May 27, 2018

Parkrun PR (Brave Like Gabe)

E and I decided to spend a couple of nights in the city for Memorial Day weekend.

Low light sunset over piers 1.5 - 3.
Friday night, I met an attorney-friend for celebratory drinks because our GDPR nightmare was now just ongoing and not a deadline.  After that, E and I enjoyed a delicious early date night dinner of grilled octopus, burrata salad, and mussels with homemade saffron fettuccine.  We were back in the hotel lounge for a nightcap by 8 and in bed, watching the adorable Lady Bird by 9, pounding sparkling water and water to hydrate for the next day's Crissy Field Parkrun. (Also, my honorary Brave Like Gabe 5K -- when I tried to register, they weren't accepting virtual registrations anymore, so I just made a donation to the organization in general and mentally made a note to run hard to push for people who are sick.)

I love how golden Oakland looks at sunset.

We fell asleep before 11:30 and slept peacefully until the hotel phone randomly woke us up with loud ringing at 3:52 AM.  No one was on the line.  It was bizarre.  Unfortunately, both of us had a difficult time getting back to sleep.

When my alarm went off at 7:05, I reset it for 7:20 and actually fell back asleep and started dreaming before the 7:20 alarm woke me up.  Groggy, we finally got up, did the vitamin taking, teethbrushing, and dressing required before heading up to the lounge for cappuccinos and a light pre-race breakfast.

Love Crissy Field Parkrun!
As I've been slowly increasing my fitness, my goal was to run sub 30.  I lined up towards the back of the pack and fidgeted with my headphones and phone, not quite working everything out by the time I heard "1-2-3 Go!"  So, we were off, and after a couple of minutes, noting that I was averaging 9:22/mile when my goal was 9:39 for the first mile, I decided to try to make the music work.  Eventually, after rebooting my phone, I got my Bluetooth headphones connected, saw 9:46 as the average pace for the lap on my garmin and picked it up.  E stayed with me and matched his pace to mine for that first mile, which was very helpful.

Magritte's Scheherazade
The Magritte exhibit at SF MoMA is one of
my favorite museum exhibits I've ever seen.
I hit the mile at 0.2 seconds faster than my target pace -- a little too close for comfort.  So I tried to pick it up just a little bit and E stayed with me.  Somewhere around 1.5 miles, he waved goodbye and took off (finishing 2m4s ahead of me).  I kept checking my watch, pushing and occasionally passing folks, hitting mile 2 with a 9:36.5 split.

Magritte's Personal Values
Okay.  At this point, I was working hard, but happy with where I was. I felt comfortable that I could probably keep it under 9:39 average and finish sub 30 to meet my goal.  It was a beautiful cool foggy day with views of the Golden Gate bridge and I was consciously practicing gratitude.

One of my favorites.

Except all of a sudden, it became apparent that many of the people I'd passed were using me as a pacer.  The first woman I'd previously passed, passed me and started clipping people off as she headed down the last 3/4 mile to the finish, much stronger than I was.  I'm not gonna lie.  I found it very difficult to be grateful about THAT.

Possibly my absolute favorite.
Honestly, I hadn't raced in such a long time I'd forgotten it was a thing.  I was so used to comparing myself against only myself that I found it shocking that I actually cared what the people around me were doing.

The next woman who tried to pass caused me to dig in and match her, staying just in front of her shoulder for a minute or so, until eventually, she stopped pushing me and I saw that I was close to a guy I'd been trailing for most of the race.  I pushed to pass him and he really didn't like that option.  He tried to surge past me, so I matched.  He dropped back for a few seconds.  He tried to surge again, I matched again.  He dropped back again.  This pattern played out a few more times until the last 10th of a mile where I never saw him again.

Meanwhile, about 4 of the women I'd passed earlier in the race took the opportunity to cleanly and strongly pass me while I was battling with surging dude.  I tried to push as hard as I could, but I couldn't stay with any of them.  My chest was hurting in that "this is uncomfortable, but I can probably keep this up 'til the finish" kind of way.  My legs felt like they probably had more to give, but my cardiovascular system did not.

Finally, I crossed the line and stopped my watch, very happy to see 29:39. My 3rd mile split was 9:29 with the last bit of the 5K at 9:10/mile pace.  All in all, a very well executed negative split race.

Post race dinner splurge.

This is nowhere in contention for the fastest 5K I've ever run.  In fact, it's about 29 seconds per mile slower than my PR marathon pace.  But, I haven't broken 30 in a 5K since I'd done so at Memorial Day Parkrun 2 years ago, and this time is faster than that one, setting a Parkrun course PR for me.

It's the highest percentage age grade race (50.99%) I've posted in about 3 years.  My age grade best is 60.30%, so I feel comfortable that I'm headed in the right direction fitness wise, AND, if I stay on it, I've got plenty of room for improvement within my historic norms.  I just need to continue putting up consistent basic good healthy habits and training.  And, I'm excited to get after it.


Jen said...

Congrats on your parkrun PR!

bt said...

@Jen -- thanks!