This was one of the first races I did when I started running again and I had really enjoyed it. The State Trooper shotgun start, the local course and the great spread of food afterwards - it's a fun area race. I hadn't done it in a while as it conflicted with my big Spring races but this year there was no issue. I wasn't really sure how I'd fare today. The 5k is such a short, brutal distance and I definitely don't do enough speed and specific training to excel at it. Still, I was hopeful that I'd be able to shave some time off my 17:57 PR that I set last October.
Got to Narragansett Beach with plenty of time (which was good because it was mobbed inside at the registration area) and did a two mile warm-up with Mike B on the Canonchet Trails and then ducked back into the trails for one final bathroom break. Made it to the starting line with a few minutes to spare and took my place behind Garvin and FiveK. The start was packed and there were many young kids mixed in with us.
At the shotgun start someone scuffed my shoe and I almost tripped. Immediately the rugrats went by me, getting in my way and boxing me in. I let them zip off ahead and soon most of them were falling back. One young girl stayed in front of me and didn't fall back until we turned onto Narragansett Ave. At this point the field had settled down. In the lead was Derek Jakobski with Garvin close behind him. Following them were Keven O'Neil and FiveK. Then there were a couple other guys I didn't know and directly in front of me were the last two remaining young bucks.
|Pushing past the young guns - Photo by Jeff Walker|
The front runners were far off in the distance now. I counted out that I was in eighth place but I was slowly gaining on a guy ahead of me wearing headphones. Once we hit Ocean Rd there was a stiff headwind but I tried to focus on the towers in the distance and began reeling in headphone guy. I caught him just before the Coast Guard House and there was Jeff again, warning me about the guy right on my heels (No shit, Jeff. I just passed the guy 10 seconds prior!)
|Trying to keep it together down Ocean Drive - Photo by Jeff Walker|
The final stretch on Beach Street has encouraging spectators but I was nearly out of gas. I tried to keep the pace up and was afraid that headphone guy was gaining on me. With 50 yards to go it seemed that people were cheering for him and I found that I had another gear and was able to kick to the finish, good for 7th overall in 17:55.
I nearly keeled over after crossing the line. I was very pleased that I took a couple seconds off my PR but I was nauseous. After a couple minutes I felt better but even through the cooldown I didn't feel great. Guess that means I really pushed it at the end. Though by the time I grabbed my sweatshirt at the car I was ready to eat. The food line was mobbed so I grabbed ice cream and other snacks while waiting for the awards. The prizes were scattershot - the overall winners got some pint glass boots while I nabbed a Dave's Market gift card for 2nd in my Age Group. I used it to buy a pie for my dad's birthday.
I missed the team picture while I was getting a burger. Then I said goodbye to everyone and we dispersed. I grabbed a second ice coffee sampler from the Dunkin Donuts stand and then made my way back to the car. Fun event - I'm pleased to PR but I know that I really have to be more consistent with the weekly speed work if I want to bring it down farther. Good race!