St. Patrick’s Day 5k race report

A short race deserves a short race report, and I’ll endeavour to keep it just that. When I registered for the St. Patrick’s Day 5k, I didn’t think I’d be laying off most of my training, doing knee exercises, and testing uncomfortable knee braces for the month prior. That’s the reality, though. I ran this 5k last year in nice weather. Today was 7 degrees, threatening to rain and sporting a lovely headwind coming off the water on Coal Harbour. I figured at least I could blame the bad weather if the lack of training slowed me down.

St. Patty's Day 5k route map
St. Patty's Day 5k route map - click for Garmin activity

This is one of those races that seems to attract two kinds of runners; serious runners looking for a fast time and those who gear up in all manner of costume and have fun with it. I got caught talking a little to Carolyn and Andrea at the start line and wasn’t paying attention to where I lined up, solidly in the back third of the pack with the costumers. At least the pack blocked the headwind until we got past the lighthouse and turned across Stanley Park at the water park. The first kilometer of this race was a 4:30 and, with a chip time of 20:57, that means I averaged 4:07 per kilometer the rest of the way. I know the Garmin embed above shows 21:03, but I forgot to stop it for a few seconds after I finished and the posted chip time doesn’t lie.

Put another way I lost about 23 seconds with the clog of leprechauns at the beginning. Last year, in good weather I ran a 21:07, so I still cut 10 seconds off my time. Factoring in the weather and my knee-induced training stoppage, marginal though it is, that’s still some sort of improvement. While the lighthouse clog really killed things early, I think it might have helped me run the rest of it consistently, if not particularly fast. Once I kicked it a bit more into gear heading across the park around 2k, things felt good through the rest of the race, even if the gnarly headwind smacked me square in the face for the final k. Several folks I know seemed to have pretty decent races, but I know some felt the headwind was a little harsh. Overall results can be found here, with particular attention paid to #30, #33, #74, #78, #129, #156, #167 and #409 – at least I think those are the only folks I know who ran.

Before my knee diagnosis, I figured I’d be training and racing continuously throughout the year, with targets of returning to a sub-20 minute 5k, sub-40 minute 10k and a sub-1:30 half marathon for the season. Now, I still plan to do the events in which I’m presently registered, but I have no idea how much I’ll actually be able to train. Since I don’t do many really short races, I’d originally hoped I might get close to that sub-20 today, but it was not to be.