Sunday, September 13, 2009

Champions


We had two 5K's this weekend. Yesterday was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. This is our third year running this event and there were definitely some positives and negatives compared to previous years.

On the positive side, this was the first year it wasn't raining for the event. It was in the mid-sixties and mostly sunny at race time. They seem to change the course every year and this year was by far the easiest. It was much flatter than in years past, but still had the rough hill at the end that we get every year. The hill was the same as two years ago, though, and not the total killer hill of last year. And it wasn't right at the end but came before the mile 3 marker.

On the negative side, this is the first year they did chip timing (but only if you paid extra for it). The problem is that they didn't do a good job of communicating that they were going to start the timed runners before the non-timed runners. As we waited for the race start, they kept announcing, "5k runners - those with the blue bib - will start in five minutes. 5k walkers - those with the white bib - will start in 20 minutes." There were many people, like us, who looked down and thought...I'm running and have a white bib. Guess I'll just go with the runners. But that wasn't what was intended. Luckily it didn't affect us at all, but looking back the announcement should have said "5k walkers and runners with white bibs will start later." Hopefully none us white-bib people held up the blue bib runners.

I paced very well. My mile splits were 8:08 and 16:06, with an overall time of 24:56 -- my second best race ever. Kristin finished right at the 34 minute mark.

Overall, this is a great event every year. I look forward to going back next year.

Today's race was the Buckeye 5K at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There were both a 5k and a half marathon. It is a small event, and many more people run the half than the 5k. Results are not posted online yet, so I'm not sure how many actually participated.

The course was a great 5k course. Not totally flat but all the hills were nice rolling rises and falls. Nothing steep. It was an out-and-back which is not my favorite, but it was still really good. The weather was in the mid-fifties, mostly sunny.

I felt terrible as the race started. I'm not accustomed to running two days in a row, so I was very tight. The first mile was very rough. Finishing mile 2, I felt better, but just didn't have any steam. I felt I was getting slower and slower as the race went on.

Finishing the race involved turning off the road and into a park. You couldn't see the finish line until there was less than a tenth of a mile left. When I rounded the corner, I expected to see the clock at 25 or 26 minutes. But it was at 23. I shook my head, looked again, then finally believed my eyes. I was on the verge of a new personal best -- at least as long as it wasn't about to flip to 24. But it was just past 23. At that point, I wanted to cross ahead of 23:30, so I turned on the speed and got across at 23:27. A new personal best.

Kristin had met up with a coworker there (plus there were some friends of ours and a coworker of mine running the half). This was her coworker's first race. She was nervous about her pacing and worried she wouldn't do well since she normally runs about 11 minute pace around her neighborhood. After I had passed the loop, I passed Chris and Kristin running pretty close together. I was nearing the 2 mile mark and they were past the one mile mark.

After I finished I was anxiously awaiting them. Chris finished at about 28:30. I turned to watch for Kristin and she came around the corner just past 29. I know she's been hoping for a sub-30 5k and all I could do was clench my fists, start at the clock nervously, and cheer her on as she approached the finish. She finished at 29:56. A personal best for her.

At the awards ceremony, Kristin got second in her division (25-29) of about six girls. Chris got first in hers (which was either the 30 or 35 division -- I forget which). And I was the only competitor in mine, so I got first. But there were about 8 runners between 19 and 34, and I got second among them. We all were surprised to get our trophies. It was such fun. Maybe the secret to success is to have less competition...

On the training front, I was supposed to put in a 7-mile run this weekend in preparation for the Akron Marathon Relay. I am running the 7.9 mile leg. But with the two 5k's that didn't happen. The plan is to get the 7-miler on Tuesday, a short run Thursday, then an 8-miler on the weekend. I am way behind in training. I am only going to get the one 8-miler in before the race which is now less than two weeks away.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Super fast time Craig, great job! Craig-Speed in the hzzzouse! Wish I could train on the shorter/faster races right now to get my times down, but gotta focus on the marathon effort... I think you have set the bar though (ahem, even though I'm like 5 years older, lol!)

Keep up the great work and best of luck on the relay!