Official time: 18:52. 2nd out of 43. Results here.
I hadn't run a race since TARC and I hadn't run a road 5k since October so I decided to do a small local one to see how I'd fare. I settled on the Rock SK5k in Wakefield as I liked the cause (youth musicians) time (Saturday afternoon) and course (downtown Wakefield.) There was some confusion as to when the race started as the online registration said 4:00 but the downloadable school flyer said 5:00. I got there at about 3:40 and found out that it actually started at 5:00. This actually worked out well as I wanted to spend some time exploring the Old Mountain field trails prior to the race. Still, there were people showing up ready to race at four only to find out that they had to wait another hour.
Ran about 3.5 miles on the Old Mountain trails. Tried to find my way over to South County Commons and failed but I did see a painted turtle laying eggs so I consider that an even trade. It was pretty humid and warm so I was taking my time on this warm-up and made sure to drink water as I went.
The race began and ended at the South Kingstown High School. Chatted with Galoob before the race who was working the registration table with his wife and acting as time keeper. The start of the race was very informal and with only 44 runners there wouldn't be any closed roads so we were told to run on the left and contend with traffic. After milling about for a couple of minutes, the race director lined us up, haphazardly triggered the siren on the megaphone and motioned for us to start running. Not an ideal start but we were off.
Immediately two kids took off ahead and I found myself in third place. As we neared the first turn onto Main Street, a fit looking guy passed me. Mike warned me about an art teacher for S.K. who was running and the student spectators addressed him as Mr. Gagnon so I figured this was the guy. Running down Main Street was hectic, I jumped over to the left side but everyone else seemed to stay on the right. I soon crossed over to join them figuring that I there'd be fewer intersecting roads and cars to deal with. It was chaotic as we were moving pretty quickly (1st mile came in at 5:46) and there were pedestrians on the sidewalk and construction to contend with. Before turning onto High Street I overtook the fit dude and one of the kids and found myself in 2nd place where I would remain for the rest of the race.
We were only on High Street for a moment before we turned left and ran up the big hill on Highland Street (anyone who's run the Mews 5k is familiar with this bastard.) My pace was dropping on the hill and I could hear fit dude behind me but eventually we turned off this road and were soon making our way back down to High Street. I was working pretty hard at this point (it was very humid) and could still hear footsteps behind me but the kid in 1st was only about 30 feet ahead. He seemed to be moving very well. This was my slowest mile at 6:19. The hill definitely took some oomph out of me.
We turned onto Church Street and I couldn't hear anyone behind me. I was moving better now and seemed to be gaining a bit on the kid. We turned onto Branch Street and I was about fifteen feet behind. My wife was at the corner cheering me on and I tried to find another gear to make my move. The kid saw Amanda cheering, probably realized I was closer than he thought and turned it on. I was gaining on him only briefly before he started to pull away again. I would not catch him and ended up finishing 3 seconds behind. Third mile: 6:02.
Overall I'm happy with my race. I missed my PR by 10 seconds but it was pretty hot/humid out and that big hill took a lot out of me. Wish I could have caught that kid but by all accounts it didn't look like he was trying that hard so if I tried to muster up something earlier he probably would have had no problem making a counter-move. The race itself suffered from low attendance (there were several other high profile 5ks in the area this weekend.) And while the flyer boasted that several bands would be playing on the course, the only band I saw was caught off guard when we ran by. Running on the open course wasn't too bad except for on Main Street where the traffic and pedestrians made for a hectic experience (though it was my fastest mile so maybe it helped!)
After the race I ate some snacks and did a short cooldown (and then ate some more snacks.) Amanda and Ezri walked up from our friends' house and played at the playground until I got my award ($25 Denali gift card!) Went back to our friends' house and enjoyed some Lagunitas, homemade pizza and doughboys. Top notch.