This race is billed as “St. Louis’ Fastest 5K!” I get why… there’s a bunch of downhill grades as the race starts in Kirkwood, travels through Glenwood, and finishes in Webster Groves. And it was fast.
My splits in the first two kilometers were way under 10min/km, which is my yardstick for good, bad or ugly paces. As it ends up, three of my four splits were sub-10, the last one was ten on the nose, and the the split that included the water stop was just over ten. Really good race for me.
This course meanders roughly east, with the river lying many, many miles in the distance. But, with that gentle grade toward the river comes some gentle uphill chugs to earn those beautiful downhill gliding opportunities. The gentle hills are in the second half of the run, which is why my first two splits were so fast. There were definitely times where I had some fast sprints in the second half of the race, but the uphills slowed me down.
This race course runs through some nice, old neighborhoods, and there’s always folks outside, cheering us on. One couple was sitting in their driveway, enjoying their coffee, and I noticed their sprinkler was on, feeding their lawn. I shouted “Can I run through your sprinkler?” They cracked up, and said sure, and I proceeded to make aircraft wings out of my arms, and ran dead center across their lawn (and their neighbors). Folks in the race behind me were cheering, and I suspect I wouldn’t be the only person to take that little detour.
Another thing that was interesting was a couple that passed me about four kilometers into the race. The guy had a race-style bag on his back, with a loud stereo of some kind in it. There was this giant Caribbean sound emanating… and they were dancing and skipping! I was behind them most of the last kilometer, and they carried that groove to the end. I was blown away!!!
I got toward the finish line, and could see that the clock was about to cross fifty minutes. I knew I wasn’t near fifty, as it took me almost two minutes from the time race started until I crossed the finish line, but there’s still that crazy mental thing that happens with finish lines and timing. I looked up, and the clock was at 49:47. The announcer was cheering on folks to finish ahead of the clock crossing fifty, and I kicked in some kind of crazy afterburner. I ran faster than I think I’ve ever run, and crossed at about 49:58. 🙂
Once again, this was a fun race. Last year, the morning was full of electrical storms, and rain through the whole course. Today was cloudless and hot, more than ten degrees hotter than last year. Even with that dramatic difference in conditions (to the worse, for me), I was only 45 seconds slower than last year. I’ll take that. 🙂