I’ve got a race recap to share with you today!
We ran the McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Prediction 5K in Pensacola on Saturday. This was my second time running this race. There were over twelve thousand participants in the 5K, which is huge! I’m fairly certain that is the biggest 5K that I’ve ever run in. The winners crossed the finish line before the last runners even started. Madness!
The race is technically a prediction run, which means that each person guesses their finish time and person who finishes closest to the predicted time wins. You aren’t allowed to wear a watch and there aren’t any mile markers or clocks along the course. However, there is also a “speed” division and you can wear your watch if you are not competing for a prediction award. This little tidbit was lost on me the first time I ran this race and I ran watch-less when I didn’t really need to. Oh well.
There is also a team competition, which makes it really fun! We had a Warehouse Grinders co-ed team. The top five runners for each team count towards the results and the team with the lowest total time wins (very similar to cross-country scoring, but using your time instead of your place).
The race starts at 9 a.m. (which is a little bit later than most races, but is kind of nice when you have to drive about an hour to get there anyway). We left around 7 a.m. and our team carpooled over to Pensacola. We got a two-mile warm up in before the race. I would’ve liked to do three, but it was fairly warm and another mile likely wouldn’t have helped one bit. We almost missed the start as it was. We had to ease our way into the front of the corral a few minutes before the start.
It was crazy crowded in the corral (makes sense given that there were twelve thousand folks crammed in there). If you are competing in the speed division, you really need to be as close to the front as possible. If you aren’t, you waste a lot of time stuck behind and weaving around other people. I got a couple of rows back and started just behind some of my teammates.
Everyone takes off so fast! Way. too. fast. I immediately felt like I was going to be trampled. Of course, after the first quarter-mile, you’ve passed a lot of the folks that sprinted off of the starting line. Speaking of getting trampled though, there was a tiny little dog that somehow got caught up in between the barricades at the start of the race. He was bobbing and weaving around all of the runners. It’s amazing that no one tripped (that I know of at least).
After the first quarter-mile, I tried to settle into my goal pace range. I predicted 19:00 (not that I was competing in the prediction division, but you still have to predict a time regardless). I wanted to keep my pace between 6:05 and 6:15. As per usual, the first mile was a tad fast. I was really trying to hold back a little, but somehow I came through the first mile in 5:59. I thought I was in about fifth place or so for the females (it’s actually quite hard to tell exactly what place you are in a race that size though :)).
I steadily reigned in a few of the other girls during the second mile. It was nice to have some folks to chase! I still felt pretty decent at this point and was happy to be out there pushing myself. I came through the second mile in 6:09. Whew. I knew if I could hold on to that, I would have a very respectable finish.
Of course, it’s easier said than done to hang on during the last mile of a 5K, and sure enough, my pace started to fade. I had solidified my place as second female and while I could see the first place girl ahead of me, she was out of reach. The course also starts to feel *really* long during that last mile. You can see all of the runners strung out ahead of you and you see just how far you still have left to go. It is a challenge not to get complacent. My last mile was 6:26. I picked it up a tad for the last 0.1 and “sprinted” it in at 5:44 pace. My overall time was 19:11. Not too far off from what I expected! I’ll take it. It’s not my best and not my worst. That seems to be a theme these days.
Daniel had a great race and finished in 18:10! Our team did well too and we finished second in the co-ed division. Obviously we would’ve preferred to be first, but we had a great time and ran with our friends. There’s nothing better than that! We got in a 1 mile cool down after the race and stayed around at the post-race party for a little while. The race is more well-known for the after party than the actual race itself, I do believe. The people watching is quite spectacular!