2006-10-14 - Candy Cane 5k Plus

~14 miles @ ~12 min/mi

Must replace camera batteries; must find MCRRC race bib #333; must fill water bottle; must replenish candy supply; must fetch in newspapers; etc., etc. So I set off at 6:40am, ten minutes later than planned, and have to hustle the ~2 miles to Candy Cane City where I meet Caren Jew and Ken Swab for a warm-up before the MCRRC 5k. We jog south along Beach Drive to Military Road and back for ~7 miles at ~12 pace. The bright orange traffic cones marking the race are set up and I feel frisky enough to blitz the last mile back to the starting line in 10:32. Then all three of us get chilled waiting for the event to begin. Various comrades chat with us about recent and planned races as I take photos. Friend Ruth (who did the HAT 50k with me in March) appears; she's in town to get her cats ready for the trip to England, as well as to work and to run.

The race begins promptly at 9am, and we start at the back of the pack as usual. Ruth Martin sprints ahead as Ken and I cover the first mile in 10:06 with Caren close behind us. Near the turnaround my attempt to snap a picture of Ruth fails, so I accelerate and catch up with her, foolishly planning to get a bit ahead and do more photography. Ken startles me by appearing at my shoulder, so to open a gap I speed onward and am astounded to see 9:02 on my watch at mile 2. (Hmmm ... maybe I should warm up more often before racing? I've never tried it before, and it seems to be working!) I pass several runners including a little kid, perhaps the same one who soared past Ken and me at Lake Needwood last month. Mile 3 is an 8:25 and the final 5k fraction is 1:02 for an unplanned total time of about 28:35 (plus some seconds from our late start). I station myself near the end of the course and photograph Ken and Ruth and Caren as they blast in. Then it's drink, eat, take more snapshots, and jog home with plenty of walk breaks on the way. I resist the temptation to hitch a ride, barely.