If it wasn't apparent from my race report on the Miami International Triathlon, I was a little bummed at not breaking that 3 hour barrier. My swim and bike times were as expected. I realize I had no right to be down. But, I'm used to being in the top third or quarter of my age group in my road races. I was in the bottom quarter for MIT. It's all a matter of feeling like I showed up and gave an solid effort. My standings just didn't give me that feeling.
Thus, it was in this funk that I signed up for the Riverwalk 5 Miler. I usually will not sign up for an event the weekend immediately preceding a prior event. However, my wife Salome loves this race and had been looking forward to it for months as her return race coming off her long healing foot injury. Given her comeback status, she was going to run the 5K. A number of other friends were also running, so I went with the flow and signed up.
The Riverwalk 5 Mile and 5K Runs are very pretty runs through the Riverwalk area of Ft. Lauderdale and through the shaded streets of Rio Vistsa. The race is put on by the Junior League which always has a nice after race feed with pancakes and OJ. The race also gives out unique watercolor prints of the Riverwalk area as awards.
As we await the start of the 5 Mile race, a light rain starts to fall. A number of us wait for the start under the protection of a parking garage. Just before race time, the rain stops and we head to the start area. I await the start with Triathlete buddy's Tony and Jerry. Tony expects to run 8 to 8:30 miles. I state that I'll go for 7:45s. Jerry, a lean and fit 30 something guy, decides to pace with me. I forget that he doesn't know that I have a bad tendancy to go out too fast my first mile. As the race starts, I do my usual jump out. I get pulled by the faster runners at a pace I know I can't sustain, but off I go.
The course almost immediately goes over a bridge with a now rain slicked grating at the top. We all slow slightly so as to not slip as we cross the bridge. As we head into Rio Vista and come to the first split, I note I'm at 6:48, too fast to maintain. I try to calm myself down and roll back to a sustainable pace. At about the mile and a half mark, Jerry comes by. "Somebody bolted from the start," he says. "Sorry Jerry, I forgot to tell you about my rabbit tendencies," I reply. We pace together for another half mile when I drop pace a little more and let Jerry go ahead.
My mile splits after that were 7:31, 7:39, 7:43 and 7:43, for a total time of 37:28. A PR for me at the 5 mile distance. Jerry ran a 36:15, much faster than he expected. I felt my going out too fast helped him get his good time. Tony comes in around 43 minutes. I find my speedster friend Jen, who ran the 5K. She came in as the 2nd woman overall. Better yet, she broke 20 minutes for the 5K, a goal she has been chasing for a while. Salome comes in from the 5K in just over 30 minutes.
We're hanging around chatting with other runners and friends, when Tony comes up to announce that I took 3rd place in my age group. I'm shocked and amused. Coming in the awards bracket just does not happen to me. Once in a blue moon. To top it off, Salome ends up in the top three for her age group. We both walk away with nice watercolor prints.
It just goes to show you: you never know who is going to show up on race morning and how well you will run that day. I had not hit a PR in any distance since this very race 3 years prior. Nice surprise for my slightly dinged ego from the prior weekend.