Sunday, March 25, 2007

Need for Speed IV: 5k Edition

Saturday was the Food and Fitness 5k in East Lansing. I used this as my weekly speed work-out hence the title of this post.

It was a pretty exciting morning for us. My daughter was running her first organized race ever - a 100 yard dash. My son was participating in the 1/2 mile race. He has plans for his first 5k later this summer.

My daughter was incredibly excited all week. She was convinced that she was going to win her race. We tried to temper her expectations without dousing her competitive spirit but this was a losing proposition. She's bullheaded and she had no other expectation except to win.

Which lead to a major disappointment and a weekend lost to trying to reflate the ego.

But first things first. Here we are "warming up" for our big race.

She confidently strode to the start line even waving off my offer to run with her like the other parents were doing with their kids.

After a brief delay, the horn sounded and they were off. That's when disaster struck. She took a few strides and then paused a moment unsure if she should go or not (I chalk this up to first race jitters and, of course, age). This pause led to a child behind her running up the back of her leg. You can see the incident captured on film below. Note her left leg turned awkwardly. This was the beginning of the fall that ended with 3 kids lying in a heap on the concrete.

At this point, my daughter became immediately discouraged. Tears were shed, knees were scraped, clothes were wet and she wanted to quit. After some encouragement, she rose again and took off like a shot passing many of the kids who had streamed by her as she lay confused and disappointed on the ground. In the end, she made her way close to the front but, alas, did not win.

Post-race, she was very discouraged. My wife and I spent the rest of the day on Saturday convincing her that this was just a one time fluke and that her next race would go much smoother. God help us, I hope we don't end up looking like liars!

Meanwhile, my son completed the 1/2 mile run intact with no spills, scrapes or tears. He finished 3rd and was very pleased with himself. The kids who beat him were at least a year or two older. He's looking forward to running a 5k now.

As for me, the 5k was an enjoyable experience. It has been since July 2004 that I last ran a race at this distance. I was hoping to do 6:45 per mile and beat 20:50 overall. In the end, I surpassed each of those goals.

Mile 1 was flat and fast. I tried to get out quick in front of the throngs of people to create a little separation before pulling back a little. Mile 2 was a mix of flat sidewalk and a 1/2 mile jaunt up a gently sloping off road trail. I have to say, it was a lot of fun jumping over roots and swerving past leaning branches. Mile 3 was, basically, on the same sidewalk as Mile 1 as this was a down and back course. I was getting pretty winded at about 2.25 miles but just kept my eyes on the small group of people about 15 seconds ahead of me and tried to gain ground. Ultimately, I could not catch the group in front of me but I think they kept my mind preoccupied enough and legs turning quickly to end the race at a good pace.

It once took me 3 years of trying to beat 20 minutes at this distance. When I finally did, I never ran a 5k again until Saturday. I am very pleased to come in at 19:53. I never expected to challenge the 20 minute mark on this day considering I do very little training suitable for this distance. The long distance runs have helped. Three miles seems like nothing anymore.

Mile 1 6:14
Mile 2 6:28
Mile 3 6:30
.11 miles 41 seconds

Here is the three of us after our respective races...pleased and wearing our bling.

We're number 2!! We're number 2!!

That is, I finished 2nd in my age group and 28th overall of 641 finishers. I suspect this race isn't very popular for the top runners considering those results. Anyhow, it netted me a decent little silver medal to bury away in my bedroom drawer. Cool.

Sunday: An easy 11 miler at 7:40 pace.


L*I*S*A said...

Excellent job, and way cute kids!!

Russ said...

great job! you too with the sub20...and i'm not sure how easy 11 miles and 7:40 pace ever belong in the same sentence?

Mir said...

Nice race! And way to run so much faster than expected; what a great feeling!

I'm sure your daughter will do much better next time. It sounds like she has a lot of speed if she could make up so much time after falling behind.

It's great that your kids want to follow in your footsteps and try out running for themselves. I think you've done them a huge favor by introducing them to the sport.