Very slow indeed - but still improving! I won my age group - 50 to 59 - in a 5K for the first time last Saturday. My time was just barely under 22 minutes. Admittedly, the competition wasn't fierce, as this (The Tortoise and the Hair) was a new run and all the fast guys were either cross town running in Deer Park or in Colorado because of the heat. Yes it was hot. Starting a race in Houston at 8:30am is never a good idea, especially not in late June during a heatwave of epic proportions. So it was probably close to 85F by the time we all sprinted out from underneath the Wortham Center, racing up the bridge over Interstate 45, along Memorial Drive.
Which brings me to a pet peeve. What is it with bridges, overpasses and viaducts in 5K races? I am baffled as to why local 5K races (such as the Astros 'Race for the Pennant' 5K and now this one) opt to make their course more difficult (slower) than it could otherwise be. What is the benefit to the race? So that runners can complain about how tough it was? Surely not. Trust me people, if anybody really wants to run hills in Houston's summer heat, he or she will find them - without your help. So quit including inclines of any kind in your 5K course. Runners do not sign up for 5K's to get a hill workout. They do that in the days and weeks before the race. Many people run a 5K just for the heck of it (because they can), but most 'real' runners are out to compete with others in their age group or to improve on their personal best time. So give them the fastest (i.e. flattest) course possible with the least number of turns, and they'll be back.
Other Striders there on the day did very well too: Ryan Dimarco won the entire thing - first place overall! John Dimarco snagged 2nd in his age group as did Azita Dimarco. What a family. Unfortunately Kathleen couldn't make it due to some IT band issue: too bad because she might have won her age group too!