Saturday, October 22, 2011

Race Report: Harvest Moon 5K

Liz and I ran the Harvest Moon 5K in Eureka tonight. It was part of the Harvest Moon Festival... one of the small-town events that make me Love this city!

We went down to the festival earlier in the afternoon and bought a handful of books for $5 and took a quick look around the festival. We made our way back down around 6:00 to pick up our packets for the 7:00 race. We were hoping to get there early enough to guarantee t-shirts but there was no need to worry. They had our shirts set aside because we pre-registered for the race.

It was plenty dark outside by the time the race started and they gave all of the participants glow bracelets to wear. It was fun to run around in the dark with glowing rings bouncing along in the distance.

We saw our neighbors, Amy and Eric before the race and there were a decent number of runners considering this is a new 5K.

I ran a short warm-up and then wished Liz luck before we lined up for the start. The start was a little chaotic because a police SUV was parked right in front of the starting line. I don't know if it was supposed to lead us for part or all of the race, but it just sat there with it's lights on when they started the race and everyone had to run around it.

I was worried about going out too fast because it's a habit of mine and because I tend to get carried away when I run in the dark. There were three other guys running with me for the first 100 meters or so but two of them eased up pretty quickly and then it was just me and a younger kid (I found out later he's 19). He had a long, bouncing stride and seemed totally relaxed. I tend to breathe really loudly so it sounded like I was struggling and I started to wonder if I was. Either the pace worried the kid or my loud breathing was annoying... either way, he eased off the pace about a quarter-mile in. After that, I was on my own.

We ran the same course as the Run For Sight 5K that Eureka hosts every September for Eureka Days. Liz and I always seem to have plans out of town during Eureka Days so the only time I've run that 5K was the year we moved into our house three years ago. The course takes two laps through a subdivision and I remember there being a big hill in the middle of the lap that was intimidating when I ran it three years ago. Apparently, living in Eureka has redefined what I consider a big hill because it wasn't nearly as tough as I remember. (I'm also probably in better shape right now and running the hill in the dark helped.)

It was especially dark in the neighborhood and for the first lap, I was just chasing the lead bicycle and trying to keep my pace up. I still thought that kid might be taking the first mile or so easy and then he would come flying past me once I started to slow down. I took a couple of glances over my shoulder when I turned a corner but it was too dark to tell who was behind me or what kind of lead I had.

On the second lap, the road was filled with runners and walkers working on their first lap and it was fun to look down the street at all of the glow bracelets bobbing and swinging ahead of me. I passed Liz right before she started her second lap and she cheered for me as I went by. She was making good time herself and looked strong with a lap to go.

By the time I turned the corner and headed to the finish, I realized no one was catching me. I finished in first place in 19:21. The kid that was chasing me finished a minute and a half later. You have to Love small-town races! Liz finished in 31:37. She's hoping to run a sub-30 5K by Thanksgiving and I think she's in a good position to meet that goal. Eric and Amy finished soon after Liz and they were both happy with their times too.

(Liz approaching the finish line.)

After the race, we stuck around for the awards and met two really nice couples (the two guys from the first 100 meters and their wives). One of the guys was also named Brad and he ran his first ever marathon in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. It was fun chatting about Chicago but a little weird since I wasn't there for the first time in 10 years.

(After the race.)

I got my medal and shook the mayor's hand (I'm kind of a big deal) and then we went home to watch the Cardinals absolutely destroy the Rangers to win Game 3. The score was 16-7 and Pujols hit 3 home runs! A whole lot of history in one night. If only Albert would hit like that when the game is on the line and not when we're ahead by 6 runs. Two down, two to go!!!

(It looks more like a scholastics award than a race medal,
but I'll take it!)

It was fun racing in the dark and it felt good to stretch the legs and push the pace a bit. I also wore my new shoes for the first time today. They did not disappoint!

Goal For The Day: Race.
Distance: 3.10 Miles.
Time: 19:21. 6:14 Avg. (5:49, 6:12, 6:18, 1:01*).
Route: Harvest Moon 5K.
Conditions: 57 degrees. 7:00pm.

Notes: This was a fun race with a relatively inexpensive entry fee. That being said, they'll probably have trouble growing without improving things like post-race snacks and medals. They also didn't follow the standard of removing overall winners from the age group awards. So I got a medal for winning the race but they also listed me as first place male 30-44. That stole a medal from whoever finished 4th in the age group because he would have been bumped up to 3rd. The age groups were also huge. Liz might have placed in a small race like this if the age group had been 25-29. Instead, it was 18-29.

Daily Miles: 3.10 Miles.
Blog Totals:
  Run - 499.45 Miles.
  Bike - 144.45 Miles.
  Swim - 12,450+ meters.

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