After actually beating my then-5k-PR (from the Shamrock Run last March) in the run leg of the Best in the West tri, there was no way I wasn't going to take advantage of my marathon training fitness to set a real new PR and hit my sub-30 goal. (Side note: does a PR set during a triathlon count as a PR for the standalone distance?) So I found a 5k for the subsequent weekend, a small race on a flat course - Forest Grove Lions Run for Sight, and spoiler - got my sub-30 minute 5k and a new PR!
The start is at Pacific University in Forest Grove, on the far west side of the Portland metro area, in a pretty rural-ish setting. There was plentiful parking in a lot on campus and on surrounding streets. It was pretty perfect conditions, slightly sunny and around 60°. I wore a longsleeve shirt while warming up, and short sleeves and shorts for the race and it was just right.
I arrived over an hour before the race start, and was able to walk right up to the table for packet pickup. The main goody in the bag was a bottle of eyeglass cleaner and a cleaning cloth - maybe not exciting for everyone, but something I ought to use more often than I do, so I thought it was a pretty cool freebie! Having signed up within the week before, I was after the guaranteed t-shirt cutoff, but the volunteer assisting me said they had plenty of smalls, so I got one anyway. (Realized after taking it that they were unisex, so actually bigger than I care to wear, so it got immediately relegated to the box of future maternity wear.)
Both for purposes of semi-warming up and to get in a bit more mileage for the weekend, I ran a mile before the race, just heading north into the residential neighborhood around the college. Got back and hung around for a bit (and used the bathroom - instead of porta potties we got to use a real bathroom in the campus building!) before race officials announced we should all head over the start line.
This is one of the smaller races I've ever done, with about 250 people in all events (10k run, 5k walk, 5k run), 111 of which finished the 5k run. The 10k run and 5k walk started 15 minutes earlier, then the 5k run began.
The route was a lollipop (out and back with a loop rather than just a turnaround). The first mile was through a residential neighborhood, then it cut through the parking lot of a McMenamins, then out to the sidewalk of a kind of major road (but not so heavily trafficked that it felt unsafe or obnoxious, and plenty of room at the sidewalk and shoulder here). It looped back into a neighborhood, then back along the same path of the first mile. In the residential area there was some running on the sidewalk and some on the road (all quiet and little traffic, although only the first block with the start/finish line was actually closed off to cars). The nature of the course, and not really sure when it would be good to cross the street, to say, get on the sidewalk on the other side to aid in an upcoming turn, didn't aid in running efficient tangents, but wasn't really a problem.
The course really was quite flat, with total elevation gain and loss of 43 feet. I started somewhat conservatively, but was able to pick it up each mile for a great negative split. By the end I was definitely working hard (and kind of disappointed I didn't get under 9 for mile 3), but it was plenty fast enough to meet my goal! Finish time per my watch of 29:08 for 3.19 miles (man, if I'd run better corners I probably could have gotten under 29!); official time of 29:14 (I think I was delayed 1 or 2 seconds in starting my watch, and even though a small group I was nearer the back of it at the beginning, so I think 3 or 4 seconds is reasonable from gun time to crossing the start line and I don't think there's a chip starting time reflected).
Mile 1: 9:24
Mile 2: 9:14
Mile 3: 9:01
Mile 3.1: 1:30 (7:59 pace for 0.19)
At the finish line there was water, bananas, and granola bars. I stayed a few minutes to watch finishers, then headed home to start the rest of my weekend (this race was the only thing on the calendar, plus a shorter long run on Sunday, meant so much more free time on a weekend than I've had in a really long time, due to training and other commitments. It was so awesome!)
There was an issue with the timing company, and official results weren't available until Monday afternoon, but I have to give props to the race director for being super communicative and apologetic. She emailed Saturday night to explain the situation, and then emailed out the complete results on Monday. I ended up finishing 35 out of 111! (And that's not even counting the walkers! Just those officially "running" who started at the later start time.) And the results aren't sortable, but I think I was 2nd (ok, out of only 4) in the 30 - 34 age group.