Ran the elite criterion section of the Freeman Myer Corporate Challenge 5K this evening. Companies organized teams and competed against each other to prove who had the most fit corporate team and I guess the elite race was the entertainment for the night because after the corporate teams finished, they all had food and drinks in hand while cheering on the elites. They started the elite men's race one minute before the elite women's race, which I was kind-of disappointed by because starting with the men would have added more depth and more competition for us but as it was there were only six women in our elite women's race. SIX! And the top five got prize money. I felt bad for the sixth place girl because she knew before the race started that she was going to get her bum kicked as she nervously asked what kind of time we were shooting for. She was tempted to just not run because she didn't want to look stupid, but we all encouraged her to just run and see what she could do, so she did.
The course was back and forth on one road with a cone at each end where we turned around. Three laps slightly over a mile each as flat as a pancake with a mild puff in the middle. Exactly one minute after the men took off, we went out pretty fast as well. Five of us were pretty close for the first mile (sixth place was a bit back already).
My watch said 5:15 at mile one, but the race announcer said we came through in 5:20. I'm not certain their mile markers were exactly correct because a few of the guys I talked to after the race said their garmins measured a bit short for the overall distance and so did mine.
Anyway, my next split on my garmin was 5:29 and I had lost a few meters on Benita and Fiona but had also gained a few meters on Nuta. (An Aussie, a Kiwi, a Romanian, and Me ;) I kept trying to hang on to Benita and Fiona to see if one of them would drop off so I could fight for another spot but they had gained a few meters on me. Mile three was the toughest as I started to feel that beloved high-altitude, "probably went out too fast" oxygen debt kicking in. Benita and Fiona were battling for first and I was trying to keep them as close as possible and hang on for a PR. Garmin says 5:36 for mile three.
The final .07 was a 4:35 pace sprint to the finish knowing that I had secured third place and just trying to get the best time I could. I had a happy moment of joy as I was sprinting to the finish and this old guy in a 10 year old USA track warm-up suit (the same one I got after Jr. Nationals years ago) yelled "GO BYU!!" at me as I ran past him. Apparently he was the former CU Cross Country coach and had just been chatting with Aaron about how I ran at BYU and how he knew Patrick Shane well. Anyway, it made me smile and helped pass the final seconds.
So the overall results were
Benita Willis 16:21 $400
Fiona Docherty 16:29 $300
Me 16:41 $250
Nuta Olaru 17:16 $200
Michele Suszek 17:54 $150
After the race I said hi to Aaron and the kids, chatted with a few of the elite guys and noticed Benita and the men's winner, Andrew taking off for their cool down. I ran up to them and asked them if they'd mind me tagging along and they were very welcoming and kind. So I ended up cooling down with Benita and getting to know her better. She is a very sweet person; friendly and super easy to talk to. Learned that she has been in four Olympic games for Australia and has run a 2:22 marathon. Benita and I barely got back in time for the awards and chatted for a few more minutes, then I found Aaron and we gathered our kids and left.
I am super happy with the race and how well it went even though I probably should have run more even splits. Maybe if we would have had started with the guys I would have had more people around and would have been persuaded to run a more realistic pace from the start. And maybe not. Hard to say. Maybe the course was a tad short but even if it was it is still a huge PR for me in the 5K (previously 17:27). I'm really happy that I was able to be pulled to a fast time by some cool veterans and enjoy a fun, fast race close to home.
Aaron got some pretty sweet pics and already posted them on his site, so I'll just copy and paste what he did here:
- Womens Elite start - a whopping 6 entrants!
- All 6 women went out together, that didn't last for long
- 1 woman has fallen off so far - almost to the 1st mile point which was about 5:20
- down to 4 women 1/4 mile later
- Now Down to 2 women at the lead coming into the finishing mile, Nan holding strong onto a small gap
- Benita Willis takes 1st in 16:22
- Fiona Docherty is 2nd in 16:30
- And Nan finishes strong in 3rd at 16:42 - huge 5K PR for her.
- Nuta Olaru comes in next at 17:17 - Nan and her have been swapping back and forth the last few races this year