Yes, that means two LBRRs for the price of one. Still free.
For the second year in a row, I decided on a 5K/10K combo of races. A good way to mark the end (of very close to it) of my racing season. The 5K was the Dash for Democracy 5K, which this year was actually 5K (as opposed to last year’s 3 miles). A cool and windy day, I had zero expectations for time since I haven’t done speed work in a very long time. I tried to start out conservatively, so I could attempt to run at an even pace, instead of starting out too fast and hanging on for dear life at the end. Mile 1 in 6:13. A good pace. I tried to hang onto a pack of four other runners, but just couldn’t stick with them. They were just out of reach, but I managed to keep them about the same distance from me, give or take a few meters. Mile 2 in 6:35. Maybe they went out a little farther than I thought. I couldn’t let them get too far away – I wanted a good time.
The best part about this course is that about the last 3/4 mile is a straight line. I knew that I had some separation to the person(s) behind me (no, I did not look to check) because the police were since cars across the course just after I went by. Mile 3 in 6:24, finished in 19:54 according to me guess (chip time was 19:49). Good for 19th place overall out of 430 runners/walkers. I leave as an exercise for the reader to figure out where the runner/walker divide is.
Sunday was the Ben Franklin Bridge Challenge, a fun 10K across and back on the BFB with another almost 5K on the streets of Camden. The finish was “neat” (for lack of a better word) – we got to finish in center field of Campbell’s Field. This race presents a few challenges:
- You have to strip down to race gear a long time before the start, since they have to lead the runners out onto the bridge. So staying warm is rough since you can’t just throw your clothes on the bridge.
- You go from a dead stop to an incline on the bridge. Getting the pacing right is tough unless you practice starting on an uphill, which I don’t.
It was a very nice day for racing – not as cold or windy at Saturday. Mile 1, mostly uphill in 6:56. Right about where I wanted to be. Tried to stay in control on the first downhill, since we have to come back over the bridge – mile 2 in 6:26. Pulled back some people who flew by on the downhill (learned to stay in better control last year, thanks to Goat). Mile 3, which finished the uphill portions and was partly downhill, in 6:27. Hit 5K on the bridge (but no marker) and out onto the flat streets of Camden.
Last year, I ran really well over this portion, reeling in people one at a time as the runners had spread thin. I thought I could do that again this year, but it was more difficult. Mile 4 in 6:39. I could feel the after effects of the bridge, but I was still trying to pass people. Passing one iPod guy and then another and feeling OK. Mile 5 in 6:57. The iPod twins (those two guys I passed before) caught me somewhere around here. I was starting to get fatigued. As we approached the stadium, we had to zigzag through an adjacent parking lot (an assumed course kludge to get it to 10K). I could hear the announcer calling for cheers as the clock got closer to 40:00. I knew that I wouldn’t even be close to that, but kept pushing through the parking lot. I entered the stadium, hit the left field grass, and dug deep to finish strong in 41:37. Not a 10K PR, but I think a PR for this course – which is fine with me. I had a good run. Saw a recovering from injury Seebo and British Mike afterwards, grabbed a small snack, and got the heck out.