Burbank YMCA 5K Classic
Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008
After a night of putting away several pints (who am I kidding, they were “big boy” 24 oz’ers!) of Fosters in celebration of all things Down Under at the Outback, I toed the line of my second 5K of the year and second in 3 weeks in down-right brutal windy and way-too cold air. Race time temperatures were 20F, maybe a little higher, but much colder to the feel with the brisk wind of, maybe, 25 mph. All of this was actually good for me since it completely allowed me to check expectations at the registration table and just get out there and have fun — and get in a quality workout. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give it my all; just meant it would be carefree. A major bonus was bumping into MasterOfSomething, who kindly offered his assistance in helping put on the race.
So with a brutal wind holding temperatures below 20F, the countdown began to start the race. Bang! With that 200 (?) runners pushed forward into the cold and wind, very slow conditions.
Having had a good enough warmup, my legs were actually moving very well right away. I got off the line fast, jockied around a few, gave an elbow here and there, and found myself a minute in right behind the lead pack with one guy, the eventual winner, in a league of his own already way out in front. The guy in front gave a glance back at the first turn, about a quarter mile in, and wasn’t seen again. Meanwhile, the lead pack of 4 held sturdy with a strong pace.
By mile one, I worked my way around another runner into 6th place, with noboby between me and the lead pack of 4. The first place guy was now far from memory, as he was gone. This stretch was due into the wind. My hands grew cold, as I tucked them inside my gloves and punched on.
Between miles one and two I made a tactical decision to stay compact and focused and try in a controlled manner to catch the lead pack. I knew I had about a 2% chance of actually doing it, but I figure it would start to blow up in a short time.
By mile two, now with the wind squarely at our backs, I saw a guy from the pack start to drop back. I knew I had him. Just as it motivated me to think that I might be able to pick off yet another from that pack and possibly move into 4th place, I heard feet stomping behind me. At first I thought it was my hometown buddy, Fast Frankie, who to my surprise I hadn’t yet seen. Fast Frankie is the guy who passed me at mile 2 in the last 5K I did and held on for a 10 second lead.
Just then the stomping behind me made a move. In the end, it wasn’t Fast Frankie. Rather, it was another guy. And when he made his move, he did it with authority, turning up the pace and blowing by me even though I hadn’t slowed at all. Somehow I knew his pass was too much.
So now I was in 7th place. As this was happening, I came upon the guy who dropped from the lead pack to pull even with 6th place. While all of this was happening, I heard behind me the soft efficient footfalls of none other than Fast Frankie. Sure enough, it was him.
Now running together, Fast Frankie and I pushed through mile 3, passed the guy who had passed with authority earlier, and the right at the 3 mile mark passed the guy who had been with the lead pack.
Finally with the finishline in sight, Fast Frankie, already nearly 10 seconds up on me, then me, then the guy we just passed all made an early kick for the tape. I was able to ditch the guy behind while gaining back much on Fast Frankie until, 3 seconds back, I ran out of room.
Time: 18:22 (I think)
6th place overall
1st place age group
All of this was good for a goodie bag stuffed with, among other things, $30 Gift Certificates to Dicks, which to me is as good as cash since I spend a good amount of money there anyway.
Second race in a row that paid for itself!