Sunday, August 29, 2010

Head for the Cure 5K RR

I don't have the official results yet, but will update when I get them.

Temp: 80F
Finish: 22:16 (new PR)


Pre-Race Routine:
Unlike yesterday, I actually had mile for my cereal this morning. Everything was going well. I made I left at 6:00 to make it to the race location around 6:30 to give me approximately 30 minutes to go through race prep. THIS is where things went wrong. I don't know why I THOUGHT the race started at 7:00 because it really started at 8:00. Oh well, not much I can do about it now so I just walked around a lot to pass the time and serve as a warm-up.

Since the race was started later than I thought, at about 7:30 I took a pack of Honey Stingerz just in case. Yes, it was probably more of a mental boost to me than anything else.

Since I had the time, I snapped some photos while walking around.

Just a portion of the participants. It was announced we had over 4500 people register.

The food area.

Race Time:
I see people lining up so I decided to head that direction. We had 10 minutes until race time, but figured it couldn't hurt. At 8:00, they announced the race would be starting in another 10 minutes. I figured I might as well snap some pictures:

Facing behind me

facing forward.

It was nearing time. A young girl sang the National Anthem, and did quite well. A priest said a short prayer and then we were off.

As we were going, a guy came up and said he heard me talking about shooting for a 23:xx and asked if I mind if he paced along. Of course I said I didn't mind since I figured it would help me stick to a decent pace as well.

It didn't take long for me to pick out a rabbit to follow. A gal in red shorts passed by and she looked like she was a strong runner so she became the rabbit. Plus, she had great legs so that was a bonus.

I managed to snap a few pics, but they aren't the greatest.

About a minute into the race.

Halfway through the mile with the rabbit out in front.

Garmin had me at a 7:14 pace for the mile so I'm guessing the mile marker was off (I forgot to check). OK, I didn't forget to check, I just wanted to think I was running faster.

Mile two had a gentle incline during it and I was feeling the affects of going out a bit fast. It was getting tough. I was thankful for the rabbit and my pacer.

The water stop was at close the halfway point so I grabbed some water, drank what I could while running, and kept going. I decided to slow down a bit so I didn't blow-up too much during the final mile. As mile 2 drew to a close the guy pacing with me started to pull ahead slightly. My rabbit pulled ahead as well.

I managed to snap a few pics during mile 2.

About a 1/4 mile into mile 2. Rabbit still ahead and in sight.

About halfway through the mile. The guy in the blue shirt is blocking the view of the rabbit. She did pull further ahead during the water station.

The guy in the light blue shirt was the dude pacing with me. Garmin time was 14:31.

Mile three had another gradual incline and I could feel it wearing on me. I knew at this point that it I could hold on and not slow down too much my goal of a sub-23 would be reached.

I only took one picture during this mile because I was focusing on not losing the mental battle and giving into the urge to walk. I lost sight of my Rabbit, but had two guys who decided to make a race of it.

One guy was wearing a K-State shirt and he didn't like it when I passed him at the 2.5 mile point. He stayed close behind me, but I think I finally broke him when I powered up the incline.

The other guy was more persistent. I could tell he was always on my heels from his heavy breathing. He pulled ahead of me just after the 2.5 mile point and that just drove me nuts. I could NOT let this guy finish before me.

I stayed close behind him and when we had about 0.6 miles remaining I made my move. I picked up the pace and passed him. I could tell he didn't like that much as he picked up the pace as well. I already knew that I had won this battle. Although I was struggling, I didn't let it show. This guy was breathing hard and obviously having a tough time. He managed to pull even with me and that was all the motivation I needed to dig a bit deeper and find another gear. It was then that I sensed he was done.

The balloon arch marking the start/finish line started to appear. What else did I see, that's right, the Rabbit! I mustered everything I had drove hard to the finish. It didn't hurt that is was on a gentle downhill. I managed to pass the Rabbit with about 50 yards remaining.

Here is the one picture I took during mile three. The guy in front of me was the one I battled with for a while.

