Race Report: Law Enforcement Memorial 5k
On the weekend of May 12-13 I had a couple races I could have run but didn’t manage to get to for assorted reasons. To keep my race-a-month streak alive (now 39 consecutive months!), I needed a race on May 19. There were a few options, and I was strongly considering a trail race at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte, but instead was pleased to find the Greensboro Law Enforcement Memorial 5k race. Greensboro is more convenient than Charlotte, and plus the race was cheaper. I signed up about an hour before online registration closed, last Tuesday.
Most of the week I was stuck in the mindset of not really wanting to race. I wasn’t feeling especially motivated. But at the last minute (night before), I was able to get a friend to commit to racing with me, so that helped some. It’s nice to have company.
Saturday morning we headed into Greensboro. Parking was easy to find and we walked over to the packet pick up area. Given this was the 22nd running of this race, I was expecting more of a crowd, but there were probably only 210 runners or so. I can’t find any final results to see what the total finisher count was. After getting our numbers and dropping the bag and shirt back in the car, we milled around a bit until it was race time.
This friend and I ran a 5k together last fall, where we underestimated ourselves and/or overestimated the other runners, and during that race we arranged ourselves too far back and were trapped in a frustrating mass of slower runners. It definitely affected our performance then. This time, I dealt with the fact that we had to openly judge the other runners and choose where to line up. I think we chose fairly well – in the first 2-3 rows of runners – because there were not many people passing us during the race, and we were still able to pass some others.
I think that’s one of my least favorite parts of races – choosing where to start. Smaller races particularly, where there are no pace groups or signs for estimated times. You really can’t judge a book by its cover or a runner by his shape/size/shoes/clothes. Sure there are some hints, but there have been plenty of times I see runners who look much less “in shape” than I do but they can just destroy me in races. Or other times where I see incredibly fit looking people way in the back (though those folks might be capable of more and just not racing hard at that time). I’m humble/modest (perhaps not the right words?) to a fault at times and just assume many others are faster than I. But I am learning, and getting better and starting in the correct spot.
There were no timing chips, so it was purely gun time. My Garmin time ended up being a second faster than my “official” time, but I’m going by the official one just for good measure.
I ran with my friend for most of the way. The first mile ticked off at 7:30 which was a little faster than necessary. Slowed down a bit on the second with 7:47 and even moreso on the final mile (which was all gradual uphill per Garmin elevation) with 7:53. It was probably mile 2.8 or so when my friend told me to push ahead as he was slowing down, so I did just that. There were more turns in the last part of the race than is my preference, but I was able to push the last 0.1 at around 6:30 pace. There was a woman ahead of me who I was hoping to catch, but I wasn’t overly concerned as she looked to be in her 40s at least.
Yes, that’s right, I blatantly judge age so I can be sure not to miss an age group win by just seconds like I did in February (2 seconds!!). I’d been keeping an eye on the women ahead of me in the race and was pretty sure I would place in or win my age group.
And I did! I got a 10 second PR of 24:10, and won my age group. First place of 21 women 20-29! While I mentioned I haven’t found results online, they did have some posted at the event so I was able to see that statistic. Big age group. Guess my new shoes really are fast! (EDIT: results found; see end of post)
A local elementary school has made a tradition of painting tiles for the age group awards. They had a table full, and when they called the awards, each winner could select a tile. I chose one with a bright yellow sunshine. Certainly a unique award, and to me it is more appreciated than a generic medal. Not sure yet what I’ll do with it, but for now it’s going on my race awards mantel.
All in all, this was a nice race. A good size event; started right on time; fair course; nice goody bags with some coupons, samples, a green cotton t-shirt and a reusable grocery tote. The food spread afterwards was coffee, bagels, banana halves, orange slices and a bunch of Cici’s Pizza. I was not in any mood for pizza at 9:15 am, so that went untouched, but I enjoyed a cold bottle of water handed to me in the finish chute, and a couple chunks of bagel. The volunteers and organizers were nice. The megaphone broke before door prizes and awards, but one lady had a great shouting voice that carried well so we could all hear.
This was my third 5k race of 2012, and my third 5k PR of 2012. I could get used to this! I’m really gunning to break under 24 minutes next race. I don’t have another 5k planned right now, but I will probably be looking for one in August as that’s my next month with no planned events. Plus, I probably won’t want to race anything longer than 5k in the heat of August!
EDIT: I’ve been getting a number of blog hits on this post from people searching for the race results. I was able to find this link via Eddie Wooten’s Running Shorts blog at the News & Record. Note that it’s a PDF link: http://www.news-record.com/files/documents/lawenforcement5Kresults2012.pdf