Very belated race report: Gary's Gallop 5K

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  • #53329


    Note: I’m going to bring race reports back to the running forum. I feel like they are a better fit over here than at the blog.

    It’s been quite a while since I ran Gary’s Gallop but events just got the best of me for the past month or so. I thought I’d share what I can now that I have time to write something up, though. This will be more brief than usual, in part because it’s been a while and in part because there really wasn’t too much going on in this race as you’ll probably notice in the report.

    Some time ago, I talked with several coworkers about possibly doing a race together. While most had other commitments, one coworker signed up and was ready to go. Seeing as I convinced her to run this race, I was now committed so I signed up.

    Heading into the race, the weather was not looking good. This was two days before the Boston Marathon and the weather they were facing in Boston on race day was passing through Wisconsin two days earlier. We had less rain but the cold and wind were very similar and it definitely wasn’t dry. I even told my coworker the day before the race that I wouldn’t blame her if she backed out but, to her credit, she said she was in. I was in regardless. Once I sign up for a race, I’ll be there unless my legs fall off.

    Friday night, I was looking at the forecast. There was no doubt it was going to be windy and cold. There would be precipitation. The only question there seemed to be was how much precipitation and in what form. So I prepared in my typical fashion, I overprepared. I packed 3 pairs of racing shoes. My usual road flats, a pair of flats with a little more tread in case there was a light layer of snow, and a pair of cross country spikes with 1/4 inch pyramids, just enough to get a metal point sticking out a bit past the rubber, in case there was deeper snow or ice. I also overpacked gear to account for any condition I might face.

    As I arrived on race day, I found a parking space near the shelter where packet pick up was and went in to get my packet. The flag at the WLC football field was stretched out tight and there was a light rain falling. The temp was probably in the mid to high 30s. After a little time relaxing, I went out to warm up.

    I went out on the course and realized that, while it was impossible to get completely away from the wind, the course was a little sheltered so the wind was just bad, not horrible. The precipitation was remaining liquid and not very heavy. So the best I could hope for. After some stretching and a few strides, I went in to change into racing gear and saw my coworker. We chatted some as I changed and then we walked toward the start line. We each found our proper starting spots and got ready to run.

    I noticed two or three people who I figured would be legitimate contenders. One was wearing a PRO jersey, the others just looked young and potentially fast.

    At the start, it took me about 3 steps to see that I was running for third. The PRO runner and one other were already a step ahead of me and they didn’t look like they were going out over their heads. They were the real deal.

    As we took a right turn onto the parkway where most of the race is run, I was already well behind first and second even though this was only about 100 yards into the race. I had some people behind me but I was in control of the chase pack. That said, we were turning into the wind and I didn’t want to be in control of any pack. I wanted to be free and clear so nobody could use me to draft. So I eased into a pace I figured would separate me from the pack and it worked. I was free and clear but stuck in no man’s land. Not ideal in these conditions but better than having a half dozen people drafting off me.

    Nothing really changed through the turnaround just before halfway. I went on cruising, trying to keep separation behind but knowing the gap in front of me continued to rapidly expand. To be honest, I was already letting up a bit. I just didn’t feel the motivation to keep pushing when I was locked into third. Just run hard enough to not let anyone catch me.

    At the turnaround, I could see how big the lead the top two on me had. Significant. I could also see that I had not nearly as significant but a comfortable lead on fourth. On the way back, it became a real battle to maintain effort. At least I had the wind at my back but what was I running for? Time was going to be garbage in these conditions no matter how hard I ran and I was basically locked into third. So it almost became a hard tempo run.

    I cruised through another turnaround in the last half mile where I could see my lead over fourth was safe and then cruised into the finish.

    Final result: 3rd overall, 19:24. I’m sure this was my slowest 5K in many years. The conditions played a big role in that and there were other factors but I also just didn’t run the way I expect of myself. I’m not happy with the effort I gave. Even in bad conditions, even when my place is already determined and my time is going to be junk due to factors out of my control, I should still be able to give a better effort. That’s something that won’t happen on my next race day, I can assure you of that.


    I’m also wearing my watch in races this year (but not looking at it during the race) so here’s the Garmin data:

  • #53330


    So much for brief. Oh well…

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