Because my roommate was running the Fall Into Fitness 5k today in the northwest-side neighborhood of Portage Park, I decided to go along and run it too, figuring that a larger race with chip timing would probably have an accurate course, so I could actually have some idea of how fast I was. Looking at past years' results it seemed that every year someone ran faster than I would be able to (16:30 to 16:45) and everyone else ran slower (over 17 minutes), so I predicted a second-place finish. The neighborhood has a large Polish community, and most of the past years' top finishers had Polish-looking names, or even listed their hometown as "Poland".
And given that I got no sleep because I was blowing my nose all night, was dehydrated, was racing for the second day straight, and that I didn't warm up very well because they called to line us up 15 minutes before the race started (and I actually listened, unlike the other fast people), I did OK. If the mile markers were accurate (I think they were, though the half-mile ones were off a bit) then my splits were really badly positive: 5:10 -> 5:25 (10:35) -> 5:38 (16:13), then 44 seconds for the last 160m to finish 16:57. All of those seem possible except for the 44-second last 160m; there's no way I slowed down to well over 6-minute pace for the final sprint. So maybe the third mile was even worse than 5:38. I finished second, as I predicted, behind a 40 year-old dude wearing a Poland jersey. Maybe under better circumstances I'm 7 seconds faster today, hard to say. But I still won my age division and got a $20 gift certificate to Fleet Feet, which covered the race entry fee. When you add that to the schwag from the race bag (including a $10 coupon and a 10%-off coupon to Fleet Feet), I scored pretty good profits from both of my races this weekend. Of course, the funds I got out are less liquid than those I put in, but I'm not going to complain about that. So I have a month to cut 37 seconds from my 5k to make 16:20. It will be hard, but possible. Maybe I should put some of my prize money towards racing flats. Or a Poland jersey.
05/22/17 PHD comic: 'Limits'
7 hours ago