Wednesday, October 29

Pushin Daisies (or Pumpkins)

I completed my first race since high school track the other day. I have now been running for about two months, I have completed runs as short as 1.5 miles and as long as 7.2 miles in this time. The 7.2 mile run was a personal length record for my lifetime - two or three times before in my life I had to run a 6 miler in track.

I paid a pretty penny for a good pair of running shoes that adjusted for my specific running physics - the Mizuno Wave Inspire 4:

I ran in the 13th Annual Pumpkin Push 5k Run. 5k is 3.1 miles, though some there at the race with thier own GPS systems said the track was actually 3.2 miles long (we'll come back to this). I was told that the run included a gradual hill. So I took off with my friend John. John has been training with me. He has 3 kids and around his busy life he managed to do a fair amount of training in the last two months as well. We took off kinda slow and after what I judged to be a half mile or so I picked up the pace.

At this point I left John behind, he has not been training as hard as I have and he has 7 years on me, so I didn't expect him to keep up. Mercifully the first mile marker came up.I checked my watch (I forgot the heart rate monitor...grrrr) and I was in at 8:49. That is about that I had expected. I planned on coming in at or under 28:00 for the entire race. I zipped through the next 1/4 mile and then the hill began. From the very beginning I noticed that this hill was a little more challenging than I had been led to beleive. Nevertheless, I had planned on this by doing plenty of hill running, since nothin is really flat over here part of that is not by choice. the main hill I practiced on would put this hill to shame.

The hill was longer and steeper than I expected, but it ended. Shortly after the bottom of the hill came the 2 mile marker. Well here is my first dissapointment and my first sign of panic. I am now at 18:24 That means my second mile took me 9:35. This puts me off pace by a good 20 seconds or so. Time to kick it in gear. All the time I was thinking how cool Seward Park is. I have never been there before, nor had I seen any pictures, and boy, it is nice.

So I adjust my breathing to take in more oxygen so I can keep my mile 1 pace for mile 3 amd make up some time. I start to pass more people during this mile. The first two miles I passed a few and was passed by a few people but at this point people started to gas out. Oh!! I am passing SKINNY people!! That was the sweetest victory of the day. So about 75% of the way through this third mile comes a father and his 9 year old son passing me. Well now, i think, this kid really just passed me?

Unfortuanately, it was a bit early for the real end-of-race kick so I had to let them go.

Here it is!! 3 mile marker. My time is now 27:13 meaning I did my mile 1 pace exactly (8:49) but I only have 45 seconds to do the last .1 mile. This should have been quite doable if it was only .1 mile, and 8:49 pace over .1 mile comes to 52 Seconds. So if I speed up just a tiny bit I will come in at or below 20:00.

Here is the problem, I looked ahead and did not see the finish line where it should have been. As I crossed the marker I kicked it up to a good stride. Now I am really passing people left and right. I began to hear the announcers speak.

Finish line in view - I need to kick it into a higher gear - I am running about 75% of a sprint and the fastest I can currently muster. I see the father and 9 year old directly ahead of me, I will not quite catch them, but it will be close...


I hit stop on my watch. ~suspense please~ 28:19:37 WHAT!?!?! I didn't make my time, I DID NOT make my time. That last .1 miles was much faster than my pace for the rest of the race, and doing the math (if I did not speed up at the end) I should have come in at 28:05 instead I come in a full 15 seconds after that and I had sped up by at least 25% for the end game. Well later when I found out that my official time was 28:20 and that the GPS units measured the route at 3.2 miles. I felt vindicated. I had previously run a 3 mile distance in 25:57, I KNEW I could get that last .1 miles in less than 2 minutes.

But the track was certified, so I can only officially lay claim to a certified 5k race time of 28:20. This was good enough for 355th place. That put me in the top 15%. There were like a couple thousand people or so registered and participating in the event. NOT BAD. I feel good and maybe it is time to search for a good 10k for a brushup and then a Half-Marathon?

There is a picture of me running towards the end (two actually) but neither one is very flattering because at this point I am pushing myself pretty hard so I have an ugly grimace on my face and my running form has really broken down. I think Winifred is going to put it up on her blog so I will save my record the official embarrasment.