Entries in 5K (14)


It's Race Day and I was Ready!

Today was a great day! First, Saturdays are my usual weekly Weight Watchers meeting and I knew I was going to have a good weigh-in. Today was also the culmination of LifeTime Fitness' "90-day Challenge" program (a weight less/fitness challenge) which ended with a 5K Run. This program started in April with a 5K Run. So I had to plan out my strategy to do both things.

Weight Watchers

I got a great night's sleep so that was the first good thing. I had to wake up for a Weight Watchers meeting at 7AM so I got dressed in my running shorts & shirt and headed for the weigh-in. I did not stay for the meeting because I wanted to have plenty of time to eat before the race at 9AM. I was excited to weigh in 1.2lbs down from last week! So the first objective of the day was met -- I lost more weight! Sweet!

Race Preparation

So I got home and immediately made a quick breakfast of toast, almond butter, a banana, and several glasses of water. Yum!! Then I relaxed and slowly put my gear together. I decided to fill a water bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 Powerade Zero since I tend to sweat a lot and it was going to be around 76 degrees and very sunny. So after applying sunscreen, setting the heart monitor/footpod, and checking shoelaces, I headed to the club.

First thing I had to do was weigh in at the club since this was the end of the Challenge. Tomorrow, they will announce winners of the Challenge (based upon total weight loss during the 90-day period) as well as the results from today's race. Then I went to warm up before the race started by walking for 1/2 mile on a treadmill. I might have over done the warm up a tad.

Then, as I headed to the race start, I heard a familiar voice. It was Mike Rice and his wife! They came out to encourage me and cheer me on. It was great to see them! Then I saw Meghan, my personal trainer, who was organizing the race. After all the help she has given me, I really wanted to do well in this race to show her how much she has helped me improve.

The Race

I also ran into Natalie, another LifeTime Fitness Run Club member. Natalie is training for a marathon and she is a lot faster than I am. She and I signed out waivers and lined up at the start. And then we were off! I started out pretty fast at a 10:00 pace with Natalie. This is faster than I usually start but it felt good for a while. But then Natalie started speeding up to her 9:30 pace, so I let her go on ahead and settled into an average 11:00 pace.

The cool thing? I was actually passing people! And the people I passed did not pass me later. I can't tell you how awesome that felt. The first 1.5 miles were pretty uneventful. But then came the uphill inclines. These were tough at times but I kept going. I did take two 1-minute walk segments to recover and bring my heart rate down a bit -- it was getting warmer and the sun was beating down. But other than that, I ran the race.

The last half mile was cool! I was running strong and in the distance, I could see the green WISH shirt of Mike Rice. It gave me a boost to see him cheering me on. I finished with a 33:50 time! That was MAJOR given that my original April time was 40:41. And it was over two minutes faster than my Rock-n-Roll 5K time of 36:02! A new PR! And what an improvement! I am stunned!

Post Race

I found Meghan and shared the good news with her. She was so happy! We agreed that I would take a rest day on Sunday and then do my regular TEAM Weight Loss workout on Monday at 6AM, followed by a Personal Training session to focus on Core Strengthening at 10AM. Got to keep moving forward, right?

Then I took a nice cold shower, changed clothes, and went home to celebrate with a nice breakfast. I have to admit that I did not do much more than watch TV for the remainder of the day. But I figured that this week has been pretty busy so I deserved some down-time.

Another Race? Oh yes!

I was thinking about the Disney Half Marathon and was wondering about which corral I would be placed within. My guess is that they will put me in the last one since I do not have a qualifying official time to give them (it has to be a race longer than a 10K). So after doing some searching, I found a cool race called the Hot Chocolate 15K scheduled for November 5th. I decided to sign up for that race. It will give me two benefits: 1) I can use this race to gauge my pacing and fueling choices in preparation for the Half, and 2) the finish time can be used to place me in an appropriate corral for the Half. Of yeah, and the swag for this race includes the coolest Black Wind Running Jacket!

