Tacoma St. Paddy’s Day 5k

I’m going to begin by saying that the end result of this race makes it appear to be a much better race than it was. With that said, I begin:

Adam was trying to qualify second seed for Bloomsday so was running the 10k. Having run this 10k course before, hating that distance and not needing to qualify second seed (having already done it at Bloomsday last year), I was signed up for the 5k.

Although I hate to make excuses for a crummy race time, this race was only a week after Lake Sammamish and I had not taken a single day off in that week.

The weather was typical for Seattle/Tacoma, windy, cold and rainy.

We got down to Tacoma with plenty of time to pick up our bibs, hit the porta potty and complain about the weather.

The 10k started 20 minutes before the 5k so walked with Adam over to the starting line and cheered him on as he took off.

I had just enough time to visit the porta potty one more time before dropping my jacket at the car. I was not feeling this race at all, my legs were tired and I just didn’t have the fight in me I usually feel before races. I had looked at last year’s results and know if I had a solid race and no one insanely fast (ie Club Northwest) showed up I had a chance of placing in the Top 3.

As I was warming up I felt the windy hit me signaling we would have a head wind on the return to the finish, which was also the hilly portion. I lined up and eyeballed some of the women around me. One girl who I have raced against before was there as well as a girl from Oiselle.

The air horn went off and we all took off. Right off the bat the two speedsters along with the men took off. I knew better than to try and keep up, even on a good day that would have been a poor strategy. Instead I tucked a few paces behind the third place women and swore to stick with her as long as I could, if not pull ahead and hope she didn’t have a solid finishing kick.

The course runs downhill on Schuster Parkway and turns around just before the overpass which drops you onto Ruston Way.  Mile 1 was a respectable 6:46 aided by the downhill. I stayed even with the third place women (one and two were long gone). Slowly I pulled even with her and at the turn around I surged past her. I didn’t dare look behind me as she disappeared from my peripheral vision. We all felt the wind hitting us at this point and my legs were screaming, I had not rhythm. Mile 2 was 7:01, by no means terrible but I had hoped for another sub-7 mile.

By this point I was just willing myself to not stop or slow down. The top 10k males and females came flying by me. I knew the finish was close but I also knew we had a hill waiting for us. My legs were feeling every foot of the small climb. I kept telling myself I was third and had to hold onto that. The hill up to the finish broke me, it was as if I was standing still. I watched my mile pace drop to a dismal 7:22.

I gritted my teeth as hard as I could and pushed but my legs had nothing left.

As I reached the finish a young boy who had been running near me most of the race was behind me. I waved my hand at him signaling for him to catch me and told him to push to the finish.

I threw my exhausted body across the line in one final push.

I grabbed some water, caught my breath and went to watch Adam finish knowing he wouldn’t be far behind. Sure enough, I saw him crest the hill, unfortunately off pace for his Boomsday qualifying time. He looked as miserable as I felt during my race.

After we both caught our breath we wandered over to the results tent and I confirmed I had placed Third as well as First in my age group. Adam managed Fifth in his age group. The formal award ceremony wasn’t for another 45 minutes or so, so we grabbed our wallets and jacket from the car and grabbed a beer from the Matador while we waited.

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My first place ribbon and Adam’s 5th place.

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I haven’t run a 5k this slow since 2012.

It may not have been the time I was hoping for, the end result was still a good one.

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Can’t complain too much, I get a fun 3rd place plack.