Run: 3.16 miles in 25 minutes, 33 seconds; average pace, 8:04. Official chip time: 25:36 (gun start, chip finish accounts for Garmin difference).
I ran a 5K in 25:36.
It still hasn't sunk in. I'm not sure it will sink in ... at least for a while. The time was far beyond my imagination and much better than my A++ goal, which I only shared with my husband.
I went into the race hoping to go sub-27:00, which would mean about an 8:45 pace. I knew to do this that I would have to go out strong so that I could settle into a decent pace, push myself and relax, avoiding putting too much pressure on my self. I also knew that I'd have to position myself fairly close to the front as the race was a gun start - not chip - and there were about 1,000 runners and I wanted to avoid as much congestion as possible.
Obviously, I did that. Other things I did:
*I got to the race about 45 minutes early - early enough to score prime parking and do some butt kicks, walk around and loosen up the legs.
*I kept an eye on the Garmin but didn't focus on it. I only checked it to make sure I wasn't going too slow and to keep an eye on distance. I never looked at time.
*I consciously thought about my posture, making sure to relax my shoulders, and my form.
*I found a group of people to keep in my sights, then run next to and then pass.
*Totally chicked a 9-year-old boy. Yeah, that's how I stride.
*I knew that I had banked enough time to slow a bit and not freak out the third mile. By the way, it came in at 8:16.
*I knew the downtown course well enough that I knew when to kick it in.
Things I disliked:
*No honey buckets or available restrooms a the start and finish. I really wanted to grab a water pre-start but there were no available bathrooms, and I was already feeling the urge to go to the bathroom. I just told myself that I had to hang on for less than 30 minutes.
*Gun start and chip finish. It's just stupid.
*No apples, oranges or other sustenance at the end.
*The course was a weird loopty-loop out and back in which you saw runners ahead of you and behind you. It just plays tricks on you.
Still, Runners on Parade might be my favorite Fort Wayne race. OK, I've only run a few 5Ks in town but the race kicks off the city's prized festival, Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival. People line the course, which is along the parade route, and are always very encouraging as they await the floats and marching bands. There's just an energy to the race, and I definitely felt it.