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Marin Human Race - Run5k

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San Rafael, California
United States
Total Time = 25m 4s
Overall Rank = 86/685
Age Group = 30-39
Age Group Rank = 4/59
Pre-race routine:

I slept maybe two hours the night before. I woke the boy up at 6:15, but he decided to skip the race so I got dressed and was out the door by 6:35 to pick up Shizu. We made good time and were at the race by 7 a.m. I ate half a granola bar from Shizu on the drive over and drank maybe half a cup of coffee. There was a lot going on before the race, including a pancake breakfast, which, really? The last thing I want to do before a 5k (or any race) is eat a bunch of pancakes and syrup. But a lot of people were planning to walk the race so I guess they didn't care. Shizu and I wandered around the expo booths and looked at the creepy ponies (we're both not horse people) and tried to figure out how we could get a Lyme disease "Stop Ticks" T-shirt without donating to the nonprofit. (We failed.)
Event warmup:

Shizu and I ran about 10 minutes with some strides in there. We planned it pretty well and got to the start line about five minutes before race time.
  • 25m 4s
  • 3.11 miles
  • 08m 04s  min/mile

I lined up about two or three rows back from the start. I tried to talk Shizu into joining me there but she was freaked out by the race director saying the front should be saved for the five-minute-milers. Which is true for the very front, but ha. Standing next to/in front of me were two young children, a group of high school students dressed in graduation gear (including hats), and a woman wearing a fuel belt (for a 5k) -- probably not the fastest people there. I'm all for reserving the very front for the people who are going to be competitive, but I've learned my lesson with family-friendly 5k's -- I get as close to the front as I can. At the very least, I want an accurate time.

Anyway. First problem: they had a photographer from the local newspaper there and for some reason decided to put him on a ladder right in the middle of the race path, about five feet from the start line. Really? Does that make any sense? I'm sure he got a neat shot, but that seems so dangerous. Oh well, I ran around him.

Second problem: really, why can't people figure out basic race etiquette? I put myself close enough to the front that I didn't really have to dodge too many people, so that was good, but there were tons of people who shot off the start line and then *stopped* after the first, I don't know, 400-800 yards. And I don't mean they stopped running and started walking, but they just stopped dead in their tracks, making the runners behind them pull up sharply to avoid an accident. I saw this happen several times on the course, actually. I also saw people cutting corners *constantly* on this race, and not just, like, running on the inside of a cone, but shaving off 10 or 15 feet. I don't care about them "beating" me, I just feel like that's an uncool move.

So anyway, my race. I felt good starting out and have nothing interesting to say about the first mile. I ran it about what I'd hoped/expected (7:44). After that it was hanging on for dear life and, well, I kind of failed. I could feel myself really slipping in the second mile, and then slipping some more in the third, and there was nothing I could do about it. I really was pushing hard and not being easy on myself. I was focused, I felt like puking, I was breathing hard, my heart was pounding...yep, I was racing, and still I couldn't maintain the sub-8:00s.

About halfway into mile two I heard someone fall behind me and turned to see this little girl -- maybe 9 years old? -- sprawled on the ground. I stopped and turned to help her but she just picked herself up with this fierce scowl on her face and took off again. Everyone was asking if she was OK and she kept saying "yes" in this very quiet snarl -- not like she was mad at people for asking, but like she was pissed that she had lost some time. Ha! I loved her. (I just looked up her results and yep, she was 9 years old -- and she ran a 25:29!)

The volunteers did a very good job of keeping people on track, considering how loopy this course was. They were nice enough, although I don't think I've ever seen quieter volunteers at a race. I don't think I heard a single word of encouragement from them. Not that I care, especially on a 5k, but it was weird. Actually, the lack of crowd support was weird for the whole race. There were TONS of people watching, or at least hanging out, but until the finish line they seemed totally uninvolved in the race. Like, there's a section where the course winds in and out of the booths at the expo, so there are masses of people around, but it's like they were completely oblivious to a race going on. Bizzaro.

Shortly after the expo section of the race the course does a quick circuit around this lake/pond and then you're basically at the finish line. I had enough left to pick up my speed nicely into the finish, but I was disappointed when I saw my time. Oh well.

I had no expectations going into this race. I'm trying to run more 5k races this year so I can get used to pushing myself out of my comfort zone; I tend to hold back and allow myself to ease up when races get tough. So my goal here wasn't to PR and I didn't have a specific time goal at all. On the one hand, I'm happy that I pushed hard, but it's still disappointing to be almost a full minute off my time from last September.
What would you do differently?:

Run faster!
Post race
Warm down:

I grabbed a bottle of water and waited for Shizu to come in. I didn't have to wait long -- she ran 27:48! She had a really great race. After I grabbed her at the finish line we stretched and watched some people finish then took off after about 30 minutes.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm not sure. I've clearly gotten slower since last year, which is a little frustrating. I had to take a couple months off (not entirely, but with fairly reduced mileage) at the start of the year, but I'm still running more now than I was last year. I suppose it could be extracurricular factors -- work has been incredibly stressful the past few months and I haven't been sleeping well lately. I've been feeling kind of sluggish on most of my training runs. Oh well, what can you do but just keep going at it.

Another limiter: I really hate 5k's. The distance just doesn't fit me well. I want to have time in a race to take in the event -- enjoy the scenery, thank the volunteers, maybe chat a little with the runners around me. With 5k's it's just put your head down and suffer. I'll keeping doing them so I can improve my other races, but I'm not a fan.

Event comments:

I don't really have any major complaints about this race. It was well organized, there seemed to be a lot to see and do for families, the volunteers were all nice and helpful. But I think for 5k's I prefer smaller races.

Last updated: 2009-05-09 12:00 AM
00:25:04 | 03.11 miles | 08m 04s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/59
Overall: 86/685
Performance: Average
Splits: 7:44, 8:05, 8:23, :52
Course: Loopy course on and around the Marin Center Fairgrounds in San Rafael.
Keeping cool Average Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
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] 3

2009-05-12 3:23 PM

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: Marin Human Race

2009-05-12 7:24 PM
in reply to: #2146671

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Marin Human Race
Nice job Erin.  Don't beat yourself up over the distance.  I am not a sprinter either, but will occasionally do a 5K to get in some better than Tempo work!  Think how much that helped you.
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