The morning of the Parkinson’s Canal Run 5k was not treating me well. The race was at 10am and I woke up at 7am feeling awful. I didn’t pre-register for the race because I was still unsure if I was going to run. I had a great track workout on Wednesday and since then I was feeling pretty tired. Also, that workout seemed to have tightened up my IT band. I went through my usually race day routine anyways just because I thought I might just need to wake up. I debated with myself from 7 to 9 then just decided what the hell, I am going to have to run today anyways. I tossed everything up to race day nerves and left.
Driving to the park was very pleasant. The weather was looking pretty nice and my car said that it was in the 40’s. So I thought that this might be a pretty nice day to race. When I got to the park I realized just how wrong I was about the weather. I stepped out of my car and almost got knocked back in from the wind. This didn’t help with how I was feeling about the race. I finally decided to register and was happy to get myself a new shirt. I did my warm up while keeping an eye out for the newest RKR member, Matt Roberts. He mentioned that he was running this race earlier in the week.
Matt spotted me at the starting line and we chatted a bit while waiting for the race organizers to prepare. Seeing someone I know instantly made me feel better about being in the race. Also, Matt was going to be aiming for the same pace that I was which meant that I should have someone to run with. Once the race organizers were ready, we toed the line. As for competition, Matt and I only recognized Jeff Beck.
The first 800m felt easy. There were about 4 or 5 of us in a very tight group. Matt and I were surprised that Beck didn’t start with a commanding lead. Matt decided to take the lead for a bit, but this just resulted in Beck quickly overtaking him and then Beck proceeded to put a large gap between him and the group. After the race Matt told me that he felt the start was too slow and wanted to make it more of a race. Shortly after Beck took the lead, I caught up to Matt and we also separated ourselves from the group.
At about 1200m we turned onto the canal trail. This is where I first realized how bad the wind really was. Once we turned, the wind going across the canal pushed me over more than I expected and I almost tripped over my own feet. I had to do my best to adjust to the strong crosswind. The wind on the canal trail was changing a bit. Sometimes there would be strong gusts from the side, but most of the time it was slightly to our backs which made this part of the course relatively nice. Matt and I crossed the first mile at 5:23.
After about 1.5miles we turned off of the canal trail and this is where I started to lose Matt. He pulled ahead a few steps and I just tried to hold on. Then shortly before the 2mile mark was the worst turn in the race. We turned onto a side street that seemed to be acting as a very effective wind tunnel. I felt myself slow instantly. Matt then crossed the 2mile mark a few seconds before me and I clocked my mile time at 5:22. I was very happy with that, but also knew that the wind on the canal trail probably helped.
This last mile was brutal. The course is approximately an out and back loop and sadly the back part would be straight into the wind. Besides the wind tunnel that we were running through, there was nothing too eventful until we neared the finish. Matt decided to take a little detour out towards a misplaced cone in the last half mile. He definitely lost a few seconds there but he already had a pretty good lead on me. The sprint to the finish was terrible. We were running straight into the wind across a very open parking lot. I made an attempt at sprinting but I didn’t really seem to speed up so I just ran it in.
Usually after saying I ran two 5:20 splits I would report a time under 17min. The final time was actually 17:25, which would make my third mile right around 6min (I didn’t see the 3rd mile marker for my split). I don’t think I have ever had such a large drop in my mile pace for a 5k, but that wind was tough. Overall, I was glad that I decided to run the race. This was my first 5k of the year and I felt that it went well. Matt seemed pretty happy with his time as well, but I felt bad for him because it sounded like he was going to have to do another tempo in the afternoon for his marathon training. This year RKR took 2nd and 3rd, with Matt at 17:15 and me at 17:25.
Also, just as an additional note on how the weather was that day, I am pretty sure it was colder by the end of the race. As Matt and I stepped into our cars it began snowing a lot without warning. This mini snow storm lasted for about 10 seconds. I was very confused and from the look on Matt’s face he seemed confused/surprised as well.