Where: Overland Park, KS
Why: in honor of NicoleHasFeet's nephew Ethan
Dew Point: 74F
Goal: Sub-8:00 avg pace
Finish: 24:30 (Garmin time)
Official Results: 24:26; AG - 7/58; OA - 46/500
How many times has it been said to "try nothing new on race day"? Yep, I can't count that high either. So what do I do, I go out and run 2 miles as a warm-up thinking it will help. Normally, I walk around to get the blood flowing, not run. So did it hurt my performance, who knows for sure, but I think it did. Don't get me wrong, I met my goal and am happy with my performance. I just believe I could have done better. Granted, the conditions didn't really set me up for a great performance anyway.
Before I go any further, I ran this race in honor of Ethan. Ethan is NicoleHasFeet's (RWOL) nephew that passed away from SIDS a little over three years ago. She had a thread on RWOL for the three year anniversary in which a lot of runners dedicated their mileage that day to Ethan. I was given the go ahead to run this race in his honor. I believe this allowed me to dig down deep for the third mile and actually find a kick for the last 1/4 to 1/3 of a mile.
Now back to the originally scheduled account of the race. Since I wanted to do the best I could in this race, I figured I try to do a proper warm-up. After all, the majority of the experienced and faster runners on this board have talked about running a few miles to warm-up for a 5K. This is where I mad a major newbie mistake. Just because it works for them does not mean it will work for me. Plus, I think I ran the 2nd mile too fast (8:45 pace).
After the warm-up run I had about 15 minutes to stretch and relax before the start of the race. I went to start, lined up, and snapped a couple of pics.
Facing the starting mats. Just look at that sun.
Facing behind me.
The race ended up starting about 10 minutes late. Finally the National Anthem was sun and we were off!
I felt pretty good during the first mile. It started with a gentle downhill which I think prompted my second newbie mistake. I started out too fast. Even though I felt like I was running easy, I knew that the 6:40 avg pace at the 1/2 mile point would come back to bite me in the a$$. I forced myself to slow down, aided by a gentle incline, and finished mile 1 in 7:21. I did manage to snap a few pics during this mile.
Just after the start.
About 1/3 through the first mile
Pretty much the only brief point of shade on the course!
Mile 2 was mostly flat and we had are first water station about 0.1 miles into it. I grabbed the water, walked about 10 steps to drink it, then got back to it. By this point, the sun was really beating down and I could feel the heat. It felt as if I was cooking and I don't mean my pace. About 1/2 mile through I made the decision to walk and try to lower my heart rate. Well it didn't work. Yes my heart rate lowered, but since it was still at 177bpm when my avg pace reached 7:35, I decided to pick it back up. I didn't feel like I had much left in the tank. Even though I was running, my pace kept dropping. Between the heat, humidity, and my newbie mistakes I started to let doubt creep in my mind. I doubted that I could hold my slower pace for the remainder of the race. I doubted that I would reach my goal. Heck, I just plain started to doubt my running ability. Yep, you guessed it, I started walking again. I probably walked for abou 30-45 seconds. Way too much for a 5K. I started thinking back to why I was running this race. I couldn't let Nicole and Ethan down. I took stock of how I was feeling. Yes I was hot and miserable. Yes my heart rate was still up there after walking. BUT, I could still run and meet my goal. With Ethan in my thoughts, I started running again. I saw my avg pace start to lower, but I was still hurting. I told myself "there is about 1.25 miles to go and you better finish strong!" I completed mile 2 in 8:29 and managed to snap the following pic along the way:
Near the start of mile 2. Notice what's missing..that's right, SHADE.
Mile 3 started with me trying to push the pace. I knew it was time to dig down deep and keep going. The faster I finished, the faster I could drink cold water and get rid of the dry mouth I had going on. I had to focus on nothing but the race and why I was running it in order to prevent myself from walking again. It worked. I started picking up the pace even more at the 2.75 mile point. It felt good passing people who had passed me during my walk breaks. I finished mile 3 in 7:46.
I was told by a runner that already finished that we had one turn left and then straight to the finish. I saw a couple of guys up ahead that could have been in my age group. I gave it all I had. I past the first guy no problem, but the 2nd guy looked back and saw me closing. He picked up the pace. I tried, but it felt like I was standing still. He managed to put a little distance between us and finished about 5 seconds before me. According to the garmin, I finished the last 0.15 miles at a 5:45 pace. I honestly don't know where that came from.
Let me tell you, I was SPENT! Then I was quickly stopped by a volunteer to remove my timing chip. It felt like she was taking forever to open the safety pin and remove the tag. In reality, it was probably only about 10-15 seconds. I wanted nothing more but to lay down. I forced myself to walk around and go get some food/water. They had orange slices and bananas and ice cold water!
After walking around for a bit I snapped a couple pictures of the crowd.
Facing toward the finish line (blue balloon arch)
Facing toward the food canopy
I waited around for a bit to see the awards and wouldn't you know it, I won a random drawing for a 25$ gift certificate to Bangkok Pavilion, a Thai restaurant. Never been there, but I will use the gift certificate.
If you made it this far, thanks for putting up with my lengthy rambling.