Race Report: America’s Finest City 5K Run

Posted on Aug 17, 2009 under Race | 9 Comments

Here are my results for the America’s Finest City 5K Run: 19:53, 1st in my age division and 13th overall (out of 1,200 runners!). Official times here. I’m a little disappointed with the time because I was hoping I would run a little faster, considering all the great workouts I have been having recently. But I am even more surprised about actually winning my age division, which I have never done before. I’m not going to ignore the fact that the main race for the AFC was the half marathon, which is probably where all the other fast runners were at. But when I was looking at last year’s times for the 5K, I thought it would have been just as competitive this year. Oh well, I’m not really going to complain about winning my race!

The last 5K that I ran, I didn’t really have a great running week prior. However, for the AFC 5K, I was coming off a really good week in running, including a run 3 days before in which I hit my fastest for that route. I was really hoping that all of that would mean that I would run an awesome time today. I am still happy with the time, since it’s the first time breaking 20 minutes for a 5K, which is quite a feat and not all runners can do it. As I said in my previous post, I am hoping to start training for longer distance races, but I’ll still run a few more 5K’s in the future, while training for those longer distance races.

I had Pat & Oscar’s pasta and breadsticks for lunch and dinner the day before; more than enough carbs for the race. And I actually watched Rocky IV to get pumped up for the race. (Note to self: ask Twitter and DailyMile runners what they watch/listen to get pumped up for a race.) When my brother ran in high school, he would watch Rocky IV (in VHS!) before his cross country races. And then when I started running in high school, I tried that a couple of times too. Watching it this time though, I did notice how lame the dialog was, but there were some very inspirational quotes that I like and will need another post to list. But the thing I love most about the movie is the training sequence, which always makes me want to just get out and work as hard as I can (in this case, run). And the music during that training sequence will get anyone pumped up. I actually listened to the Rocky OST before I went to bed and then on the drive to the race. I was hoping all of that would somehow make a difference in the race, and maybe it did..

Even though the half marathon started at 7AM, runners were supposed to board the shuttle to the starting line no later than 5:45AM! That is pretty intense. If I had run that race, I would have probably had to get up around 4:30ish, which is just one of those things that make runners so crazy dedicated! Anyways, although my race was at 6:45, I woke up a little after 5AM, which is still pretty early, if you ask me. There was a little traffic right before I got off the freeway, but I was able to find a parking spot fairly quickly and get an ok warm-up run before the start of the race. I didn’t really have time to stretch though, which might be why I’m a little sore right now.

Like most of the races I’ve ran, I was able to get a pretty good spot in the front of the starting line, although I did still have to spend the first few hundred meters of the race zig zagging between other slower runners. But once I got settled in, I noticed that there weren’t too many runners ahead of me, which sort of freaked me out. The last 5K I ran, I hit a 5:55 first mile and was more or less dead for the rest of the race. So seeing so few people ahead of me got me a little paranoid, thinking I started off way too fast and would die like last time. I couldn’t find the 1st or 3rd mile marker for this race, so I wasn’t able to get splits, but I did get the 2nd mile split which was: 12:24 which wasn’t too bad. I would have been pretty happy to finish the race at 6:12 pace, but it looks like I hit around a 6:45 for the 3rd mile. That seems about right because I was pretty winded by that time. All my years of running, I don’t think pacing was my forté, but recent runs that I have been having may have made it look like it. Still I need to find a way to pace myself better in races. I could just imagine myself going too fast at the beginning of a marathon and just dying for the last 10 miles! That would be the worst! I was, however, able to bust out a very impressive kick at the end of the race and pass at least 4 people to finish at 13th!

Because I noticed how little people were ahead of me during the race, I started to really think that I had a chance in placing in the top 3 in my age division. Of course, it is almost impossible to tell if a runner is 17 or 18 as well as 24 or 25, so I was just hoping that the runners ahead of me were not between the ages of 18 and 24. This is kind of lame, but when I was dying at the end of the race, when someone would pass me, I actually looked at their face to try and see how old they were. I was very happy when older runners were passing me, even though of course, I should never be happy when someone is passing me. There was also a younger kid running ahead of me almost the entire race and it was not until the very end that I was able to finally outkick him. I saw him jogging around after the race and wanted to get his bib number to see how he did, but I didn’t have to. After looking at the results, there was only one other person behind me that fit his age and guess what, he was 14!! Sigh..

There was also this really tall runner ahead of me that was pretty discouraging around the 2.5 mile mark when he just stopped running! He was still walking, so he was probably just tired. The sad thing was about 2-3 runners passed him while he was walking, but as I got near to pass him, he started running again! That just brought back old memories of me running in high school when we had a league meet against another high school and one of our two freshman phenoms was running in the varsity race along with me. I think he was the number 3-4 runner for our team that day, but he actually walked a little bit during the race! But he still managed to run a sub-18 minute 3 mile and beat me! It’s sort of funny and sad at the same time. So back to the race, I stayed behind the walker for a while until he actually stopped to walk again about 400 meters before the finish! I’m sure he was really tired as was I, but it would have been a huge bummer if that guy beat me.

I usually don’t stay that long after a race, just get my free goodies and head home. But since I thought I had a real chance of at least placing in my age division, I decided to stay and see the results. That totally paid off! I had medaled in my first 5K and won my age division to top it off. Although I didn’t hit as fast a time that I would have liked, winning the race is still a memory that I will never forget and will always look back and smile on.

Official race pictures will be up soon!

9 Responses to “Race Report: America’s Finest City 5K Run”

  1. lindsay Says:

    congrats! always exciting to win an ag award 🙂 i have been passed by 10 year olds at the finish so don’t feel too bad about the kid! 13th overall and a sub-20 are great! i am wishing and hoping to one day break 20, though first i need to break 21.

  2. x-country2 Says:

    Woo hoo! AG win! Those pesky kids with all their speed. :o)

  3. Anne Says:

    I already congratulated you on DailyMile, but I will again here because it’s an extra special “win” for you. Hooray!!

  4. Lisa Says:

    Congratulations on a GREAT race. Don’t beat yourself up for not hitting your goal. You ran a 5K under 20 minutes… not too many people can say that!! I am always very impressed with how fast you are. You seem to be getting faster all the time.

    You know, my coaching book actually states that there should be a taper period before every race. A 5K should have a 3 day taper. Maybe you worked out a little too hard so close to the race and that is why you didn’t hit your pace the way you wanted to. Experiment with a 3 day taper, taking it really easy a few days before a 5K.

    Either way… you had a great race. Congrats again on the fantastic finish.

  5. diana Says:

    Congratulations!! Way to snag 1st in AG. I don’t think I have ever tapered for a 5k..interesting, makes sense.


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