Entries in Races (18)


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!


Race Report: Weight Watchers 5K Walk/Run was a fun race (and a "PR" to boot)!

The day I have been waiting for all week is here! The Weight Watchers 5K WalkIt race! I was so excited about it, I found it hard to fall asleep Saturday night. I woke up Sunday at 5am wide awake (I had multiple alarms set so I wouldn't oversleep). I washed up, got dressed (everything was laid out last night), and ate breakfast (cereal, milk, greek yogurt). Then I waited until it was time to leave.

I got there about an hour early to get my bib, goodie bag of stuff, and my tech shirt (I was a good runner -- no wearing the tech shirt until after you finish). The race was located at a local high school track where it started, and then snaked through the neighborhood, skirting a golf course, and back to the track for a 'once around' before the finish line. Nice route, very visually interesting.

Before the start, I hung out with my running buddy Pam and her husband. I took a warm-up walk around the track and then we headed to the starting line. I lined up in the second line of runners so I wouldn't be behind all the walkers. It looked like we had about 350 people for the event. The weather forecast was thunderstorms all week for today, but God answered my prayers and we had nothing but sun and blue skies, with a breeze and a temp of 78 degrees. It couldn't have been better!

I started off at a faster pace than I had planned -- adrenaline I guess. My first interval lasted 5 minutes (instead of 4) at a 12:00 pace (my first run interval went for 1/2 mile). I had intended to do 4:1 intervals at 13:00 pace to begin with and slowly increase my pace to 12:00 at the halfway point. Well, my excitement made that kinda difficult! Plus, I felt great and the body wanted to run. I did my 4:1 intervals after that, but my pace pretty much stayed at 12:00, occasionally a little faster.

At the 1.5 mile marker, there was a nice hill to deal with. I was just starting a run interval and I was determined to make it up the hill running. I DID IT! I finished the 4 minutes and enjoyed the fact that my 1 minute walk interval was going downhill! After that, there were only a few slight inclines for the remainder of the race. No problem there.

At the 2 mile marker, I was 24 minutes into the run. I was really pleased with that! I figured I would definitely finish faster than my last 5K (42:41) if I could keep the pace. Whoever said that running is more 'mental' than physical wasn't joking! I had to keep my mind on positive, encouraging thoughts!

At the last mile, I was getting a little tired so I increased my walk interval to between 1-2 minutes to get my heart rate down a bit lower. But I ended the race strong, running my last interval to the finish line at a 10:45 pace (that was only for about 1:15 minutes)! My Polar clocked me in at 38:28!! I was shocked at cutting my time down by almost 4 minutes! A new PR (personal record)!!!!

At the end, I took another walk on the track to cool down and met up with my daughter and son who came to see me finish the race. It was so nice to have them there at the end! I got some Powerade and a banana and hung out waiting for the results with them and Pam. I felt pretty good, not at all exhausted, just a bit tired. But the snacks helped bring back some energy.

We stayed for the awards, even though neither Pam or I thought we would actually win any of the medals. We just wanted our official times (38:20 by the way). So they announced the male winners first, by age group. We clapped for each name mentioned as they went through the ages. When they got to ages 50-59, they announced the 3rd place winner, and then they read MY NAME for 2nd Place! I was like 'Seriously?'! So I got my medal and the kids were all smiling! What a great feeling! Then when they announced the female winners, my friend Pam got 3rd Place! So of course, we were really jazzed about it!

I had decided to treat myself to a massage after the race, so at 2:15pm I enjoyed a full 50-minute deep tissue massage. It was amazing! A fit way to end that day -- no more lactic acid in those muscles!

So my first official run was really a major moment for me. I achieved my goals and beyond. And I proved to myself that I can actually run a race and complete it! The sense of personal achievement is hard to describe but oh so satisfying.

I want to thank those of you who have given me so much support, advice, and encouragement the past two months. It has meant so very much to me and I love you all! Especially Beth, Meghan, Pam, and my family!

Bring on the Rock-n-Roll 5K in June! I guess I will have to set new goals for that race now...

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