So, yes, that's a sub-29 5K PR, as I'd hoped for as a result of all my self-torture with the fartlekking. Something I decided was necessary after I tried out a 5K tester a month or so ago and found myself barely able to hold on to a decent pace that would put me even close to a sub-30 for this year's turkey trot.
As you can probably imagine, the terror was intense.
How could I go from hitting my sub-60 10K PR to blowing my 5K PR in a few short months? I mean, I know *how* - I'm lazy and haven't been training properly, just running around aimlessly and most of the time without my Garmin to scold me - but *how* I'd be able to handle it mentally, well, that was another story.
So, when I resorted to fartleks in order to get my pace down, it was an extreme moment in the world of me running. Because fartleks are painful and torturous and when I started them, it was the first really chilly morning (in the 30s) and I nearly lost my lungs in the process.
I coughed for hours. It was grody.
Anyway, the reason there's an asterisk by that time and that is because it is my unofficial time as recorded by my Garmin rather than the time recorded by the chip attached to my bib which was pressed against my chest thanks to the crush of 15,000 people trying to get across the starting line.
See, every year I've run this race it's been different. The first year, back in 2007, there were about 6,000 people (at least 1,000 more than they expected) and it was your garden variety over-attendance related shitshow. Think; people everywhere, low grade hysteria and vague smushing at the starting line.
Then, in 2008, I went to Kansas City and ran in the snow and I can't remember what my time was but I do remember that it was snowing and that was a new idea and a cold one. The race itself was pretty well organized and no smushing happened. That, I remember, because it was a first. Much like running in the snow.
Last year, in 2009, I was home and so I ran the turkey trot again here and because I'd had a lot of running going on through the year and needed something to shoot for on turkey day, I got my sub-30 5K PR. It wasn't cold at all and I was over dressed. And pretty smushed at the starting line because everyone ignored the pace signs and the stroller whores lined up at the front of the race so that when the starting gun went off, they were mowed down by a lot of people who were going for crazy PRs like sub-18. I was certain that because of that mayhem, we were going to see a little better organization at the starting line this year but HOLY CRAP was I wrong.
This year there were 15,000 people, many dressed in costume, all dressed in some variety of cold weather running attire because it was 32 degrees at gun time, pressed into an airless block of human pressed against the start line.
Large women wearing turkey hats with strollers standing on the feet of elite runners in split-side shorts and wraparound sunglasses pinched between burly firemen in hooded sweatsuits and Oldie Hawns wearing Christmas sweaters.
And there wasn't a pace sign to be seen. Not a one.
It did not bode well.
I'm not sure why everyone who was walking the trot decided they needed to be at the very front, but I have to assume it had something to do with their minds trained for Black Friday murder sprees at Wal-Mart and they'd just gotten ahead of themselves and lined up at 3am at the start so they could get across the line to be first to buy a Tickle Me Wii or whatever for their 17 kids, but I can't be sure.
The only thing I'm sure of is that they were at the front and forming a jiggly, clucking barrier between legitimate runners and the race course.
Not to say I'm a *legitimate* runner or anything, but between the stroller pushers and the families walking five abreast with their arms linked, I was starting to wonder if I was going to be able to run at all or escape from the fleshy monster of 15,000 people trying to squeeze through a space big enough for maybe a dozen people across.
It would have been super great to have some pace signs. Or even more super great to have some useful instructions coming from the overhead speaker which bleated complete nonsense for the 20 minutes leading up to the race. Something like, "If you're walking or pushing a stroller or wearing a costume that's wider than you are tall, move your ass to the back of the pack so that you don't block people who are going to try to kill you anyway."
Something like that.
But no, we were left to duke it out at the start. And we did. And because I was busy duking it out and couldn't get to the point where I could lift my arm to hit the Start button on my Garmin until I was a handful of yards past the starting line, I am using my Garmin time rather than the race time as my official time as my way of giving those race organizers the finger.
And also because this way it means I got my sub-29 5K PR.
I'm such a cheater.