Friday was my second real 5k of the 'season' and it didn't disappoint. Well, not too much at least.
The start was in downtown Charlotte at 7pm on a Friday night, which can be a very crowded time in Center City. I didn't look around too much for a place to park and just turned into the first garage I saw that was $5 and near the race start. I pull in and punch the ticket machine and the attendant walks over and says "That'll be $5 cash please." I tell him I have no cash and he tells me he'll hold onto my ticket while I park and go get money from an ATM (nice of him). So I park then run around looking for a Wachovia ATM which was about 2 blocks away then run back and give him my money. I then proceed to run to the start to try and pick up my chip but realized it was so crowded it would take foerver to get my chip and I'd run out of time to change my shoes and get ready for the race, plus I had conveniently forgotten my bib and could not remember what number I was.
So, I run back to the garage and navigate my way through one of the more complicated parking garages I've ever seen to get into my car and put away my wallet and water while changing shoes and grabbing my bib. I then run back to the start, get my chip and do a warm up with 2 guys I regularly run with that I ran into walking around the start line area.
So the start time rolls around and we try to make our way up to the front but can only get within 15-20 feet of it, which really pissed me off. There were a bunch of people taking up space that were going to be yogging along at 7-8 minute miles that had no business being up in the first few rows of people. So I fumed a little bit and when the dude shouted go I was stuck behind people for the first 10 feet or so before sprinting around them and getting on the fast train. For the first mile of the race, which was very slow (for the leaders, not me) I was with the lead group of about 5 guys, including me. When the first mile went by in 5:30 I felt pretty comfortable with that pace but knew that if there were any surges or uphills I'd be dropped from that group so I slowed a bit over the next mile and was passed by Megan Hepp (12th @ Olympic Trials, crazy fast). I hung onto her for a little bit then let that go (so sad) and got back into what I hoped was 5:40-5:50 pace (although I don't really have any idea). Only 2 more guys passed me the rest of the race so I did hang onto 10th but I got a terrible side stitch, a result of a hard, hot day at work with little to no water. We roofed a house that day in 80 degree weather and that definitely didn't contribute to helping me get a fast time 3 hours after work. The side stitch lasted for about a mile (2-3ish) and I just couldn't push myself hard enough to stay with the 2 guys that passed me.
All in all it was a good race for me time-wise and place-wise but I know I'm faster than this. My next 5k won't be for several weeks so I'll have some good training under my belt by then.
17:49 (10th overall, 9th Male, 1st 20-24 yrs)
All of the AmeriCorps are leaving to go down to Biloxi to work in the Jimmy Carter Work Project for the next week in about 7 hours (hooray). Hopefully that'll be a good time, not sure how much running I'm going to be able to get in though sadly.