Saturday, November 2, 2013

Through the Woods 5K RR

What: Through the Woods 5K
When: Saturday, November 2, 2013
Where: Parkville Nature Sanctuary, Parkville, MO
Weather: 44F and breezy
Goal: Beat last year's time of 29:32
Finish: 27:40
Placement: 3rd overall

Past week:
I participated in a 24 hour event on October 26th and finished 50.5 miles . I had several aches and pains during the event, but seemed to recover fairly well. I never had any issues walking up/down stairs. I had planned on running Wed/Thurs, but decided I better play it safe and take more time off due the aches/pains encountered during the event. I didn't run until the day of the race.

Race day:
I decided I wanted to get a run in before the race so I did a 4 mile run around a local park. It went well and I averaged roughly 8:45/mile.  I felt pretty good, but could definitely tell my legs had no spring to their step. Since the 5K was billed as a fun run and was only going to give medals to the top three males and top three females, I figured I had no shot at an award.

This was a small race, but it looked like there were some fast people there. I still suspected I'd finish around the middle of the pack.I stayed in my car until about 30 minutes before the start of the race. At that time, I started mingling with some friends and getting use to the weather. With the breeze it was a little chilly, but still nice enough for shorts and a t-shirt.

Since nobody was eating any of the provided cinnamon rolls, I decided to eat one about 15 minutes prior to the start of the race. At about 10:00 we lined up and the announcements began. I figured people would line up on the starting line so I lined up about five feet back. To my surprise, the majority of the people lined up after me. Mark that as odd feeling number one.

The race started and one of my friends took the lead for about the first 200 meters or so. I soon found myself leading the race. Me, leading a race, mark this as odd feeling number two. I decided to push a bit and see how the race played out.

I was expecting several people to come rushing past me. I was finally passed by the first person near the half mile point. I suddenly had a sense of relief and the pressure was off. My legs still had no pep, but I kept pace with the guy for a while. There was a large hill during the first mile and I walked portions of it to conserve energy. During my walking breaks, the guy in first would pull ahead, but I would catch up during the flatter sections. I was expecting someone to pass me during the walk breaks, but it didn't happen. After cresting the hill, we turned right and started to run an out and back section. The end of the first mile came at about the halfway point on the way out. I ran Mile 1 in 9:28.

During Mile 2, we finished the out and back section and I was able to see my nearest competitors. They were looking strong, but still a ways back. However, I was fading. I decided to start running for placement and not time. As such, I allowed myself to walk the hills. It was shocking when nobody passed me during my walk breaks. I could feel myself fading, but still tried to push. I finished Mile 2 in 8:45.

Mile 3 started shortly after finishing the out and back section. My legs weren't getting tired, they just lacked pep. It was my breathing that was really hindering me during this race. My breathing was getting ragged. I still tried to push, but now I had a pursuer. He was running strong and closing fast. He finally passed me at about the 2.5 mile point. I kept him within striking distance, but felt that 3rd place was secure and decided to run smart and at least keep my lock on 3rd. We made it to my favorite section of the trail, a rocky descent. I normally just run down this section with reckless abandon. Today I was more careful, but still ran down it quickly. I thought about passing for 2nd, but ultimately pulled up as I almost stepped on the 2nd place runner's heels. He definitely knew I was there at that point. He picked up the pace after turning from the downhill and I decided to let him go. I knew I didn't have the energy to catch him and I didn't know if the runner behind me was closing or not. I finished Mile 3 in 8:15. The last 0.18 was run at a surprising 6:40 pace as I finished it in 1:12.

I actually finished a race in 3rd place, this was odd feeling number three. I was spent, but ecstatic. I beat my time from last year by nearly two minutes and finished 3rd overall! For finishing in the top three males, I received a 3rd place medal, a $15 gift certificate for Road ID, a bag that stows in your pocket but can carry 25 pounds of goods, and a plastic, collapsible water bottle.

I am glad I decided to register for this race. I had brought my camera to get pictures of the course, but since I decided to race it, the camera wasn't used. Since the blog post needed pictures, I took pictures of the awards.

Front of the medal

Back of the medal

The bag that was given as a prize

The plastic water bottle that was given as a prize.
Now it's time to rest up and try to decide what I want to do next. Likely I'll just be training for the Alternate Chili Run in December.


  1. Another outstanding effort, never under estimate your skill, Ya done good son!

  2. jblackjr from RA - Great race, it does feel odd when you place like that, I had a race a few months back where I placed 2nd in my AG and I was all like "no way that should have happened." Regardless though, it does feel pretty awesome!