3.1 mi. This was my first time running this race. I’ve been a few times as the emcee/announcer, and always thought, “Gee, it’s very warm and still out to be blasting through a 5k.” The race begins at 5:30pm so it can be over and out of the way for the beginning of the regular SunFest crowds. That means 6:30pm and on…
Lilia Drew had won the entry and was heading to Jamaica, so I was glad to have that lucky freebie come my way. I parked near the Greene Auditorium building at PBA University as I would have if doing the announcing. They said we could use the PBA Athletic Center’s showers after the race, so I brought a change of clothes, a towel and shampoo for that. (I never did go back for the clean-up)
The race began on time, I started up front on skinny Olive Avenue. I spoke with April Flynn before the run, she said she had done a 19:44 5k the prior week, her error was she left too fast with Hamed Kian and lost speed at the end. It was very warm and sunny, with not many clouds. I was glad to go out quickly in the beginning, there were a fair number of non-runners looking to do the same. I think it’s best to start in front of them.
I ran behind April and Hamed, who were at a 6:15 pace at the first half mile. I followed, getting slightly closer as we ran under the shade trees near Belvedere Rd. I could see the flashing lights of the lead motorcycle and police cars, wondering when they’d make that turn to the left. Once they did, I knew I’d be heading into the easterly wind and making all steps north towards the familiar WPB waterfront area and finish line.
I passed April and Hamed when their pace dropped to 6:25. That was not going to get me in before 20 minutes I thought. I considered maybe I’d stoke either of them to catch me, I don’t usually pass Hamed in races other than in the final 1/2 mile. We went east on Pershing Rd, then made the left onto Flagler heading north.
It was hot, and I was gasping. I drank a Pedialyte Apple flavored drink earlier in the afternoon hoping that would be good hydration for warm conditions. I took a small cup of water at the one water stand after the first mile marker. I ran as straight and tangential to the course as I could, knowing we’d have some silly steps around SunFest folks once inside the fenced off event area. Seeing the straightaway after Barcelona Street felt good, but I was huffing and puffing. The Okeechobee Bridge underpass is always a good mental marker, even if (as always) I was under duress. My legs were fine but my breathing was tough to hang on to. I passed a guy with a bald spot after the bridge and headed onto the sidewalk. I saw that the course probably was supposed to be on the street when I noticed cones and people directing traffic. The guy passed me back with less than 1/4 mile to go, but I was struggling to keep my pace. I didn’t look at my Garmin, I just wanted to reach that end! I came in 3 seconds behind the guy who passed me, finishing in 19:30 with an average pace of 6:17 per mile. That was for 9th overall and first in my age group.
I stayed around the finish line and had drinks with Carol McGrath and Hilary Greever, remaining until about 8:30pm on the Captain Morgan barge. I did an easy walk back to the car and I was home by 9:15. Good day of racing, being that I usually only do 1 5k each year, the Race For the Cure. So this makes two including the Mercedes Corporate Challenge a week and a half ago on a very similar course.