Race Recap: Get In Gear 5K

It has become apparent to me that I still owe a Goldy’s 10 Mile recap– oops. The condensed version of what that will be is: “Oh, hills. Yeeeouch.”

As I was starting to write this post, I was going to tally the number of times I have run the Get in Gear. I started running in the fall of 2008, so I figured I had for sure done this event at least 4 or 5 times over the years.

Or… just twice. The 5K in 2011 (with my mom- her first!) and the 10K in 2012.

This race has a good reputation (but dubious and predictable weather reputation) that makes it feel like an old staple. It is comfortably predictable and maybe that’s what makes me think I have done it so many times. Or maybe because the course runs through a part of the city that is often included on my training runs and bike rides. I don’t know what it is, but this event always feels like an old friend.

My original plan was to take the day nice and easy in preparation for the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon next weekend. I was, however, nervous that I was shirking my last opportunity for a long run to do a 5K, so I decided to run from home to the park (2.6 miles) and then after the 5K decide if I wanted to run home or take the Nice Ride bike share, which has a station at the park and another a half mile from home.

My run to the park actually went stunningly well. I left plenty early and took two tiny walk breaks on the way there (once to watch ducks play in the creek and once because I didn’t feel like running up a hill). Even though I stood around for about 40 minutes before race start, getting some good miles in before was actually really nice. My legs were warmed up and I didn’t waste the first half mile of the race finding my mo-jo for the day. I’ve biked to races before, but never run. I kind of liked it and would definitely consider it for events close to home.

One running truth of mine that I am having a hard time adjusting to is the fact that my 5K times are consistently and steadily improving, even if only by very teeny tiny increments. I see that reflected in my times both in training runs and events, and yet when it comes time to line up at the start line for an event, I am always shuffling myself somewhere towards the back of the pack. Then I spend my first mile weaving around slower runners, walkers, dogs, strollers, etc. For the Get in Gear, I decided to be brave and start a little closer to the front, and I think that really paid off. I did have to weave around a pair of walkers right after the start line (seriously, do no get me started on their terrible race day manners!) but after that I did only had one time where I really got jammed up and chose to run up on some grass for a while.

The course is pancake-flat. My Garmin recorded a total elevation gain of 7 feet and a loss of 4 feet. I am not sure that is perfectly accurate, but it’s probably close. There are approximately 4 turns total, which I think is just done to prevent a hair-pin turn on the River Road to which I say, “God bless thee, Get in Gear!” I hate a crowded hair-pin turn and would much rather make a 1 block loop (which is exactly what we did). When I glanced at my watch at the first mile and it said “Lap 1: 9:31” and I felt really good I thought, If I just keep this up, I could PR, right? Then I spent an inordinate amount of mental energy trying to calculate the pace I would need to keep to get a sub-30 minute 5K time, but I could not do the math because of that damn 0.1 extra miles. (Hint: if you want to run a sub-30 5K, you must average 9:39s.)

That’s really the whole race story. I decided to run hard and I did. As we approached the finish, I saw that the gun time was about 29:50 and I had to really push it to try to beat the 30 minute clock time, but I didn’t cross the start line at the same time as the gun, so I felt pretty confident I would get a sub-30 official time when I was able to see my chip time. I took a triumphant photo of my Garmin time (29:43) and declared myself a PR and my sub-30 via Instagram.

I decided to run home, with a stop for a cup of coffee and a donut around mile 2. When I got home, I had an email from Get in Gear with my race results and I was giddy with excitement to see a sub-30 time.

30:01.

Thirty-effing-oh-one.

They had assigned times to all 5K runners based on gun time, not the time we actually crossed the starting mat. What is the point of chip-timing a 5K other than to earn that time at the beginning of the race?! To say I reacted to this dramatically would be an understatement. Especially because I could think of a million times in the race I could have earned those 2 seconds back. #*&%*@*#%!!!!!

know what the Garmin said, but I am tied to official times in an old-school kind of way, so this email was pretty crushing. I whined about it a full 24 hours later to my friends at brunch.

On Sunday afternoon, I received an email to watch my finisher’s video. Or, as I called it, my “two seconds too slow loser’s video.” I was still not handling that oh-one with much grace. I opened it anyway and was surprised to see a new official time of 29:41– they had adjusted for the chip start!

Overall, it was a motivating run and improved my spirits heading in to this half marathon this weekend. I think the half is my most challenging distance and I have yet to have one go off without a hitch, so hopefully my good running juju will last. I need just a 2:27:59 to PR at the half, which is an 11:17 pace. On paper, it looks overtly do-able, but I really struggle to pace myself appropriately at this distance and usually let things get silly around mile 8. I definitely won’t be running 9:30s!

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