Yesterday, I did my first “St. Pat’s 4 miler!” This a staple for runners in this area – with it being the 11th running of the race. Let me start by saying that it was COLD. We were running in 60 degree temperatures last week, and yesterday it was 24 degrees. Despite (or maybe because of?) the odd distance, it gets a great showing, with 697 runners showing up this year. I find this REALLY impressive, as it was pre-registrations ONLY.
For those that know the Binghamton Area, I have included a map of the course above.
There were a variety of outfits from the mundane, to green-haired kilt wearing runners. The gymnasium was PACKED! (probably because people were avoiding the cold.) I wasn’t terribly impressed with the packet pickup. First you stood in line and got your number (mine was 660.) You were supposed to remember the number while you stood in a really
long line, for packet pickup. Then toward the end of the line – you went to one of three – that was based on your number.. (Only one of which was actually long – but it was the reason the number pickup was long.) Then, just in case you hadn’t had your fill of standing in line – off to stand in line for your T-Shirt! Thanks to Red Head Running’s posts last week – I did notice that they only had uni-sex shirts.)
As I was standing in the second line, Chris came over with his lovely wife Rebecca to say
hey. I love it when I see someone I know. (Chris is the one that got me running again, by sending a Facebook message to a bunch of “Cross-Country Runners” from Seton Catholic Central in the mid ’90s – asking if we all wanted to do the St. James 5k a couple of years back.) Now Chris has been running for few years, and has been far brighter about it than I have. He didn’t go buy minimalist shoes and then ignore all the advice and run too far. Nor did he try to double his running distance from one week to the next, in preparation of trying to get ready for a marathon last year. (In other words in addition to being able to run further and faster than I can – he is able to run more intelligently than I do.)
After getting the sign-in process completed, I stashed my coat (tough call on whether to wear it or not. Finally decided too cold was better than too hot), Chris and I headed out for a warm up job pre-race. As we lined up, I figured I would start running with him, and let him go around a mile or so in. He was aiming for “under-30,” and I was aiming for 35ish. The two paces didn’t strike me as all that compatible, though I thought it was worth staying with him at first – simply for old-time-sake.
“Ready Set Go!” and off we went. Chris did indeed take off faster than I would have, as expected, which had the advantage of being nice and toasty before I had gone half a mile. Just past the mile marker I said my good-byes to Chris and slowed down. He got about 20-30 feet head of me and then he slowed down. All I could think was “…” (which was funny, as I didn’t know you could think that.) So, I sped up and caught him – which of course made him speed up.
I had been focused on a runner’s back, and actually pulled even with him around the mile marker for the third mile. After thanking him for pulling me along (although he did let me know I didn’t need to call him “Sir” just because he had grey hair. We settled on “Bub.”), I
returned the favor by not letting him slow down for that last mile. With about 1/3 of a mile left- I picked up the speed just a bit (See Mr. Hyland? I am learning to have SOME sort of kick! It only took 20 years!) Chris caught up to me with ~400 meters to go – and blew me out of the water.
I was amazed though – as Chris and “Bub” kept me going at a speed I would have sworn was impossible. My official chip-time was 29:14, giving me an average pace of 7:19! According to Cardio Trainer, my splits were: Mile 1: 7:10, Mile 2: 7:22, Mile 3: 7:21, Mile 4: 7:04
7:04??? REALLY???? WOOO HOOOO!!!!! I had a goal this running season of doing a 5k in the 21’s. That should definitely be possible! But I digress.
This race has a great post-race party. The food included Pizza, Subs, Donuts, Pastries, Bananas, Chips and more. The drinks included Water and Beer (I don’t know if there was anything else – these were what I had!) Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long enough to really enjoy it – as I had to run to my son’s Oddessy of the Mind tournament.
It was a great race! I had a great run where I got to run with a friend, and got a PR! (heck, got a PR on an “any race” mile-split! is that a real PR?)
Last night I went to an “injury-free running” seminar. More about that soon!