After skipping school and driving up to Plano on Friday, my dad and I arose at 4:45 and drove into Ft. Worth, ready for the 5k at 7:00. It was a chilly morning. Since there weren’t many participants in this race, I was able to keep plenty of warm clothes on, then ditch them only about ten minutes before the gun. Seemed like everyone had a white bib; mine was green. Maybe because I was doing a race both days, and most people weren’t?
As I walked into corral 1, the PA system announced, “We’re minutes away from the start of the 10k at 7:00!” No mention of the 5k. I looked around. White bibs only, no green. It finally clicked.
“Is this where you go for the 5k?” I asked some random runner.
“This is the 10k. The 5k starts at 8:30!”
Well, don’t I feel stupid! Strange that the corral bouncer didn’t notice. Also strange to have a corral bouncer in a wheelchair; anyone who wanted to get into corral 1 could walk right past them.
I walked back out of the corral, found my dad, and we hung out inside the expo center for the next hour. At least it’d be warmer by then.
The correct start time drew near, and once more, I disrobed ten minutes before the gun, headed into corral 1, and made my way towards the start line. Of the 8-10 people nearest me, four of them were wearing Nike Alphaflys or Vaporflys. Another was wearing a pair of shoes that were minimalist to the point of being glorified socks. He probably knows what he’s doing.
After the gun sounded, a bunch of people got in front of me, the opposite of normal. And yet I felt like I was probably going too fast. Only a minute or two later, I’d backed off, but now I was passing people. I normally take off too fast, due to the excitement of beginning a race, but evidently everyone else did the same thing, to an even greater degree.
After people had sorted themselves by pace, I could still see the leaders, half a block ahead. Three guys, running close together, one of them the guy with the minimalist shoes. I started counting back to my position. I was in 10th, and gaining on a few.
I could catch those two. Then I did. I could catch that guy as well…
Less than halfway through the (short) race, I was in 4th. The top three people had only increased their lead. Should I chase them? If I hadn’t had a marathon to run the next day, I would’ve tried.
I wish there were more to write, but a 5k is such a short race, there’s not enough time for any developments to take place. One of the guys up front started to lag behind the other two, but he was far enough in front of me that chasing him would’ve been futile, and would’ve only hurt me in the marathon tomorrow.
In the end, I comfortably took 4th, running somewhat faster than I’d planned, but it didn’t feel too difficult. And I won my age division! Satisfying results.
While it was annoying that we woke up over an hour before we needed to, the silver lining was we got an idea how long it would take to drive into Ft. Worth, and how close to the gun we’d arrive. With a much larger event the next day, and more pre-race rituals to get through, we decided we’d wake up at 4:30 AM tomorrow.
to be continued...