Name of the race: May the Road Rise Up to Meet Ye 5K
Where: Patchogue, NY
Date: March 19, 2017
Time: 11:55 am
Distance: 3.1 miles
Terrain: Flat road
Entry fee: $20 + processing fee
Swag: Free race photos & video of you crossing the finish line
Post-race Food: Water & free good beer (IPA & stout)
Performance: Overall 31/305; Gender 4/151; Age (35-39) 1/22
Weather: 39 degrees, 60% humidity, winds 18 mph
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
~traditional Gaelic blessing
After a month of short fun runs (and one half) in January, I started feeling ready for a little more structure in February. I haven’t done any 5K specific training in the last two years because of marathon training and my 5K PR was a year and a half old, so I thought I would work on chipping away that time. Because of travel plans and other life plans, I figured a mid-March 5K would be my first shot at going for a sub-23. I carefully searched Running in the USA for a flat, fast 5K.
I loved the name of this 5K – May the Road Rise Up to Meet Ye. Ben fell in love too, so it took no convincing to get him to sign up.
The weather in the week before the race was CRAZY. After some lovely warm days that lulled us into thinking winter was over and it was spring, a blizzard came hurling through and brought the city to a standstill for a day. The weather forecast for race day was erratic as predictions varied wildly on temperature and whether there’ll be rain or snow. They did, however, all agree on high winds. Fortunately there was neither snow nor rain, and the temperature wasn’t absolutely chilly because of a noon start. The road did rise up to meet us, but the wind wasn’t always at our backs.
The race starts the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in the town of Patchogue on Long Island. The parade is very popular in town. After the race, we saw a little bit of the parade. The sidewalk was packed with people and dogs. I enjoyed the marching bands who were dressed up in kilts.
I worked really hard not to start out too fast in the first mile. It was hard because of the adrenaline and the urge to keep up with the fastest runners. I checked Garmin and kept telling myself, “Slow, slow, slow.” The first mile was completed in 7:23, which was a tad faster than the 7:25-7:30 range that I had set out to do. For the second, my goal was to keep up the pace. The adrenaline wore off and now it was starting to feel like work. This was also the mile where I felt most of the headwind. I ran behind a small boy who was hellbent on making sure I didn’t pass him. Every time I crept up on him, he looked behind and surged ahead. Eventually I passed him in the last mile. The second mile went well (7:25). The third mile is the mile where I have to play the most amount of head games to keep myself in the race. Things were still going well until Mile 2.2.
Ugh, the familiar sharp stabbing pains of a side stitch. Hello, you’re back. I’m prone to side stitches and I know all the tricks that people advise. They rarely work on me. I didn’t want to slow down, so I decided to grit my teeth and run on the best I can. The goal was now not to completely lose it. With each push, an invisible hand dug the sharp blade harder into my side. I stubbornly refused to walk. I kept urging myself to run as fast as I could, despite the pain.
One last turn and the Mile 3 marker was waiting for me. With only .1 mile left, I swung into my kick. Holy crap, the pain was blinding. Literally. The periphery of my vision blackened and I thought I was going to pass out from the pain as I zoomed to the finish line. Ben said he yelled my name, but I didn’t hear him or the announcer. I crossed the finish line. Bent over in pain, I hobbled to the side and waited for Ben to find me. After I recovered a bit, we went to The Brickhouse where they were serving free beer to runners.
Although I didn’t get my A-goal of sub-23, I did meet my B-goal of getting a new 5K PR. I beat my old time by 4 seconds. More importantly, I’m supremely proud of myself for not giving up and falling apart in the third mile despite the terrible side stitch.
Ben also had a good race. For our efforts, both of us got 1st AG awards. At the post-race party, there were lots of beer and merriment. It was a fun race. Ben and I really love the races managed by Elite Feats. The races are well-organized and they provide free race photos, video of you crossing the finish line, and send you texts and emails of your results. The race announcer was the same one at Little Cow Harbor 4-Mile Run, so he added tidbits about runners as they ran past. I love these touches. Totally recommend doing their races if you’re on Long Island, and they do a few races in the outer boroughs too.