Monday, September 26, 2011

Fremont Oktoberfest 5K Recap

Yesterday, to celebrate my one-year running anniversary, I ran the race that started it all — the Fremont Oktoberfest 5K.

My goals were to see just how far I've come since I ran this race one year ago, and to update my 5K PR of 26:25 (set in February). Oh, and I also aimed to have fun!


Missions accomplished!

Official time: 25:04
Average pace: 8:04

This race began about 1.5 miles away from my front door, so I ran to the starting area as a warmup. I had never run to a race before, and I think I went a little too fast since I was running (ha) late. I was worried I'd wear out my legs, so I walked for the last little bit.

Packet pickup was exciting, as usual.

This doesn't look exciting at all.

I looked around for Courtney, who had informed me via The Twitter that she'd be there, but I couldn't spot her in the sea of people. This was the first time I had gone to and started a race 100% alone!

This 5K is billed as "a race to the beer garden," so of course we all clapped and cheered as the announcer counted down to the start. There were no pace groups, so I just positioned myself near the front and away from any runners with dogs — it's no fun to get tangled in a leash. Then we were off!

I started off a bit too fast as I made my way around slower runners and tried to find a good pace. My plan was to run the first mile at about an 8:00/mile pace, but I kept seeing numbers in the 7:-- range flashing on my watch and attempted to slow down.

We is runnin'.

I remembered that this is why I'm not a huge fan of the 5K distance. It's so short of a race that you pretty much have to run fast the whole time! The trick is to do it without burning out halfway through.

According to my Garmin, I ran the first mile in 7:56. ("According to my Garmin" is the key phrase here.)

I'm really not used to running sub-8:00 miles, so I felt tired early on. I was excited to get to the turnaround point and start heading back toward the finish line. At this point, I really wished I was this guy.

Yes, you are faster than me and I'm taking your picture.

I was determined to keep up a good pace and not walk, although I really wanted to walk at least every minute or so. The difference between this year and last year is that I didn't. At all.

I tried to focus on the interesting costumes around me to take my mind off of how far I had left to go.

Cute! Relevant!

My legs felt fine, but my lungs had trouble keeping up with my pace. I've been training for a marathon, not a 5K, so my body was kind of pissed off that this was happening.

According to my Garmin, I ran the second mile in 7:53.

Here's what I looked like around mile 2.5.

I like to call this one "Dying.jpg."

This is what happens when I decide to run with my phone.

It was at this point that I really wanted to walk, or at least slow down and chill for a bit. I'm used to running "comfortably" (9:15-ish) or "comfortably fast" (8:45-ish), but not "holy hell, this is fast-fast" (7:50-ish).

According to my Garmin, I ran the third mile in 7:50.

I finally just thought, "You know what? Running is hard. If this didn't really suck sometimes, everyone would do it. Finish the damn race."

It was glorious to complete mile three and know that there was only 0.1 mile left.

Or was there?

Either I ran the course a bit long (by weaving, although I tried to keep that to a minimum) or the course was genuinely long, but the last 0.1 seemed to take forever. And according to my Garmin, it was actually  0.19 mile. So that's fun.

There's some wrist sweat going on here. I'm sorry.

I thought I'd surely finish with a sub-8:00 average pace, but thanks to that extra little bit of distance, my overall pace ended up being slower because my time was based on a 3.1-mile course, not 3.19. That doesn't seem like it would make a big difference, but my average pace according to the Garmin was 7:51, while the official race results clocked it at 8:04.

Sorry, I get a little too concerned about pace sometimes.

Anyway! I finished the race strong and really gave it my all. I know that because I almost fell over as a volunteer cut the timing chip off my shoe. I feel like it's asking a lot of runners to do this balancing act immediately after finishing a race.

I'm surprised that more people don't take a plunge.
Oh, hey, that's Courtney!

Courtney ran with her roommate as he completed his first race. Woo-hoo!

I'd like to say I was able to relax and enjoy my free beer after this race, but instead I gave my beer ticket to Courtney. And then I went and ran 10 more miles.

But that's a story for my Week 9 marathon training recap, which will be up tomorrow.


I've now been running for a full year. In that time, I've run seven 5Ks, one 10K, one 15K, two half-marathons, a mud run and a triathlon. I've run nearly 500 miles so far in 2011. I've shaved 8:28 off my very first 5K time. It's crazy to recall that this time last year, I wasn't even sure of my ability to run three miles in a row!

If there's anything I've learned from running, it's that we are all much stronger than we think. You'll never know how far you can go until you have the courage to push yourself.

And anything is possible.


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  1. Awesome job, Devon!! I was working in Cafe Ladro on Sunday morning and saw people coming in wearing race bib - I was so jealous! Sounds like you had a great race. :)

  2. I clocked the course at exactly 3.19 miles as well, so it wasn't just you! (Would have gotten a sub-30 5k without that extra distance, boo!) and HAHA what is up with the little collection of sweat blobs on my shirt there?! (Stay classy, self! ;D) It was great to see ya! And I completely agree... you never know what you're capable of until you just TRY, and you'll usually find out you're so much stronger than you think!

  3. @Emily: Thank you! You know, there are lots of races around here that allow strollers... :)

    @Courtney: Good to hear that it wasn't just me! And don't worry, I was nice 'n' sweaty as well. Great job getting your roomie out there yesterday -- obviously I think it's a great first race to do! :)

  4. I really only like 5ks when they have a fun theme to them! But it looked like a beautiful day out for a run so all in all thats a plus!

  5. It definitely is more fun to run a themed 5K. I think my favorite was the Pumpkin Push 5K I did around Halloween time last year — so many awesome costumes at that one!

  6. Oh this race looks like fun, I missed it because i had 3 Ultimate Frisbee games that weekend. I'll have to add it to my list


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