Race: Couples Relay

Another Sunday. another race, another rainstorm.
The couples relay is an annual 2X5K around Lake Merritt in Oakland. Women run the first lap. Most of the couples are of course temporary alliances for the race. Anna, my teammate, has been spending most of her time running long on trails lately.

“I can’t remember when I last ran a 5K. I’m not sure how to pace it.”
“Well, My approach to 5Ks is to go like hell and know that it’ll soon be over.”

The tactical master-plan taken care of, we head to the start. It’s raining steadily. Not hard like last week, and not windy either, but still a downer. I tell Joe I’d be really happy to complete my leg in 22 minutes, and he has a similar goal, although he usually beats me in the shorter races. It feels odd to be standing around watching the start of a race in which I am also a participant. I start my watch, and keep an eye on the time as I put my jacket in the car and warm up.

I get into position as Anna comes around the final corner, running well but looking exhausted. Looks like she gave it her all. We tag, and I’m running. I pass a couple of runners, but I’m not feeling all that fast. Better not over-do it in this first mile. Things are pretty spread out. In front of me here’s a tiny figure in the uniform of one of the local high schools, doing a good pace. I follow him for the time being, and await developments. He’s well under four feet tall, which gives me an uninterrupted view of the ground in front. The mile split is approximate, as I was slow on the button at the handover, but it’s about 6:30. Too fast, but not by much. Two young runners pass us. Let ’em go. The kid is faltering now, so I pass him and contemplate the 100-yard gap to the next runner. That’s a long way, and my attention drifts.

This is horrible, I hate 5Ks. I wish I didn’t run so far yesterday. How far to go? This hurts, maybe I should slow down…

Get a grip and reel that guy in! Even if I don’t succeed, it will distract me from these 5K blues. Focus. Closing a bit, good.


This passes the time nicely, but now we’re in the last quarter mile and he’s still 40 yards away. If he has any sort of kick left, I’m not going to catch him. Do I have a kick, come to that? I dig deep. Uuurgh! 100 yards to the line and he’s gone. I need to bottle that.

After I get my breath back, I turn my attention to my watch.

Let’s see… That 24:40 is Anna’s split (Nice job, Anna!), so I need to add the mile split to this next one, add a few seconds for the slow button push at the handover,…
That can’t be right, start again…
Did I just run a 22:10? No wonder I felt like death!


I’m not at all sure about that time, so will wait for the official results to see if my button fudging was accurate. A provisional PR. Then maybe I wont have to run another 5K for a while…

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3 Responses to “Race: Couples Relay”


  1. 1 Christi February 23, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Great RR report as usual! Sounds like you and Anna had a great time on the course. I will be running a 5k in March and like you I hate them but I am still hoping to PR. Like you said “…go like hell and know that it’ll soon be over!” That is how I am going to tackle mine and I will use your words as a mantra when I do it. Thanks!

    • 2 jime2 February 23, 2009 at 11:21 am

      Thanks Christi. Writing RRs is kinda fun, and helps to fix the little things in my mind. If you do the math, I really went out way too fast, which is not ruinous in a 5K but still is not ideal. One of these days I’ll get it right 😉

  2. 3 Flo February 25, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I love your report! Laughing over the 4′ munchkin whom you’re able to look over. Congrats on a new 5K PR!


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Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
10K43:44
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)

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