Hospital Hill 5k 2013
We originally signed up for the 40th running of Hospital Hill last year while we were volunteering at a sign up booth. The reason we picked the 5k over the 10k & 1/2 was to see how much we had improved. The 2012 race was our “first race“.
As some people know, I have been fighting injuries and have not trained much since our Goofy race. Meanwhile, The Blonde had set a 1/2 PR at Rock the Parkway a couple of months ago. She also trounced me in our Castaway Cay untimed 5k. Needless to say, my training has not been up to snuff.
We woke up pretty early in the morning. We had learned from last year that traffic can be pretty bad getting down to midtown. Also, one of the major exits has been closed for construction as well as some lane closures. So, we wanted to get a jump on the crowd. After we started getting ready The Blonde looked at me and asked, “Whose bright idea was this again?” Someone is getting a bit snobbish about her race lengths. (But you did not hear that from me.)
It was a chilly morning. Pretty good conditions. There was just a touch too much wind for my liking. We tried to actually get in our correct corral for once, which was A. But, we ended up in B. Which was ok. Neither of had really trained for the race, so we did not know what to expect. However, once the wheelchairs were released, the A corral started moving forward. Since we were right at the rope, we dropped underneath it and got in our correct corral!
I was expecting to hear a horn, but they just counted down. We were off after one. It was nice to actually start in the correct place. That meant that my pacing was appropriate with people near me. Usually, we end up frustrated because we are trying to dance around people. The course heads North towards downtown before heading East along the highway. This is the fun part. One, it is the beginning of the race. Two, it is downhill. Oh what a difference that makes.
I did the first mile split at a decent pace of 7:19. Again, there were some downhill sections there that helped. At around 1.5 miles is when the second hill comes into play. This hill kicked my butt. I kept a decent pace most of the way up the hill. However, the effort was really high. I imagine if I was wearing a HR monitor, I would have been off the charts. As I got near to the top, I seriously thought about taking a walk break. However, I kept telling myself, it is just 5k, you can do this. Looking at my pacing, it definitely affected me. I went from a mid 7 pace to a low 9 pace by the time I hit the top of the hill! My overall second mile split was 7:49, so I dropped 30 seconds.
The third mile starts right after the crest of the hill. Fortunately, it is mostly downhill from there. The only trouble spot is a short, sharp up and down corner. That is actually a pain due to the steepness of the downhill. However, once I was over that tiny hill, I was good to go. I made one final turn and headed towards the finish line. I ran this pretty hard and did not have much kick over the last quarter mile. I did get my pace down to the lower 6s.
I ended up coming in at an official time of 23:35, which is an official PR for me. The Blonde finished :34 in front of me. Her official time was 23:01. That is an official PR for her. Both of our unofficial PRs were set a couple of weeks ago on a very flat, very hot course at Castaway Cay.
The Blonde came in second in her age group, which is a great accomplishment. Several years ago, she first ran the 5k at HH with a 29:44 overall time, so she has improved her times greatly. I was two seconds from coming in third in my age group. My time from last year was 26:11. So, I shaved almost three minutes off of my time with less training. I think a lot of that comes with more race knowledge and understanding the distance of a 5k.
So, for a race that neither of us trained much for, we both ran some of our best. So, I would call it a success! We will see if we decide to do it again next year.