MPS 5k 02
 
National MPS Society 5k Walk/Run

The goal was to run a sub-20 in a standalone 5k, which I haven't done since turning 40 (actually not since 38, but was trying not to think about that). Best this year in triathlons was a 21:04 at Pueblo, best time trial on the track in 20:16. So a good chance, but no certainty.

A small race, less than a hundred runners, plus another smaller number of walkers. The first shock of the morning was to find out it was actually an uphill race. The online race map showed a simple loop. However the loop is more than 5k, so we had to begin by walking 1/2 mile downhill to the start. Simple logic 'what goes down must come up' indicated that we'd be running more up than down.. oh well. A cold front was moving in, accompanied by bleak grey clouds, bleah. I do detest running in the cold, my old bones don't care for it, generate all kinds of grinding and creaking sensations.

But I did not repine, instead jogged down to the start and hopped around trying to keep warm. One unfortunate side effect of having once been fast is that I still look as if I ought to be fast. Several people at the start seemed to think I was a likely winner. One woman asked 'so do you run 5 minute miles or 6 minute miles ?' I told her 7 minute miles, but wasn't believed. The cyclist who was to lead us around the course was advised by his friends 'just whack him with your bicycle pump if he passes you'. The photographer asked me to stand where he could get good light for the start picture. I assured all these people that I had no doubt there would be one or more of: a college kid; fast high school girl; or some ringer with a paunch; who would be beating me. The cyclist drew a line on the road with sidewalk chalk and wrote 'START' below it, then we were ready.

A verbal start, 'Ready, set, go' and away we went. I tend to start fast, so went out ahead quite quickly. With the sun behind us, could tell by the shadows when the competition was closing in, which happened after about 3/4mile. A college kid went by, with a white-haired older guy shadowing him. I hung on for half a mile or so, then they pulled away down a little hill. First mile in 4:58, which told me the mile was short.. no way I can run sub-5 anymore. As I watched the Kid and Whitehair run away, my money was on Whitehair for the win: he was running smooth and strong, no indications of effort.

Second and third miles were mostly uphill. Reached the second mile at 12:15, which seemed reasonable, though I didn't run 7:17 for the second mile - assumed the first mile was off, but the 2 mile mark was accurate.  Whitehair made his move at about 2.5 miles, and pulled away fast. The Kid had several hundred yards on me, and I couldn't make any impression on the gap. Oddly enough my legs were fine, but breathing was strained to the limits, couldn't get enough air. A little downhill to the finish, 19:45, almost a minute behind the winner, 30sec behind the Kid. Fourth place was 2 minutes back.

Very happy with the sub-20 on an uphill course, and content with 3rd place. There were awards for first place, then AG awards in 10-year divisions. I figured I had to have won my AG. But come medal time, found I was second again, Whitehair is in 40-49 as well. Well dang. This beats my previous worst, 5th overall in a 10k, but 2nd in AG. I've won races outright once or twice in my youth, but have never won an AG.