So now that makes my race schedule as follows:

  • August: Windrunner 10K
  • October: Chicago AIDS 5K
  • November: Hot Chocolate 15K & Schaumburg 5K Turkey Trot
  • January 2012: Disney 5K & Half Marathon

What a great day!


Race Report: Finished the Rock-n-Roll 5K (and set a new PR to boot)

This morning was the big day! So of course, I woke up at 3AM with no chance that I was going to go back to sleep. So I languished in the bed awake for a while before finally getting up and preparing for the event. I had set everything I needed to bring/wear out Saturday morning so I wouldn't have to worry about forgetting anything.

After a light breakfast of juice, cereal, and a soy burger (gotta have some protein), It was time for me to make the drive down to Chicago to Montrose Harbor -- a good 1 1/4 hours away. I got there about 6:30AM and proceeded to do some walking around to check out the area, the route, and see if I could find my friend Mike Rice, who was going to also be running the race. Luckily, he found me. The harbor park was very nice, and pretty busy.

Mike ran into one of his buddies and introductions insued. Then guess who came by to visit -- John "The Penguin" Bingham! How cool was that!? John and Mike are friends from previous races so Mike introduced me and John was very gracious and friendly. Agreed to pose for a photo and gave me some encouraging words for the race. Already, my day was 'made'!

After warming up, Mike and I took our places in the crowd a few minutes before the race began. Since there were no corrals or pace markers, it was just a herd of 1300+ people. So I took a slot in the rear third of the group, figuring most people would be faster than me. Met some nice folks while we were waiting. Then they played the Star Spangled Banner and the race was off!

The first Mile was pretty strong and running along Lake Michigan in a green park was nice. I was running at a 10:30 pace and watching people running passed me on all sides. Oh well, I knew I was not going to be one of the speedsters. The weather was cooperating (it was supposed to rain) at a comfortable 65 degrees. I was feeling confident but the voice in my head was saying "Am I ready to play in this game for real?". Running with 1300+ people is a little intimidating -- not like running in the Weight Watchers 5K which was only around 350-450 people.

During the second Mile, I still felt pretty strong and my heart rate was still in Zone 3 -- so far, so good! I passed several baseball and soccer games in progress in the park, and negotiated around bikers who were sharing the path with all of us. Thankfully, the bikers were respectful and gave us a lot of room. I almost got tripped up by a child runner who decided without warning to cross in front of me. Close call but no harm, no foul.

It was during Mile 3 that I starting feeling a little tired. My heart rate was in Zone 4 by this point so I was slowing down a little bit to keep it in the low range of Zone 4. But I never stopped running -- no walking was a goal for this race. But I could feel the end was near and I wanted to finish strong. When I rounded the corner for the last 1/3 mile to the Finish, I saw Mike Rice there, cheering me on! That gave me a little push and I went for it. And what was even cooler, was that John Bingham was at the Finish Line with a microphone calling the runners home. When he saw me, he announced my name and said "Looking Strong Richard" or something like that. I am not going to lie, that was Awesome!

I FINISHED! And it felt fantastic! I received my Finishers Medal and Flip Flops, and got some welcome water and food (banana, hummus, and chips). Then Mike and I went over to grab our celebratory beer (after we showed our photo IDs, go figure) and talked about the race.

This was an amazing experience! I have never seen a race before so watching how the whole thing is set up -- the vendors, the volunteers, the entertainment, and the camaraderie between all the runners was awesome. My official results? I ran the race in 36:02 minutes at a 11:36 pace (and burned 660 calories in the process)! I beat all of my personal goals for this race -- I beat my previous PR time os 38:20 by over 2 minutes, I ran a fast pace (for me, at least), and I had a ton of fun!

On the way back to my car, I ran into John Bingham. He remembered me and came over to congratulate me on running a strong race and hoped that I would keep it up! Of course, I am going to do exactly that!