Got to SF early and parked at the end of the race and ran to the start. Definitely not a flat course! Got to the startline, which was on top of the hill on JFK drive. Not only was it downhill, there was also a healthy tailwind. If I can't run a fast mile on this course I don't think I ever will. Wasn't sure about pacing as the course was so "not flat", so decided to run quickly and try to keep the wheels on. Weather was perfect. high 40's & overcast.
- Gun goes off, and a lot of people go out way, way fast. Unfortunately this includes me. First 1/4 in 1:09 (4:37 pace) - but this included a drop of about 50' and felt OK, so I kept going.
- 2nd quarter was 1:15 (5:02 pace) and only dropped 19'. Still feeling OK, but HR is now up to 180.
- 3rd quarter I try to keep the effort steady based on HR and end at 182, for a 1:20 quarter.
- Decide to push for the finish and try to catch a guy ahead, but things are starting to hurt. As I approach the line I can see the clock at 4:50....4:51...4:52 and I don't think I can get there sub 5. Cross at 5:02 after a final crazy sprint with another runner (who got a 5:01).
So this is a ridiculously fast course, with a 140' drop. I think I could have pushed a little harder in the 2nd/3rd quarters and found those 3 seconds to go sub 5. I'll definitely run this next time around and will get that 4:XX - I now know how Roger Bannister must have felt when he was trying to go sub 4 in the mile and kept getting 4:01's (although I suspect he would have easily run a 3:40 on this course!)
25 minutes later was the 5K. The first mile was the same mile I had just run, but the other way, so I knew this was not a PR course. Decided to just run it as a tempo (6:15-6:20 pace) and put on a sweathshirt and my Santa hat. Ran 6:43, 6:02, 6:09, 0:52 (last .15). Ran the last .15 hard as it was an uphill finish and I got into a sprint with a couple runners who were determined to beat the guy in the Santa hat! Overall 19:48 (6:17 pace) so it was a solid tempo. Even without running the mile there is no way I would have PR'd on this course today, so I think I made the right decision.
I might run a DSE 5K next weekend, which is a SF low key (ie. not accurately measured) race as I will be up there for a party Saturday night. Alternatively I may not bother as I suspect I will drink too much.
After that is a New Year's Day 5/10K in Palo Alto Baylands. Not sure which race I'll run yet but whichever it is I'll be gunning for a PR.