Sunfest 5k time! It’s warm and sunny at 5:30 pm. But that’s not the whole story. We are delayed due to a train stuck blocking Okeechobee Blvd. Apparently, runners stuck on the other side called-in to friends on this side, which got to race management in time to stall the start.
I warm up by running down the first straightaway to the traffic circle, then to Flagler and south to First Baptist Church, now called Family Church. Maureen does the same warm up, looking to avoid pre-race anxiety as she experienced at the Garden of Life race. We do 3 descending sprints up the side of the church alleyway, that shows I’m running well with no issues to attend to.
The race begins after a 15-minute delay. I see Stacy Willette and Jamie Rogers at the start line, also John Reback is here. We start and I’m out of the crowd quickly, not too fast but making 5:35 pace for the first 400m to get clear. I settle into a 6:05-6:10 pace. Hamed and others are already ahead, they’ll get a great time or blow up in the heat. The first long straightaway is more than a mile long. I get to the first mile in 6:10. The second mile turns through the Sunset Park neighborhood and out onto Flagler Drive heading north. With wind supposedly coming from the Southwest, I should be enjoying the tailwind. It doesn’t feel like anything at all. I am in a good rhythm of breathing and exerting. I see the three lululemon girls cheering and go by Mile #2. My watch says I’m at 6:25 pace, I don’t want to slow down that much, I won’t finish under 20 minutes with that pace. I concentrate on the two guys ahead of me. They are lining up for a duel. We go under the Okeechobee tunnel and pop out on the Sunfest side. I see the first tent and Meyer Amphitheater – I know where this is going. I am funneled into the road by traffic cones. No one passes me, I pass one maybe two runners in the last 1000 meters. It’s very sunny and I keep the pace all the way to the finish arch. It’s a good one at 19:17. That’s enough to win for my age group, even as I am listed in an “Uncategorized Male” group with two others. Matt Triggs wins the 50-54 AG with a 20:11. I’m happy with the result!
It seemed as if we had a few moments of shade had the race started on time. Once we get to the finish, it is as if a shade gets pulled over the sun. I am in the shade of the large palm trees but it’s breezy and cool. a few beers from bib tickets and it’s a good race to grow from..