Marlton Lakes Summer 5K

A couple weeks ago I was invited to join Nextdoor.com for the Sanctuary. It’s a good way to keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood. As part of it people can also post stuff from nearby neighborhoods. Last night someone from Marlton Lakes posted that they were having their Summer 5K this morning. I was planning on going to CrossFit this morning anyway, but this seemed like an interesting thing to try.

I don’t know if I’ve ever run 5K before. I run on the treadmill every morning (well, now only a couple mornings a week since I started CrossFit), but don’t really believe the readout. It normally takes me almost 11:00 to run a mile. But that doesn’t seem right to me. I am really hoofing it. If my pace is really 11:00 than a 4:00 mile is impossible…I don’t care what the world record holder says. So maybe I’m running the equivalent of 5K every morning but don’t even know it.

One time last year during our annual Ocean City vacation, I also went for a run there. I was bored being awake each morning waiting for the family to get ready. So one morning I went out. I think that was the first time I ran outdoors. It pretty much sucked. It was a hot, sun beating Aug day. Plus it was before I knew about my asthma so I was wheezing pretty early into the run. I was so unprepared for what I was doing that I lost track of distance and time. I bet I ran 5 miles by accident that morning.

So today was the first legit one for me. I got there early because I didn’t know what to expect. I asked the guy running it if the course was marked because I didn’t know if I was going to be so far behind that I wouldn’t have anyone to follow. It was a small field – only 20 people – so if the other 19 were any good, I definitely was going to be behind.

When it was time to line up I went to the back of the pack. I know this is my first time, so I’m definitely going to be slower than everyone else. They fire the “GO” and I start running. Four people who lined up front took off like a shot. But everyone else was slow…to the point that I had to fight my way around them a minute in. Once I got separation I pretty much only saw 3 people the rest of the course. There was a woman a bit of the ways in front of me, another woman right in front of me, and an older guy behind me. We were the second four and eventually finished 2nd woman, old guy, me, and 1st woman.

But let’s not jump to the finish just yet. The most interesting part of my run was the markers. The event planner didn’t tell me about the markers, so they should’ve been a pleasant surprise. Except that when I saw the “1” about 9 minutes into the race, I assumed it was “kilometer 1”. We were after all running a 5K and the “K” in 5K stands for kilometer, right? So I kind of freaked. Damn it, the treadmill is right! I am slow. More running and no “2”. Maybe I missed it. There better be a “3” soon. What’s that…a “2”?!? Argh! It took this long to run 2 kilometers?!? Maybe that Ocean City run wasn’t an anomaly and it really is just tougher to run outside. This sucks. More running. A person working the course! I ask as I run by “Are the markers kilometers?” “You are running a 5K.” Thanks…she was no help at all. I see the last straightaway to the Start/Finish and then a “3” marker. Are these miles? Or do we have to do the whole course twice??? I run through the Finish and a lady yells out my bib #. “841!” Hmmm…she wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t over, right? Just to be sure, I yell out “Do we go around twice?” Everybody laughs because they think I’m being funny. OK, then. I’m finished! Time: 27:31.

So I go to the organizer guy. He congratulates me on a good run for a first time out. I tell him the markers through me off. He says, “this is America, we measure in miles.” “Yeah, but it’s a 5K.” “Well, in Europe they would mark it in kilometers.” “Yes, but it’s a 5K here.” “But we mark in miles in America.” He kept saying this stuff so matter of fact like it made sense. It doesn’t. And anyone who thinks it makes sense to blend different measurements together like this is wrong.

Anyway, the rest of the runners finish over the next 10 minutes. I didn’t think I did anything special, but I finished 7th overall out of 20 people. I doubt the 13 I beat were all first timers. Maybe none of them were. Maybe they’re just terrible runners. I don’t know…it didn’t seem that difficult. Well, at least once I learned that I was running miles.

My time was the second best for my gender’s age group (2 out of 4). I got a silver medal! It’s dumb, but neat. I won’t seek out another 5K. I would do something like this again only because it was convenient to my home. But I think most of my future running will be back on my treadmill with the inaccurate readout…which actually isn’t as bad as mile long kilometers.
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