“Hi Adam,” I wrote my bud in California. “When are you flying into Colorado? Would you be interested in doing a “prediction run” (5k) on Saturday in Fort Collins? Entry fee is merely a canned food donation, and turkeys are awarded to the top 5. The winners are those that finish closest to their prediction!
“I’m not in good running shape yet so I think I am going to predict my time as 21:41,” I continued.
That email was a few days before the day that the Fort Collins Running Club’s Turkey/Donut Predict 5k at Rolland Moore Park occurred. By race morning, I felt that 21:41 (6:59/mile) might actually be a tad optimistic, so I ended up writing down 21:49 when I registered.
Considering that I have only been running for a few weeks since returning from Spain—and it had only been 13 days since running a (slow) marathon—I think the race went as well as planned. The 150 or so runners in this pre-Thanksgiving Day race had a choice of two courses along the Spring Creek Trail: one that went out-and-back to Cottonwood Glen Park towards the southwest, and another that went out-and-back to past Center Street (I think) towards the east.
I chose the former, reasoning that I’d rather run slightly uphill on the way out and then slightly downhill on the way back during the second half, than the other way around.
I made it to the halfway point feeling pretty speedy but not blisteringly fast, and was surprised to see that I had a gap on other folks who I knew who ran at my pace or faster in the months before I went to Spain and didn’t run at all.
On the return trip, a young man passed me, but I managed to pass him back on a downhill section a couple minutes later. Meanwhile, a young lady named Teal was breathing down my neck until she went by me with about a half-mile to go.
With about 200 meters I felt maxed out, with my lungs and breathing muscles being the main limiting factor. By that point I could see the finish line so I tried to sprint for it, but couldn’t quite catch up to Teal. Here is a photo of me behind her on a bridge that was about 50 meters from the finish line:
You can see that my eyes were closed. I usually do that when I am kind of hurting; I have no idea why. I’ve even consciously tried to open my eyes wide when I find myself doing that (“don’t flinch!”), but my eyes seem to want to be closed when I am exerting myself at the limit.
In any case, I felt like I beat my predicted time by a bit. In fact, I beat my official prediction by nine seconds, as I finished in 21:40.
Darn, I should have put down my original prediction to Adam of 21:41, and then I would have been off by only a second and would have won a turkey!
Oh well. It’s nice to see that I was (very slightly) faster than what I thought I was. I hope to keep my training up and that I’ll be back to running sub-21s within a few months or so.
Final time: 21:40 (6:58/mile)
No splits as no one was allowed to wear a timing device. This was a prediction race, after all.