Ups and Downs at Curtis Menard Memorial 5K
Saturday featured perfect conditions, high 40s, just the slightest of a breeze from the east, and a nice rolling point to point course.
I warmed up and did striders only to wait an extra 20 minutes for all the buses to unload. At 10:20 we finally lined up but I was crowded out by a bunch of 10 year olds. There were fewer hot shot looking runners than I had expected, compared to previous results when you'd see 10 to 15 runners under 17 minutes.
My goal was low 17, or better yet sub 17. I promptly slipped into about 10th place, including one guy who also appeared to be in is 50s, and I wondered if it was the same runner who had run a 17:07 on the same course a couple years ago (it was). He looked like he meant business and I chilled for a half mile before pulling away.
Was in about 9th place at the mile (5:25); a good 25-30 sec behind the leaders, but 5th through 8th were strung out just ahead, within 10 or 15 seconds. Kept an even tempo and by 2K they were coming back one by one. That's very typical in a 5K.
Crossed 2 mile at 10:53 in 5th, right on for a sub 17. Heading south now, we had the only substantive climb of the course, a gradual incline that had to be more than half mile long.
Crested the hill and saw the chute about 500-600 meters ahead, put in a strong finish, thinking sub 17 was in the bag. But I checked my watch just after crossing and saw 17:0?.
Officially 17:01.3, my fastest since 2000!
The kids did well too. Mikko ran 22:25 (PR) and Tristan 22:27, while Mikko's friend Peter who traveled down with us ran 20:47(PR).
Give the course an A (much better than any 5Ks in Fairbanks) and we couldn't have had better weather.
Compared to our races, they were not set up that well. They usually do a much better organizational job here (sign up, logistics, food). And per capita the competition is better north of the Range. Still, I'd go back, because you know you're getting an accurate time on a certified course.