The weather had been iffy all day.
Of course, if it had rained, it would have cooled down the awful heat. Nearly 80 degrees. How can one be expected to run 3.1 miles in weather that’s almost body temperature? (Body temperature of a lizard.)
And I had just run the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon (10 days before.) How can one be expected to be fully recovered in 10 days?
And the trail was wet and soft.
And my shoes were too… slippery?
Alright, what I’m building toward is that I’m not quite happy with my time at the first Lehigh Valley Road Runners Summer Series 5k race. (Say that five times fast.)
I followed my usual 5k plan, which is to start fast and see how long I can hang on. As a measure of how fast I started, I hung on to the eventual winner for a quarter-mile. Of course, once Robert hit the hills, he scooted up them like they weren’t there – and I hit them like a wall. Painful to get up and over. (But fast enough to come down.)
Amby Burfoot (you may remember him from such feats as, oh, I don’t know, winning the Boston Marathon(!)) directed everyone through the first turn, up through the covered bridge, which was every bit as painful to run through as it was during the half marathon, but smelled less like urine. I am told that he directed Jeff Dengate and Warren Greene to make a left instead of a right, up into the woods, and then giggled to himself as they wisely followed the spray-painted arrows instead.
The far side of the creek proceeded much as always. Pain built up steadily from mile one to mile two. I tossed a cup of water on my head at the water stop.
One thing was fun, though. I was steadily reeling in fifth place, and got within striking distance while atop a hill. At the bottom of the hill was a man with a camera, taking pictures of the runners.
“Huh,” I thought to myself, “If I pass this guy here, I will have a series of photos of me doing so.” So I did.
I’m really pleased with myself in that last photo, though you can’t tell. You can tell the guy I passed is not super pleased. At all.
The rest of the race I ran fearfully, thinking that I was slowing with every step, and that I was going to be revenge-passed by runner 324. It didn’t happen.
Up the last hill, down the other side and the hard right onto Robin Hood bridge, I heard some heavy breathing off my shoulder. I was doing my own heavy breathing, trying to keep to the 3 steps per breath pattern, though it kept slipping to 2 steps per breath. Back under the bridge by the LVRR clubhouse I picked it up for my final sprint.
Yeah, you can tell that I’m feeling the pain in this photo. Don’t I know it only takes two muscles to smile, but about a hundred to grimace in agony like that?
My final time was 19:20-something. The official results aren’t up yet. I was hoping for a sub 19, but maybe that will just have to be my goal in the next three races. On the upside, I did finish fifth out of about a hundred and fifty (including many old people, tweens, and moms pushing strollers). Also, I did pass that one guy, and didn’t get passed after the first half mile, so that’s a net of one for me!
Also, the food afterwards was good – a lot of slaws this time. Carrot, traditional cabbage, red cabbage. Final rating? Five out of five ks.