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Monday, April 06, 2015

Race Recap: Westerville Bunny Hop 5k

Chilly at the start
The Westerville Bunny Hop 5k took place Saturday, April 4 at Alum Creek Park North in Westerville, Ohio. [The course]

We were lazy again and decided to pick up our packets the morning of so we arrived around 7. Lordy, it was cold. I'm hoping it is the last cold race of the season. When we arrived at the park the sun was rising and it was in the low 30s so we walked back to the car to stay warm. After a bathroom break (in a real, indoor bathroom!) we stood at the start line and discussed how much better we both felt vs. Scioto Miles a few weeks ago. I didn't feel like setting a PR goal but I did want to run a pace in the 8s and faster than 28:00. We shivered a bit more and said goodbye as Alex made his way to the front. Luckily, once the race began, the sun was out and the sky was clear, so we warmed up quite a bit.

The Race
I started fast. My Garmin says I ran in the 7s for the first two minutes (!). I wanted to try a new method: get out quick, slow down, and then sprint in at the finish. Alex gave me a bunch of grief before the race about never sprinting in and told me exactly where I should start to speed up at the end. Thanks, coach! (If you don't know Alex I realize this may sound overbearing, but he's a very nice person.)

After the second turn I slowed a bit. I need to enable the current pace display on my watch. I normally wait for the mile mark to see my overall pace and I think I'd be a bit more competitive if I could see when I'm going significantly slower (since I can't seem to internalize a pace). During the first mile the field spread out quickly. My foot was cramped– it almost felt like a charley horse– but I didn't want to stop and stretch. Eventually the pain went away, but it held on til mile 1.5 and kind of freaked me out. My pace felt quick, but easy. I honestly had no idea what to expect time-wise until I hit the first mile and saw 8:23.

After that first mile I thought I could keep it up and probably hit a new PR. I felt really good, but I didn't feel a competitive drive to pass others or speed up. Just before mile 2 we got on the bike path and I tried to keep my pace consistent. I felt tired, but knew I didn't have much longer. I think being able to see my current pace would have help immensely during this mile. There was a steady hill and my second mile clocked in at 8:37 because I dipped down in the 9s for a few minutes. Whoops.

After the slower mile I focused on the finish. I looked at my watch after I took off my gloves around 2.5 to see 21 minutes and change. For some reason my brain said, "keep your current pace and you'll PR" but what it should have said was "speed up a little bit THEN you'll PR." Here's where I could have changed things because my last mile was actually my slowest (8:40). I was tired, but no where near as tired as my PR run. I planned to speed up on the final turn to sprint in. I kept thinking about my plan, conserved my energy, and I wondered when I should speed up. Shortly after, my watch hit 25 minutes and I wasn't very close to the finish, so I knew it wasn't a PR. :'(

I rounded the second to last corner and sped up. I actually passed a guy in the final sprint! In fact, I went so fast I didn't wave at the photographer! Progress. Unfortunately, I was pretty bummed as soon as I saw the official clock turning over to 27:00.

Posing with the best cookie ever.
Final thoughts and Stats
I finished and Alex met me with a huge smile. He was sure I set a new record, but I hadn't. I felt fast, but also consistent. It wasn't as tough as normal and I didn't feel tired after. Yes, I was huffing and puffing from mile 2 til the end, but I recovered immediately after stopping.

I hate that I don't know how a race will go until I'm running. Had I known I'd feel so energetic afterwards I would have sped up. I know it's just a 5K and not a big event –or one I planned to PR– but I have so many regrets now!

Let me air my regrets so I'll never think of them again: I wish I wouldn't have let myself dip into the 9s. I wish I would have turned on the current pace display. I wish I would have sped up sooner. I wish I would have run the shortest distance (tangents). Basically: I wish I PR'd because I felt so much better/faster/stronger than ever and I don't have anything to show for it.

(Ok, now I can shut up. It was still my second fastest 5k.)

Official Time: 27:01
Another Garmin discrepancy: Like Scioto Miles (where my watch said I ran the actual 10k distance about a minute faster than my online results), the watch said my 5k time was 26:29 which would be a PR... by 2 seconds. In the end, the watch claims I ran 3.18 miles. I've gotta run those tangents!

Overall: 53/434 (12%)
Gender: 17/270 (6%)
Age Group: 10/68 (15%)
As I said on twitter: "If I was in any other age group I would have had a top 3 AG finish today. Damn you fast 30 year old women!!!!"

Swag and Event Feedback
I thought this was a nice event. There were just over 400 total participants and the course was relatively flat and the section on the bike path was lovely. I would run it again in a heartbeat. In fact, with all my PR moaning if there was an event today, I'd go. ;)

The packets included a draw string bag, event shirt, bib, and lots and lots of paper (paper not pictured). We got coupons for free donuts and cookies, discounts off pizza, and random offers from local businesses. In addition we received bunny ears (which we decided not to wear because they were a bit floppy), antibacterial hand soap, and a ruler with all of the presidents on one side. I was excited about the ruler. (We go to trivia sometimes and I need to memorize the presidents in the middle.)

Post race swag included bananas, water, granola bars, and a Cheryl's cookie!! Alex picked up a reusable water bottle, but I decided to pass because we have roughly one million at home. The medal was really lovely. The ribbon is super soft and very pretty. Easter bunnies are inherently creepy, but the medal design is nice! Alex got 6th or 7th place (he never saw a 6th person in front of him, so he doesn't trust the official results) and he received a $10 gift voucher to our favorite local running store.

Up Next: Scioto Miles #2 is next Sunday. Alex is trying to talk me into switching to the 15k instead of trying to PR the 10k. 15k would be better mental prep for the Cap City Half, but the 10k would be over faster... At least it won't be very cold!

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