I didn't see what the clock said when I finished and stopped my Garmin a bit late. After the finish I let the volunteer know that I needed to walk around a bit before they cut my timing chip off. It was all I could do to remain standing. I was SPENT! But I set a new PR and was very HAPPY!

I finally made it back to the volunteer and had my timing chip cut off. I thanked my Rabbit for pushing me during the race. I thanked the guy in the picture above for the challenge and motivation and we congratulated each other on a good race. The guy that was pacing with me finished about 5-10 seconds ahead of me. He thanked me for pacing him for the first couple of miles and getting him set up for a sub-23 time. I thanked him for pulling me along after mile 2.

All in all, it was a good race. I do believe that with a bit better pacing I could have possibly went sub-22. As it is I better my old PR by over 1:30 without doing any formal speedwork. Instead I've been running consistently and have lost 25 pounds since May. Bring on the 10K next month, I think I'm ready for my sub-50!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the RR and pics.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mud and Muck Run 5K

When: August 28, 2010
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Temp: 75F
Finish: 25:xx

This is my second time running this race. I planned on taking it easy since I have another 5K tomorrow morning. I still managed to finish a little faster than last year even though it seems like they lengthened and added more hills to the course.

Morning Routine:
Everything was going good this morning. I woke up to my alarm, showered to wake up, and drank my coffee. Then I went to make my pre-race bowl of cereal for breakfast, but come to find out I forgot to pick-up milk yesterday as I had planned. Oh well, honey nut cheerios taste good without milk. I had plenty of time to relax before having to leave for a race so I decided to watch the movie 13 Ghosts. Not necessarily race inspiring, but a decent movie nonetheless.

Before the Race:
I arrive at the race location with plenty of time to walk around and stretch before the race started. I snapped a few pics of the crowd and start/finish areas.

People starting to arrive

Fire tucks arrived to let the kids have a tour of them

Starting line

Finish Line

Then it was time to go and line up. There were quite a few people in costumes so I tried to get pics of some of them.

There were a lot of people in colorful outfits like the gal in this picture.

The RD said a few words then started the count down and we were off! The race starts with a short paved section and then starts down a dirt/gravel road for the rest of the race. The next pics will give you a general idea of what the majority of the course looked like.

Shortly after the start

First gravel section. A gradual incline that's not too evident in this picture.

At the top of a hill. Unfortunately I didn't get a pic of the hill.

One of several tree-lined areas.

The course also had a couple of obstacles other than the mud pit. My pictures of the obstacles didn't turn out very well, but here they are.

You can't really tell, but the gravel mound on the upper left side of the picture was one of a series of three gravel piles that were dubbed the "rolling hills" of the course. Yes, I ran up and down all three so I guess I got in my hill sprints during the race.

The orange barrier fence up ahead was the first of a series of three in the "low-crawl" part of the course.

Overall it was a very fun course, but there was one hill that had a lot of people walking. Everyone that I passed on that hill stayed behind me the rest of the race! The next couple of pics show the hill after I had already ran down/up it.

The aid station was at the bottom of the hill.

After the hill we run an out and back along a levee. This pic was during the "back" section.

The lake on the other side of the levee.

After that hill was a nice flat section, then we ran up another incline and finally made it to the mud pit. They mentioned there being a mudslide, well it was a mud mound in front of the pit with no real "slide" to be seen. A little bit of a disappointment.

The mud pit was actually deep, thick, shoe-sucking mud this time. I debated taping my shoes to my feet, but since it was just muddy water last year I decided against it. My first step I start to pull my right foot up and the shoe starts slipping off my foot. I plunge my hand down in the deep mud and pull my shoe out of the mud. I continue walking and it was tough going. I decided to fall into the mud and crawl on top of it while carrying my shoe in one hand and my camera in the other. I'm sure they will have pics so I'll post them when they become available.

I finally make it out of the mud pit and continue on my way running/trudging along covered in mud, my right shoe in my hand, my sock almost coming off. I must have looked strange, but I couldn't put my shoe back on since it was filled with mud. Even running with 1 shoe, I still managed to pass people and not get passed. I crossed the finish line in 25:xx and received a coffee mug for being one of the first 300 finishers.

I made my way over to the clean-up area and someone was nice enough to snap a picture of me before I washed up.

