Yesterday I ran the Workforce Challenge Road Race, a 3.5 mile run in which companies, organizations, and government agencies from all over the Albany area assemble teams and compete against one another. I did not enjoy it.
After last year’s Workforce Challenge the boss of Ella’s company discovered I was a runner, and so as a spouse of one of their employees I was drafted to compete on their team. I’ve run a half marathon and countless 5k’s before this and yet I enjoyed all of them more than the Workforce Challenge race I ran yesterday.
Perhaps it’s just the fact that it was hot and humid that contributed to my unhappiness but the thing I really disliked was the sheer size of the race. There were close to 10,000 entrants and I was shoved and stepped on nearly the entire time. I prefer either A) smaller races, like the 5k I ran a few weeks ago that had only 250 people and allowed me to get a good place on the starting line, or B) longer races that don’t require me to get out to such a fast start. Yesterday I got an awful spot on the starting line and had to weave through the crowd and jump up onto the sidewalk at times to get around people. Normally I’m not quite so competitive in road races but I was part of a team and my overall place mattered in the scoring. When I find myself swearing out loud during a race, getting elbowed in the ribs and having my heels stepped on by other runners, it’s time for me to rethink what I’m doing.
While nobody likes getting trampled and shoved, I feel like my training hasn’t really prepared me for a race this short. Even when the crowd thinned and I could run at my own pace I found that I had trouble moving up because I’m simply not as fast as I was in years past. With the marathon as my main focus, a 5k (or 3.5 miles, as this race was) just feels like a quick burst. I can get some of my old speed back by doing shorter, faster training runs, but I’m not there yet.
I was looking to run another 5k next month but after yesterday I’m thinking I’m going to forget it and focus on my marathon training and revisit the shorter races another time.
Ella’s coworkers seemed very pleased with my performance, and I’m sure that if they ask me to run it again next year I will, but today I’d rather not think about it.