Entries in 5K (14)


Race Report: North Shore 5K Turkey Trot

I had a personal goal for today. Actually, I have two goals for this weekend. First, not to gain any weight at my next Weight Watchers 'post-Turkey Day' weigh-in on Sunday. Second, to shoot for a sub-30 minute finish time at one of the two 5K races that I have scheduled for Thursday and Saturday. Why sub-30 minutes? Mostly because my fastest 5K so far was 30:44 and I just can't allow those pesky 44 seconds to stand. I want to get beyond that 30-minute milepost before the end of 2011, and I only have two more 5K races left in the year.

So at 5am, the alarm goes off and it is time to get ready. I laid everything out the night before so I could get a good night's sleep. I got myself dressed, had my pre-race breakfast (no banana today so applesauce served as a substitute), and left for the race. I got there around 7:15am for an 8:00am start time.

There were 3000 participants in the races today -- a 5K and a 10K -- and 1,668 of those were running the 5K along with me. The weather was good for running, albeit cold due to a 12mph wind that wouldn't quit. I was glad that I brought along my headband, gloves, and the running jacket I got from the Hot Chocolate 15K I ran a few weeks ago. I ended up deciding to run with the jacket to protect me from that wind.

On a side note: I went to Packet Pick-up yesterday to get my bib and the fleece jacket 'goodie'. The jacket is very nice! But the wait was ridiculous! It took me 50 MINUTES to get my packet! I have never really had to wait at a pick-up before so this was unexpected. It made me late for work but thankfully not much was going on that day. That was just crazy. Hey Ram Racing! You need to improve that process for next year!

So the race started on time! It was basically a course through the neighborhood surrounding the local commuter rail station. I started out at a 9:45 pace and maintained that until I reached the water station at the halfway mark. Then I sped up to a 9:20am pace. I was happy that I could maintain that new pace for over a mile. Can you say 'negative split'? (My first one!)

At Mile 2, the race clock showed 19:20! That was exciting because I was definitely on pace to go 'sub-30'. So I kept up the pace! Then I noticed that my bib hard torn at one of the corners so I slowed down to try to deal with it. I ended up just holding the corner of the bib with my right hand as I continued to run. No way was I going to let it fall off!

At Mile 3, the race clock showed 29:10! Well, there was no way I was going to mess this chance up! So I forgot about the stupid bib and started running hard to the finish! I crossed that finish line with gusto! And when I looked down at my watch, I was so pumped! Sub-30 minutes Baby!!

The official finish time was 29:30! That is 1:44 minutes faster than my previous 5K record! Gotta love the new Personal Record! This has been a goal of mine since I started running 5Ks back in May, and after so many months of training and hard effort, I finally reached it! And I felt good afterwards! No pains, no aches, just the stupid big grin on my face. LOL

They served a post-race hot breakfast of pancakes, french toast, sausages, and bananas along with water and/or Gatorade. Yes Please! All of the above! I deserved a good, hot meal after burning off 513 calories, right? I sat and chatted with a couple of other runners, sharing stories of previous races. I totally felt like a runner today!

I haven't decided what I am going to do about Saturday's 5K Turkey Trot race in Schaumburg. Do I just run it for the fun and not worry about pacing, or should I try to beat this new finish time? My coach would probably tell me to take it easy, no point in inviting potential injury with the Disney Half only 7 weeks away. She is probably right. But can I contain my competitive nature? This is the question... LOL


Race Report: Chicago Police 5K Foot Chase

The day started at 5AM (this has become my regular wake-up time I guess) to get cleaned up, dressed in my running garb, have my regular pre-race breakfast, and head downtown for the Chicago Police Department's annual 5K race. It was a balmy 44 degrees outside and sunny by the time I parked the car and walked to the Start, which was in front of Soldier Field (Home of the Chicago Bears).

There were about 600 runners assembled, many of them police officers. There weren't many vendors there so I just walked around to warm-up, visited Gear Check, and waited. It was interesting being around so many police -- it is a good thing I am an upstanding citizen! :)

The race started with the National Anthem and we were off! I had already decided not to run hard today because I had run 8.2 miles the day before on my Long Run, and since that was the longest run I have completed to-date, I did not want to overstress my body (even though everything felt fine). So I kept myself to a 10:30 pace for the race, and actually focused on seeing the sights along the race route.

Starting at Soldier Field was pretty cool. We ran down Museum Campus Road, passing the front entrance to the Shedd Aquarium, and then onto the wide sidewalk on Lake Shore Drive. The view of the cityscape along the Drive is pretty sweet! I thought to take out my iPhone and snap some pictures, but I didn't want to change my stride. We passed the first mile without incident. But soon after that, I had a couple of twinges in my right knee. Hmm.. this was a first. So I slowed down a bit to test it. After about a minute, the twinge went away. So I kept onward and eventually returned to my 10:30 pace. It did not bother me again. (I guess I must have landed strangely on my right foot)

By Mile 2, we had turned from Lake Shore Drive and onto a bike path right along the shareline. Most of the boats that usually line Lake Michigan were gone (they were probably drydocked for the winter) but some were still out there, bobbing up and down. It made me think of our summer place in Idlewild MI, where we have boats and stuff. I was feeling pretty good and running in a good rhythm. Some people think about stuff while they run but today, I was just in tune with my cadence and breathing (I decided no music on this run).

At Mile 2.5, we were back at the Shedd Aquarium but this time running around the back of the building and up a consistent incline for a while. I ran the entire incline while others were stopping to walk. I had to smile inwardly to myself for being able to run through it (thanks to Meghan and TEAM Weight Loss inclines on the treadmill). At Mile 3, I sped up a bit to cross the Finish Line strong! It was a fun race; my legs were fine, the knee was okay, and I was pretty happy about now being able to wear the cool tech shirt in the goodie bag!

After the race, I spent time with a guy named Steven, who I found out later was a police cadet who runs a lot of races and was the Male Winner for the officers. He was the second overall male winner. It was interesting that they broke out the overall winners between Officers and Non-Officers. I guess to make sure that each group received prizes for their effort.

After the race winners received their awards, they began their raffle. Each runner had a section on their bib which went into a large bowl and winning numbers were drawn from that. And guess what? I actually was one of the winners! I never win raffles so I was quite surprised and pleased. So I got to pick my prize -- a rolling drink cooler that had a built-in AM/FM radio. So now I can have my food, drink, and music for tailgating parties! LOL

It was a good way to start my Sunday morning. I got back in the car to speed back home so I could hopefully make it to church before the service was over. Hmm.. not so successful with that. I got there just as the service was finishing. But I was there to lead my HS Christian Ed class, where we discussed how "Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself" could be a hard directive to follow. Especially, if we haven't learned how to love ourselves. It was a good discussion!

Then it was lunch with my wife Christi and a Deacon from the parish. Oh, and I had a donut today! Not often do I treat myself with one of those, but I figured it would be okay just this once. :)