Apparently, an awful week = motivation to kick ass in a race. Beating my goal time and running negative mile times? Yespleasethankyou.
I ran the Ras na hEireann 5K yesterday, which was a madhouse of 5,000-6,000 runners in Davis Square. MADHOUSE. I don’t know why such a large number is allowed to run there. Combined with having one of the worst intersections in Greater Boston, Davis has a lot of one-way streets and angry drivers due to blocked roads.
Anyway, I made small chat with a girl at the start because hey I’m running alone, might as well talk to somebody. It was freezing. The forecast had said sunny and low 50s, but it was most definitely cloudy and cold. Wouldn’t have been a problem if I had brought gloves and did a proper warm-up. I felt good and warmed up about 2-2.5 miles in… yeah.
Mile 1: 9:51
With the size of the crowd, it took forever to break into a good pace and stop weaving. There were some walkers who must have started up at the 7-8 min/mile pace area. Fail. There was a hill about half a mile in where I picked off a bunch of people. I love a good hill surge. My music shuffle started me off with some Dropkick and I decided to maintain an all-Dropkick playlist for the remainder of the race. It was an Irish race, after all.
Mile 2: 9:19
Finally settled on a pace. Another small hill, and a big downhill for recovery. I began to feel a bit tired since I hadn’t eaten much, but I was determined to get past this stupid mental block I’ve been having. Any time a negative thought entered my mind about my ability, I tried to pick up the pace a bit. No stopping, no giving up on something that should be so simple for me by now. I tried not to look at my watch too much, fearing a time over 30 minutes.
Mile 3: 9:07
Aside from a small hill, the course flattened from here. We rounded the last corner and finished down a bike path. The problem with this bike path? It was flanked by mud on both sides, and in some areas, large puddles seeping onto the brick pathway caused runners to squeeze together as if we were sand racing through an hourglass. How wonderfully metaphorical of me. It slowed me down a bit, but clearly not enough to ruin a rockin’ mile time. With a quarter mile to go, I finally looked down at my watch and realized I could easily take a sub-30.
Finish Line: 8:37
Including a header for a tenth of a mile? Yes, because stupidly important race logistics here. I picked up my pace, ready to make a strong finish. As I approached the line, I noticed a huge crowd of people barely moving. Excuse me, there’s a finish line under all of your feet. This crowd back here needs to cross it. The runners ahead of us were moving so slowly after the finish that the crowd had backed up into the race path. According to the difference between my Garmin time and my chip time, it took me 8 seconds to cross the finish. Insane. And the crowd just kept trudging along, with the backup becoming worse and worse behind us. We were corralled between fences on either side, so it wasn’t like we could even disburse and clear the congestion.
Overall, I enjoyed the race. But the finish line was a disaster. Not to mention the lines 6,000 runners create at bars when free beers are on the menu. And they didn’t have all the same finisher medals for everyone. Trite, but an oddity to note.
Gun time: 32:22
Chip time: 29:26
Real time: 29:18, 9:24 average pace