For the fourth consecutive year, we made the 45-minute journey to Mount Vernon, WA, to run the Fowl Fun Run. In 2009, I ran the 10k. In 2010 and last year, I was injured and paced my daughter in the 2-mile fun run. This year, the two mile option was dropped in favor of a certified 5k course (to go with the usual 10k.) With my training and injury rehab coming along nicely the last few months, I decided to race the 5k. This left my daughter Natalie without her usual pacer she had become accustomed to in the few road races we've done together. She's coming off her 8th grade cross-country season, but wasn't sure she'd have the stamina to race a 5k well.
The weather was perfect. Sunny, 35 degrees. A bit brisk, but no wind. My wife and youngest daughter were also entered in the 5k, so it was a family affair. After my mile warmup, I shed my tights and jacket (but kept the gloves,) and was ready to go. My goal going in was to break 22 minutes, for the first time since 2010. I was hopeful, but not terribly confident. My plan was to run the first mile in 7:15, then increase the pace from there. I hit the first mile in 7:07 (and that was after consciously slowing myself down most of that mile,) but I felt fine. I slightly increased my pace the second mile, clocking a 7:04. There was a guy in front of me the entire race that I had hoped would start coming back to me. He never did, so I picked up the pace during the 3rd mile (6:48), intent on catching him. As we rounded the corner to run down a short segment of road before turning into the parking lot of the school where the finish was, I started my kick. It was not a quiet, stealth move on my part. I was breathing like a freight train. He heard me and initiated his kick as well. We turned into the parking lot and shot toward the finish in a full-out sprint. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to overtake him. Fortunately, he was 50 and no longer in my age group (he won the 50-59 group.) I wasn't sure until after the race that he wasn't in my age division, which was one reason I wanted to beat him. Yes, I'm that competitive.
Time - 21:53
Pace - 7:03
Splits - 7:07, 7:04, 6:48 (5:45 pace for last .1)
Overall - 13 of 139
Age Group - 2 of 6
Men - 9 of 45
Not long after I crossed the finish line and spoke briefly with the guy I couldn't quite out-sprint, I went back out on the course to look for Natalie. Much to my surprise, she was already flying down the final stretch, turning into the parking lot. She proved that she didn't need Dad to pace her (although she says that should could have gone even faster if I had.) She obliterated her 5k PR with a 26:00.7 (her previous PR was 26:58.) We were both excited, but she was a little frustrated that she got that close to sub-26 without going under. She also took 2nd in her age group (out of 5), 26th overall, and 15th out of 94 women. She'll be running a Jingle Bell 5k on December 9th with her friends from cross country.
Lindsey finished in 39:17 and my wife (she walked most of it) in 46:11.
For a relatively small race, the post-race food and beverage assortment is quite impressive. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream, various muffins, coffee, hot chocolate, bananas, cookies, etc. They also do random drawings to give away frozen turkeys, large pumpkin pies and packs of Costco muffins. The three previous years, we brought home a pumpkin pie. This year, with all four of us entered in the race, we knew we'd increase our odds of winning, but thought we might be due to go home sans goodies. Luck was with us, though. My number was drawn and we left with a 12 lb. frozen turkey (insert "turkey wins a turkey" joke here.)
All in all a good day.
Today will be day 59 of my running streak. Next up for me is the 30th anniversary Christmas Rush (5k, for me) in Kent, WA, where I'll be wearing my very thin race shirt from the inaugural 1983 race. That was both the first year of the race, and my first road race. The race director will be looking for me for a photo op, so I'll be a minor celebrity. I'll have to settle for that, since I'll never be a celebrity based on my running ability!