(Note: This replaces an earlier post this morning. Once I mapped the run correctly, I was vindicated. Sorry Mr. Race Director for my earlier allegations!)
In general, I stay away from 5K races. I find them pretty annoying to tell you the truth. They are short, they are fast, and they hurt a lot. Even more so, I find it tough to justify getting in the car and driving longer than I’ll be running. Every now and then I’ll do a 5K if it’s close to home just to see if I’m getting any faster. Most of the time the news is pretty depressing.
But, this weekend, I broke my rule about driving for less than 30 minutes of running when I decided to drive about an hour and fifteen minutes for the Temecula Challenge 5K. My main motivation to do this came from an old High School acquaintance that I reconnected to through Facebook. She had contacted me a few months back about training for a race, but wasn’t entirely sold on the running thing. Hmm. Sounded pretty familiar to me. So I made a commitment that if she ran the race I would too. I mean running has been good to me, so I’m pretty happy to do what I can to help out anyone who might be intimidated by the whole running thing.
Of course though, I also had an ulterior motive. If you don’t know, poker is like my second hobby. Well – okay – my first. I love poker. I don’t love running. But I digress. From the start line of the Temecula Challenge, one of my favorite casinos is within spitting distance. So what better thing to do on a Sunday morning while the rest of the family is sleeping? Run a little, poker a lot….
This was a pretty low key event. The 5K was actually the start leg of a sprint triathlon. Since my last attempt at cycling left me a bloody mess (when I fell) and I swim like a bag full of rocks, I was only there for the run portion of the event. There were maybe 300 runners in total, and right on time at 8AM we were off!
The first quarter of a mile was on a slight incline followed by a stretch of level running. We turned right and headed on up a more moderate incline, past the mile point to a turnaround. From there it was downhill for a mile. Whoopie!!!!! I let the jets burn just a tad coming down the hill to the second turnaround. From there, we had a slight uphill back to the start point. I had to slow down just a touch when some of the remaining vestiges of the creeping grunge caught back up with me. I pulled over for maybe 30 seconds to hack half a lung, and then got back at it. The finish was downhill into a chute where us runners peeled off into a finish chute and the triathloners continued to the transition area.
I looked at my watch and had to make a second take. 25:03. New PR?!?! How can that be? My running has been anything but consistent lately, and I’ve done zero speedwork. Yeah – I pushed it as much as I could, but I sure didn’t feel like I had just put in a PR performance. Wow! Then to top it off, that was good enough for 3rd in my AG! Woo hoo! I left on a high as I headed across the street for the 10AM No-Limit Texas Holdem tournament.
When I got home later (like really later) Sunday, I dumped my Garmin into Sporttracks. I noticed something that startled me a little. 2.88 miles? What? That certainly would explain the PR and the perceived effort. I mapped the run on Map My Run. 2.97 miles. Crap. I hung my head and let my minions know that The Running Fat Guy had failed. Heck, I even crafted a blog post and posted it this morning!
But hey – Garmins don’t always work 100% of the time right? So – how can I confirm this. After all, it’s not every day that *I* put in a PR effort. In a last ditch effort to save face, I checked and rechecked the map. Then I noticed it – I had mapped the first turnaround a block short of where it actually was. So I remapped. I was as accurate as I could be. The start line was just behind the alleyway shown on the map. The first turn around just shy of Redhawk Parkway. The second turnaround right at the alleyway shown on the map.
Wow. Not 2.88 miles. 3.08 miles. Close enough for me! To quote one of my heros as he finished Pedro’s talent show dance - “YESSSSSSS!!!” Official time: 25.06!!!! Woo hoo! New PR!!!!!!
And to top it off, my poker day went pretty damn well too!