Race: Alameda 4th of July Parade 5K

The island city of Alameda is proud of its 4th of July parade, billing it as the “longest in the country” at 3.2 miles. Of course, that length of closed roadway makes a fine course for a 5K race, and so they hold one just before the parade begins. Entries benefit a local high school.
The start line is about half a mile from my house, so I jogged down there to pick up my tag and…
“Can I pick up my tee shirt later? I’ve got nowhere to put it.” “Um, no.” So back home I went with that apparel item, plus a small U.S. flag on a stick which was also on offer. I held on to the flag as a miniature rehearsal for the pace sign I expect to be carrying in the San Francisco Marathon.
After this extended warmup enhanced by some strides in a nearby parking lot, I was feeling pretty good, and shmoozed with some friends from the club. “It’s interesting” observed Karen, “how all the halfway-experienced racers are standing here in the shade while everyone else is already standing out in the road.” Another Karen gem, addressed to a nervous racer: “In a 5K, enjoy the first mile.” I laughed. “Because you’re not going to enjoy the other two?”

I did enjoy that first mile, perhaps a little too much. This is the first time I have raced in flats, and it was good. It’s not just the lightness, but the road feel. Every nuance of gait and landing can be felt and I needed to get that stuff right. I had told Cathi earlier that I planned to run carefully to avoid a plantar fasciitis flareup. I also expected to be rather slow since my training has been somewhat impacted lately bt that same PF. After about a quarter of a mile I peeked at the Garmin. Yikes, 5:50 pace? In what universe is this being careful? I slowed a bit, but still completed the first mile in 6:11. OK, let’s see how well I can hang on for the rest of it.

There were plenty of specatators along the route thanks to the impending parade. Houses were hung with flags and bunting, and in one neighborhood they had painted bunting on the road surface. The runners were well spread out now, and we settled in for the slog that is the second half of a 5K. There was a smell headwind which was welcome since it was cool air fromthe bay. In need of a target, I gradually reeled in a young guy in a basketball uniform. His pacing varied a little bit, so we passed each other more than once for the remainder of the race.

And that’s pretty much it. Finsh time was 20:43 which equals my PR, and shreds my last 5K of a few weeks ago.
Mile 2: 6:51, Mile 3: 6:54, Last bit: 6:13 pace. This final kick was not enough to hold off baskeball guy who managed to go by me just before the line. I’m not sure how I did age group wise, since the results are not online. It’s a pity that my first race since my birthday should be in a race where my age group was simply “master”.

The finish. Note flag in left hand.

Update: I got the results by email. I was 24th overall out of 193, 7th master. If there had been a 55-59 age group I would have won it. The guy in the white cap would have been second.

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3 Responses to “Race: Alameda 4th of July Parade 5K”


  1. 1 Flo July 6, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Great job, Jim and love that photo – very cute with you holding onto that flag. And how fun to realize you have more in the tank, too! Looks like the miles you’ve been accumulating have been good to you in their stealthy way, even with the PF monster hanging around. May your next short race have an actual AG for you to place in.

  2. 2 jime2 July 6, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Thanks Flo. I created my own AG – see update above. The PF is behaving well. Conventional wisdom says that running a 5K in flats would really aggravate it, but it didn’t.

  3. 3 spaulukonis July 11, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Great description of the Alameda race – I ran in 2008 and 2009, and the spectators make it really fun. Yes, it’s not the best race to actually care about in terms of AGs and stuff.

    Congrats on making it with the flag! That would have driven me crazy.


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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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