As you can see, I had FUN!

The following pics are of the clean-up areas.

After getting cleaned up, I had some of the post race goodies. They had a decent little spread consisting of hotdogs, chips, chili, milk, water, and sodas.

All in all it was good fun and a good way to stretch out the legs before the 5K tomorrow.

I warned you it was going to be very long! Now go get yourself a beer for making it through it, you earned it.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the pics.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Psych Night 10K Trail Race - RR

What: Psych Night 10K Trail Race
Where: Wyandotte County Lake Park, Kansas City, Kansas
When: August 6th, 2010 @ 8:15 p.m.
Temp: 87F with dew point of 62F
Finish Time: 1:14:12
Place: 61/108?

Unlike my norm, I'm going to post the majority of pics first and then get on to the race. OK, the real reason is I only have 1 pic taken during the start of the race, the rest were taken prior to the start. These first few pics will give you a glimpse of what the surrounding area looks like.

Facing the start. We cross the ditch and head up to the white sign in the distance, then cut left and hit the trails.

The crowd about 20 minutes before the start

About 10 minutes after the above photo we received some comments from the RD, "Bad Ben." Below are just a couple of the tidbits:
  • the trail does have poison ivy near it. For those who don't know what it looks like, just remember "leaves of three, don't wipe with me"
  • Please don't litter..there are well trained snipers just waiting to take you out if you throw trash on the ground.
He had some more good ones, but I can't remember them.

So I guess since this is an RR, I should get on to the race. Since this was only my 2nd trail race and my 1st night trail race, my only goal was to have fun and not get knocked out by a tree. I am happy to report that I accomplished both goals!

Since I didn't know what to expect, I lined up toward the back 1/3 of the pack. It was about the right spot. We get the short countdown and we're off! I hurdle the creek, follow the crowd and start realizing that I am in for a tough, hilly race. We reach the sign, cut into the trail, and I tried to take a picture. Here is the failed result:

After this picture I realized it wasn't going to be worth trying to take pics. So I put the camera away and focused on the trail. I doubt I would have been able to safely take pics while running this race. There where sharp turns, plenty of roots, sections of large, loose, angled rocks, slippery and deep sections of mud, low tree branches, and some logs laying across the trail.

It took about 20 minutes before I needed to turn on my head lamp, that's when it started to get really interesting. It seemed like I was running a lot faster than I was actually going. There were some sections of trail that I slowed down and even walked (mostly uphill) because I almost twisted my ankle several times. I did tweak my left forefoot and it felt like the right half of the foot bent toward the left side. The foot feels fine now.

I could probably have used some trail shoes instead of my older Mizuno Wave Inspires. I think my shoes were too flexible in the forefoot for the technical nature of the trail.

At this time, I must give MAJOR PROPS to everyone who races long distances on trails. This 10K was quite hilly and tough, it definitely took its toll on me. It was soooo much FUN though! It reinforced that I need to run on trails more often.

OK, back to the RR. For most of the race I was following fairly close to others and saw their mishaps in the mud. Learning from their missteps, I went along the edges of the mud. The mud wouldn't have been bad, except it was as slippery as ice. Now from mile 4 to 5, I couldn't see any runners around me. Talk about a strange, but exhilarating feeling running through the woods at night, with nobody else around. I LOVED it! I was able to hear some great-horned owls off in the distance, tree frogs in certain sections of the trail, and eyes looking at me from the branches (raccoons). I did walk a bit more during this section, just to be sure I was still heading the right direction. Thankfully the trail was well marked with bright pink flags so I didn't get lost.

I would highly recommend this race to anyone near the Kansas City area. First, it's only $8. Second, a great group of people. Third, it's an awesome, challenging course. Fourth, free photos will be posted on the web for us to download. Did I mention that it was only $8!

Speaking of the free pics, they became available as I was typing this so here they are.

I'm, the dude in the yellow shirt in the background.

I was caught as I was slipping in the mud.

Having fun.

Running through the water.

I better stop all this rambling. Thank you for taking the time to read this report. If you haven't ran a trail race yet, I highly recommend it!