Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Corktown Races Sing This Song...Doo Dah

This weekend was the Corktown Race, a 5k in the Irish community of Detroit.  I signed up for two three reasons:
  1. I was ready for a new PR for my 5K
  2. It seemed like a lot of friends were participating
  3. A very cool tech shirt and medal
I'll be honest, it was 75% reason #3.  The shirt and medal were some of the coolest and I was in need of a new short sleeve tech shirt.
The race started at the crack of noon.  It was odd to be racing so late in the day.  I showed up around 11 am and met up with some friends at Nemo's.  I contemplated having a pre-race shot, but I decided against it.  With about 30 minutes to go, we headed to the start line.

Complaint #1:  when I registered I had to pick a wave, either faster or slower than a 10 min/mi pace.  When I reached the starting line, there was no corral system to separate the two waves.  So because I showed up with 10 minutes 'til the start of a race with over 7500 participants, this was my view of the start gate:
It took about 4 minutes to reach the gate, which I don't mind. I did mind that the next 1.5 miles were spent weaving and dodging all the walkers and 10+ min/mi pacers, while my average pace was about 8.

Complaint #2: although I knew what I was getting into when I registered, Michigan Ave is an ankle death-trap. It was once a streetcar route, covered in brick. When the streetcars were removed, the track located in what is now the turning lane was covered by asphalt. Wear and tear and a poor DOT, leaves this road in shambles. Busted bricks, chunks of old asphalt and uncovered trolley tracks are just a few of the course obstacles. Don't forget cars and trucks randomly blocking parts of the course. When 7500 people are spread along 1.5 miles, you need all the space you can get.

The awesome weather meant I needed more effort to stay hydrated. These 30° runs had me spoiled. Despite drinking about 40 oz of water leading up to the race, I still had to stop at the water station both times. Normally in a 10k, I may find myself stopping once. Then again, I'm not usually trying to keep an uncomfortable pace. After mile 2, I had run out of energy. My pace dropped by a full minute, but I figured if I could keep it as close to 9 as possible, I'd PR.

And PR is what I did. Official time of 26:33. This was my first 5k in 2 years, not counting the Golab-k which ended up being short of 3.1. I cleared my last time by over a minute. After the race, most parade goers had arrived by now - insanity commence. Getting through the crowds of drunken people was challenging, but I managed to get some people watching in.

I left before the parade ended, but I came home to a wife and son ready for an afternoon walk in the beautiful weather. A great finish to the day.

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