For such a short run, it made for a long day.
Because the 5k has so many runners, and the route crosses itself and some railroad tracks, the runners are split into eight separate start times including the elite runners. Since Sean, Steve Starr and I are all 'master' runners (older than 40), we all set off together in the first wave at 7:05am. Marci is not quite so masterful (old) and her wave went off at 10:20am. The event wraps up with the elites heading out at about 12:15pm.
With the large number of runners, and warnings on the website to show up early for parking and registration, I begrudgingly crawled out of bed at 4:30am to arrive at 6:00am. The warnings may have been a bit overblown, but it got me there early enough that I had plenty of time to find parking, pick up my packet and wander around soaking up the pre-race energy. And to wonder if getting up at 4:30 to run makes me a little crazy.
The weather was about perfect for a run, overcast with a little wind. The course is relatively flat with just two gradual hills, and about a mile of ocean views. I had plans of taking it a little easy for the first mile, but was caught up in the speed and energy of the start line and headed out at a good clip. Though the weather was coolish, I worked up a sweat pretty quickly trying to maintain pace. I managed to hang on and run a steady race.
There are a couple points where the route doubles-back, so it gave me a chance to look for my faster friend on the other side of the road. We all had a pretty good day on the road - Sean blazed the trail with a 20:11 finish, I followed with a PR of 23:47, and Marci ran her own PR of 27:37 even after straining her hip an hour before the gun went off.
We decided to grab some lunch and stick around for the elites to run their race. World records have been set on this course and we were anxious to see if today was the day for another. After watching them fly by at the start, Sean and I hustled over to the finish. We weren't sure what the record was, but the way the announcer was carrying on it sounded like it was going to be close. Unfortunately, the elites ran into more wind on the coast than we did, so their quest for a new record came up short. The men's winner finished in 13:11 and the first woman crossed the line at 15:04.
It is hard to fathom running that fast for three plus miles, even if all you did in life was train to run. Most of my training in the past has been toward longer events, tests of endurance rather than speed. But even though I was just above the middle of the pack, today's run for speed felt really good. I could see getting hooked on these shorter events, training to gain seconds rather than miles. It would also be a whole lot easier to fit a 5 miler into the weekend instead of a 15 miler. And that would mean more time for sleep.