Can it really be Autumn? Amazing how time flies...
This past Sunday, the last full day of summer, was a gorgeous late summer day... blue skies, bright sunshine, a light breeze along the coast, just enough surf coming into Narragansett Beach to keep the surfers happy on their surfboards...
Jill and I ran the CVS Downtown 5k... Or, rather, she ran and I sort of jogged... I think this was the largest field yet, more than four thousand entries in the race (and at least 4200 finishers, although some of them were walkers).
Shalane Flanagan -- last year's first place woman -- successfully defended her title this year. She ran the five kilometer race in 15:28 -- 19 seconds ahead of the 2nd place finisher. (If the name is familiar, you may have seen her win a bronze medal last month in the 10,000 meter race in Beijing.) Anthony Famiglietti (Knoxville, Tennessee) won the men's division in 13:42 -- eight seconds and change ahead of second place. (That's three and one tenth times a 4:25 mile.) The CVS 5k has some serious money prizes riding on it plus it is the U.S. 5k championship, so it attracts some of the best runners in the country. Still, this year's race (well, I'm talking about the elite runners, not myself) was really more of a strategic race than a high speed affair. (The course record is 13:20... and Famiglietti himself is the current record holder for the fastest time run on American soil by an American runner in a 5k road race -- 13:11 -- a time that I have difficulty even imagining.)
[I was running so I didn't video anything but -- at least at this time -- the Providence Journal has some video at the race Web page.]
My personal best in a 5k was 21:41 (a 6:59 per mile pace) a few years ago... okay, about fifteen years ago... when I was a mere lad of fifty years. This year I simply was glad to maintain a steady pace around the course (well, actually, they did include a disposable camera in the runner's goodie bag, so I did sort of come to a very very brief pause a few times to try to snap pictures of some of the bands playing along the course, but that would only have cost me a few seconds)... Anyway, I finished in 32:45 (a 10:33 per mile pace) and I would feel kind of bad about that except that I was 41st place out of 88 runners in the 60-69 age bracket, so actually I suppose being ahead of the halfway point for my age group isn't too bad. (Except, of course, I then had to go look up to see who was first in my age group and saw it was some 61-yr-old from Vermont who finished in 17:41 -- 5:42/mile pace -- four whole minutes faster than my lifetime personal best for a 5k! But that's okay... if I could still run as fast as I could fifteen years ago, that time would have given me fifth place in the sixties age group -- by two seconds! Damn! There are some fast geezers around here!
Jill had a pretty good run herself -- 26:57 (8:41 pace) -- 262nd out of 1340 women 39 and under -- which she did on only one or two runs per week. (Their first age grouping is 0 to 39, no breaking out of young ages because they spend about two hours before the 5k on a vast series of age group races for kids and then follow the 5k with a special 3k run for high school students that seems to bring out the cross-country and track runners from every high school in the state.)
I had to dash home quickly after the race to shower and change to get to the Towers where Nancy and I were working as building attendants for a wedding. Although my feet and legs were tired, I enjoyed the guests at this wedding reception because there seemed to be a steady flow of people who were interested in finding out about the history of the building, so that made the time seem to pass more quickly.
Jill had said that she wanted to go for a run today... but she seemed to have trouble waking up early enough so by the time she was awake and ready there wasn't time to do a three mile run... so we decided to just do a mile... but we kind of pushed it a bit... and ran it at the same pace Jill had run the 5k... 8:41 for the mile (oh, okay, so she was a step ahead of me at the end, did it it 8:40 even.) After running she went downstairs to lift weights... I did the same thing except it took me a few minutes of gasping for breath before I could handle additional workout activities.