Monday, September 29, 2014

Race Report: St. Paul Harvest Festival 5K

St. Paul Harvest Festival 5K
Chino Hills, CA | September 27, 2014

It was only because my mom and I happened to drive up to Trader Joe's, right by St. Paul's, that I even saw that this 5K was happening. I knew it'd run a course similar to what I was eye-balling for the 5K I'm planning, so I wanted to see for myself what it was and how it actually wove its way through the community around the church. The Harvest Festival comes annually, right around my birthday, but little did I know that there is a 5K attached to it on the Saturday morning of the carnival! Count me in.
Empty carnivals are sort of eerie first thing in the morning.
I signed up Thursday night when we got home for a whopping $30 (yay local races!), and geared myself up for an early alarm on Saturday morning. Despite the race not starting until 7:30 am, they asked you be there at 6:30 - I was there, checked in, and was back at my car by 6:45 to sit, finish eating my peanut butter toast, and relax for a few before making my way back to the start.

I was texting Sandy before the race, and boldly stated that I was gunning for a PR (since last December), and that because medals were only given to age group winners, I told her I wanted to leave with a medal. Go big or go home, right? Sandy told me to stay strong and push it until it hurt. (Spoiler: I did)

 The race was based off clock time - no mats at start or finish - so I started in the middle-front of the pack - beind all the high school kids in their cross country gear, but in front of enough gung-ho kids that I wouldn't run them over once we were on the road. At least I'm aware of my surroundings, right?
Ready to go. Let's do this!
The course isn't scenic, but is flat, with one nice downhill and one slight uphill going through Boys' Republic. I was chugging along well, tailing a guy in an LA Marathon shirt and thought I'd at least hang on to him as my bunny for as long as I could muster. First mile 7:57. Well, shit, this is not going to go well later! I met a lady just about here who asked if that was really mile 1, and what time did I have on my watch, because she was aiming for a 24-minute race (off her 26:30ish PR too). I told her we could stick together and make it happen. She left me later.

The Boys' Republic roads hits their fire road entrance, comes out on the main city streets again where they have us cross into a flat neighborhood and make a loop around the housing track, and back eventually across the street towards the school. Mile 2: 8:05. Huh, okay... I guess I can push this pretty well when I really want to! 

Into Mile 3, I definitely felt the first two miles catch up with me, but heck, at this point, it's just a mile to go. Go get this PR, because even if I walked the last mile, I could take 12 minutes and still have a decent PR. For the longest time, I've wanted to break my 26-minute barrier, and today just might be the day. My legs were toast at 2.5, and I sludged along, trying to keep quick steps but already feeling the burn. Mile 3: 8:30something. Ok, .10 left. Get this. 6:34 pace for the last sprint and a final time of

Holy crap. That burns. But holy crap, that's 1:02 off my previous PR and a damn good race for me. I don't think I've ever felt that tired after a 5K, which also tells me I was doing it right. Woo! I was desperately trying to get to IERC before they left for their group runs, so I stalked the placing boards as they plowed through results.

Bam. Second in age group, and she let me walk away with my medal since I couldn't hang around for the awards ceremony. Thank you, St Paul, for a great little race and a sweet finish to boot!

Did you race this weekend? How'd you do?

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