Age Group: 25/701
Overall: 94/1114
Performance: Good
Laps: 7:39, 7:47, 7:44, 1:23. Garmin had me at 3.18 miles for an average pace of 7:44.
Course: Very flat loop up and down the Embarcadero. Probably a pretty run, but I was too focused to notice.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-08-03 6:58 PM

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: San Francisco Marathon 5k

2008-08-03 7:38 PM
in reply to: #1579022

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: San Francisco Marathon 5k

Sounds like a great race today! 

I'm with you, I'd rather run long and have the time to hit my zone and enjoy the surroundings than run short and have the mental game playing the whole time about how to get past people or bust azz up the hils.

2008-08-03 8:17 PM
in reply to: #1579022

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San Mateo, CA
Subject: RE: San Francisco Marathon 5k
Nicely done!
2008-08-03 10:06 PM
in reply to: #1579022

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Subject: RE: San Francisco Marathon 5k
Great job, Erin! Wow... sub 8:00's is impressive!!
2008-08-04 12:58 AM
in reply to: #1579022

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Subject: RE: San Francisco Marathon 5k

Way to go Speedy Allday! Awesome pace.

One of these days we shall finally meet!

2008-08-04 2:05 AM
in reply to: #1579022

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: San Francisco Marathon 5k

Crazy crazy crazy crazy crazy crazy FAST!!!!!

Congrats on the PR (of course it's a PR)! But no matter what, a fantastic accomplishment and just rewards for all the hard work you've done focusing on your running.

Haul azz is an excellent race strategy. Especially for a 5K. Go out hard, hang on, redline ... and you did just that. AWESOME!

2008-08-05 9:38 PM
in reply to: #1579022

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San Francisco
Subject: RE: San Francisco Marathon 5k

Way to go Erin!  Great job on a speedy race.  I love your "haul " strategy Smile  Congrats on the sub 8s and so very close to a sub 24!

As a side note, there was an article in RW (I think sometime this year) that studied folks who went harder at the start on a 5K than they were comfortable with and those who went easier to try to neg split.  They found that those who went harder out of the gate ended up with faster times because those doing neg splits never really caught up to the time saved by those starting out fast.

2008-08-06 6:19 AM
in reply to: #1579022

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: San Francisco Marathon 5k

Nice job on the sub 8's Erin!

Don't worry too much about the last half marathon.  It is tough to know how to pace yourself in a longer race where you are not going all out.  Best would be to run a 10K to judge the best pace for your next half.  And then run another half to judge your pace for CIM!

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