Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lake Forest 5K

I ran in the 14th Annual Lake Forest Fourth of July 5K this year. Even though it's only 3.1 miles there is something so fulfilling about running in an actual race, you know, as opposed to just doing 3+ miles on the streets around your house on any given day. I highly recommend registering for a race, paying the fee, putting on the bib, and getting in there with the pack! It's quite an experience!
This past 07-04-08 was actually the fifth 5K I've run in. Going in, even though I didn't tell anyone, I had it in my mind that I was going to run under 21 minutes. I was really counting on it. I've never ran that pace for three miles. That was my goal.
As I approached the the first mile marker I could hear the woman with the stopwatch yelling, "five fifty-five, five fifty-six, five fifty-seven . . . " and when I hit mile one it was exactly six minutes. I was thinking, "6.0 minutes, cool!" And, "If I keep up this pace I will have to call 9-1-1 at the finish!" Alas, I couldn't sustain it for three miles. I knew that too because I had done some speed work at a local track and I knew I couldn't sustain that pace. Why did I go out of the gate so fast? Well, it is the energy of the crowd. It seems no matter how much I tell myself, "I'm going out slower, an over eight minute pace for mile one, then I'll kick-it on the last two miles," I just can't seem to reign it in when it's an official race that I paid for.
Without making a choice to, I slowed down over the next two miles. One of the cool things about a race is the human interaction. See that younger guy in the foreground of the photo, the one with the iPod and number 407 on his bib? That's Matthew, age 13. Matthew and I were really pushing each other during the last mile. We kept passing each other and encouraging one another. He'd tell me I was doing well, I'd pass him and yell back, "Dig deep" or something like that. He'd pass me and say, "Don't give up" or something nice. At one point, he fell behind and was saying in my ear, "This is hell. I can't do it." I told him, "Push it, finish strong," and he would pass me again. In the end the thirteen year old crossed the finish line before me. I was giving it everything I had and he still beat me. But, not for him, my time wouldn't have been as fast. I love the camaraderie of running.
As much as I tried, when the official results came in, I didn't reach my race goal! My time ended up being 21:02.61, actually just about only three seconds over my goal! Darn. What was worse was at the race site they had my time just under my goal, but when it was adjusted and put on-line, I finished shy. What I really don't get about the results is it says I had a 6:48 pace, but wouldn't an "under seven minute mile pace" come out to less than 21 minutes? I'm so confused! Nevertheless, overall, 21:03 means I finished 66th out of 1,264 people. I was 5th in my age division. Not bad, right?
But, speaking of my age division, of course, I end up looking over the total results and I notice that this dude I know from my kids' swim team (who happens to be 39 years old like me) finished in 19:09! Amazing! Something to shoot for also. Just when I thought I was doing great too. It reminds me of the Ben Folds song, "There's always someone cooler than you!"
All-in-all, It really felt terrific to race and push myself. Even though I was unable to break 21 seconds, it was a PR for me and that's something to be proud of. I think I really like running. Or, maybe I hate it. No, I guess I love it.



Anonymous matt said...

Great job, dude!! That is awsome time considering how old YOU are. :-) I started doing a little bit of trail running myself. I mostly run the flat or downhill parts but there is one steep part that I must charge. At the top my heart feels like it's gonna explode but I do it everytime. I think the whole route I take is a little less than 4 miles. I usually clock out at around 40 min. There is a nice feeling of accomplishment when I'm done. Anyway, great job. Keep it up!

7:56 PM  

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