Saturday, April 23, 2011

SNETT race report - an unofficial/sort of/I think PR

I had tossed around the idea of jumping into a 5k today but wasn’t ready to fully commit due to the weather forecast.  (Freezing cold, buckets of rain ahead.  News anchor said: stay inside in your PJ's, it's gonna get ugly). Ultimately I talked myself into it for a few reasons:
1.       It’s been a while since I’ve done a 5k and I wanted to use it as a speed workout
2.       The race was to benefit the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT), of which I am a huge fan and frequent user
3.       It was located on the former grounds of my company, where I worked for the first 13 years of my career before being relocated an hour north.
So, with those factors pushing me into the race, I texted Kerri and off we went to our old stomping grounds in Franklin, MA.  It was very hard to be cheery about this race, with the raw conditions and miserable forecast.  When we arrived at the race it was 38 degrees and raining, and it was downright uncomfortable.  We spotted an unusually long line at the registration booth, and that, unfortunately, was a sign of things to come.
Kerri and I stood in line shivering, teeth chattering, and jumping around in an effort to keep warm.  The line moved excruciatingly slowly and many of us started getting antsy, including a young man behind us who repeatedly expressed concern over his ability to properly warm up.  After an eternity we were registered, got a nifty t-shirt, and I unwillingly removed my winter coat to prepare for a warm up.  Kerri and I jogged around the parking lot to warm up anticipating a 9:00am start, but unfortunately the start was delayed by nearly 20 minutes, which made it very difficult to keep my muscles warm.  As we waited and hopped around in place, we checked out some of the other runners and spotted four “elite” men.  (Relatively speaking).  One of the four was the young man behind us in line, who seemed to be warming up just fine.  Another was a young man wearing a USA singlet, which caused me to repeatedly refer to him as “Team USA”, and also created this irresistible urge to chant, “USA! USA!”  Kerri was pretty sure the hypothermia reached my brain by this point. 
"There are so many other things I could be doing right now" (That's team USA in the Patriots hat)
Finally they said “Go!” and we went.  My plan was to start off at an 8:00 pace for the first two miles and then do the third mile in 7:30.  Of course, as usual, that plan got foiled because I started off too fast and logged the first mile in 7:20.  I backed off the pace a bit on the second mile, and then came back to finish strong in the third.  Overall I was pleased with my results and felt that I really put in a solid effort.
There's nothing wrong with your eyes.  It's just blurry cuz we're going sooo fast!
Back at the registration table, we viewed the awards and saw that the age group was 19-40 and they only placed the top two.  Knowing that there were four females ahead of me and pretty sure at least two of them were between 19 and 40, I knew I wasn’t in a position to place.  I was quite disappointed that there wasn’t a clock at the finish and no one told me my official time.  (It’s possible I just didn’t hear it over my panting).  My Garmin clocked me at 24:05 but I think I stopped it a couple seconds late, and my mother thought she overheard 23:something when I crossed.  After all the runners finished, I approached the registration table to see if I could get the results.  They said that they weren’t sophisticated enough to post the results online, and would only be announcing the winners at the race.  I was very irritated by this, since it’s a very reasonable expectation that all runners should be able to find out the basic details of their performance, including time, place, and pace.  The cold rain started to get heavier and we decided to head out before they announced the winners.  Mom was able to confirm that the winner was, in fact, the man behind me at the registration table.  (Thank God!)  Apparently his limited warm up was sufficient.  She believes Team USA came in third.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized one critical error we made: Kerri isn’t in my age group.  She probably actually won her age group, and we didn’t even realize it.  Unfortunately since they won’t be posting the results and since they didn’t bother recording the runners’ contact information, we may never know.  I truly hope that the race organizers learn from this year’s “1st Annual” event and listen to feedback so they can put on a better race next year.  The course itself was great, and in my opinion the race is for a very worthy cause.  My suggestions would be to start with a more efficient registration table, and hire someone to do the timing.  Tightening up some of these details could draw a bigger crowd of runners, and more runners means more money for the SNETT trail! 
Despite some of the organizational issues, I’m still quite glad I ran this race this morning.  It was the only part of the day that it wasn’t pouring, and if I hadn’t run this race I wouldn’t have run at all.  Plus, in reviewing my PR list it just occurred to me that I just beat my own PR by nearly 30 seconds!  So that’s a big win in my book.  After doing a very light week of running (only 14 miles this week before today), this was a great way to kick off my more intense training for the Great Hyannis half marathon on May 29.

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