Name of the race: Marina Green 5K
Where: Crissy Field, San Francisco, CA
Date: August 9, 2015
Time: 9:00 am
Terrain: Flat, modified out-and-back
Entry fee: $5
Swag: Finisher ribbon
Post-race Food: Watermelon, oranges, peanut butter pretzels, donuts, popcorn, water, Gatorade (I’m pretty sure they had other food that I no longer remember)
Performance: Overall: 55/189; Gender 11/75; Age Group (35 – 39) 2/10
Weather: 63 degrees, 83% humidity
Catching up on my race reports! I did this 5K almost a month ago when I was in San Francisco. Run Less, Run Faster had me do a fast 3-mile tempo run that week. When I saw that, it meant a 5K. The Dolphin South End Runners (DSE) hosts several races (really cheaply), so they very conveniently had a 5K that weekend for me. The race was only $5 and located in one of my favorite places to run in San Francisco – Crissy Field! Crissy Field is a gorgeous recreational area that is a part of the Presidio. It’s right by the bay, so there’s a lovely view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s classic San Francisco.
I took a transbay bus from the apartment in SoMa (South of Market) that I was staying at to the Palace of Fine Arts. I love this splendid building. Built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, it exhibited art, but it is now a popular attraction for tourists. When I used to live in the Bay Area, my friends and I would occasionally sneak into the Palace of Fine Arts to admire it in the moonlight. I still remember this one night when we drove to Little Italy to buy tiramisu in order to eat it at the Palace of Fine Arts by moonlight. (Yeah, my friends and I were wild). We weren’t supposed to be there, but there’s something magical about that palace and having it all alone to ourselves. It was lovely seeing it once more and strolling by it on my way to the start line.
I was able to find the race pretty easily because there was a crowd of runners. For $5, you can’t expect anything fancy, so instead of chip timing, they timed us the old-fashioned by. We were given a strip of paper where we wrote our name and age and attached it to our shirts with a paper clip. When we crossed the finish line, someone pressed a button to record when we crossed and another person ripped off the strip of paper off us and strung it on a string to keep the strips in order. It’s been a while since I had been hand-timed like that.
Before the race, I was hopeful that I would be able to get a sub-24 time because of the cooler weather. I was soooo close in the last 5K and the weather was much warmer. I didn’t get the sub-24. Despite the cooler weather, my time was actually slower because of the stupidly dumb positive split that I did. It’s true. If you start out too fast, you run out of gas in the middle of the race and do even worse than if you had started out conservatively.
When the race director sent us off, I was really excited to run. The cooler weather and flat terrain (one of the few places in SF where the ground is flat) made running so easy!!! Whee!!! I was flying!!!!! My Garmin beeped my first mile at 7:11. I gasped. It felt so easy. For several seconds I had a delusional idea that I could somehow hold onto this suicidal pace for the next two miles and set a ***massive*** PR.
Instead I blew up. The second and third mile splits were 8:05 and 8:15. I was dying. When I finally crossed the finish line, I faced the disappointment in not reaching my goal. Now every run is a learning opportunity and while I wish I could say that I learned to NEVER EVER do a positive split again and will start more slowly, I know myself too well to know that I will start too fast again in the future.
A few days later when I mulled over the race, I had an epiphany. While I was running the first mile and saw 7:11, I wasn’t scared. Normally when I’m trying to PR in a 5K, I get scared when I see the first mile split because I think I’m going too fast and I won’t last. This didn’t happen this time. Yes, I did blow up and the pace didn’t last, BUT I wasn’t afraid of running fast. I felt really good. Now if I felt *THAT* good while running too fast, imagine how much better I would feel when I’m doing proper pacing. I know I have a new 5K PR in me. I just need to rein myself in a bit for the first mile and then go all out.
The Marina Green 5K race is a nice little local race in a beautiful location. There’s a view of the Golden Gate Bridge while you’re running, although I didn’t enjoy it while racing because I was too busy managing the pain train. The people in the club (DSE) are really friendly. I was there alone, but a number of people came up to me to talk to me before and after the race. They also have a great spread for after the race. I munched on several slices of watermelon and handfuls of peanut butter-filled pretzels.
After the race I walked to Fort Point to see Hopper’s Hands again. It’s a wonderful way to honor Ken Hopper who saves so many people from committing suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge and a nice little tradition for runners who slap the sign before they turn around and head back. The sun was out, the fog had burned off, and the weather was perfect. It was a beautiful day to be alive and to run.