Top Top 5k – Mark P

Race: Top Pot 5k

Runner: Mark

Date: 4/30/17

Location: Seattle, WA (Green Lake)

Results – 16:56, 11th overall

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

  • Strong field
  • Flat, fast course
  • Top Pot donuts at the finish!


Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

  • As is often the case, no secondary pack formed.  It was the lead group and then stragglers.
  • Most of the course is paved, but the start/finish is grass and it was slick due to being wet.
  • The transitions from (1.0 miles) and to (1.9 miles) the road are a little bit awkward going over the curb, but they’re not too bad.

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race

I think the donuts at the finish, while not super weird, are the weird thing here.  I think I saw people dressed up as donuts or something too.


Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular

I struggled (and ultimately failed) to get up to 5k pace in this one.  However, I figured it out after 1 mile and at least got a solid, hard run in with decent results.  In fact, my HR graph showed a definite jump at 1 mile where I switched gears.


Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Be ready for the transitions over the curbs at 1.0 and 1.9 miles.

Scout out the finish.  If you don’t know the area, there’s no real way to tell when the finish turn is coming up.  The 3 mile marker is useful but is a little late.


Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I suspect that, for whatever reason, this just wasn’t my day for a PR attempt.  However, I was reminded at how precarious the pacing is in a 5k.  Just a little bit off of the “red line” will make the finish really painful or leave you with too much time to overcome.  Maybe this was a case where I should have used the lead pack a bit longer, or maybe I need to get better at finding the right pace on my own.


Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

See above (lessons for others)


Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

It’s quite pleasant, especially the second mile on the inner trail at Green Lake.  The first and third miles are just out on the surrounding road, which has some views of the lake but is pretty much just running down a road.  There are houses and some businesses to see.


Difficulty – is it a tough course

No, it’s a fast course.  It’s flat.  Wind is possible but wasn’t really a factor this year.


Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

They’ve been doing this race for a while.  They had plenty of police to help out early.  They had the cones and stuff in place early.  They had pace group signs at the start.  Everything seemed to go quite smoothly.


Competition – is there a strong field?

Yes, there’s a strong field.  The winning time is usually around 15 minutes, and there is always a decent group in the 15 to 16 minute range.  It gets a little sparse after that initial group of 10 or so (you’ll probably see one or a few runners but not necessarily have someone to run with) until it picks up again.


Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Registration is available the day of the race.


Aid Stations

I don’t remember seeing any aid stations at all.


Weather and typical race conditions –

Late April in Seattle says it all.  Odds are the temperatures will be nice, especially in the morning, but rain is definitely possible.  Wind is a variable too.


Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

Not really.  It’s a 5k road race with a short grass section.


Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends

It’s not particularly great for watching since it is a loop around the lake which makes it difficult to watch the course in multiple places.  Best bets are probably to either watch the start/finish or go a little bit past the start and then walk back to the finish or near it.


Awards –

The first place man and woman each get a pair of plane tickets, which explains the strong first group in the field.  I think it’s standard age group stuff after that.


The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it

I’d give this 4/5.  There isn’t anything wrong with it, but I save 5 for really special races.  This is a good, strong, and well-organized race.  With donuts!