Saturday, December 17, 2011

Three Generations 5K Race Report

Somethings start rough but turn out really great, like a child.  They complain and gripe, don't eat solid food and crap on themselves regularly.  Today was like that.

We loaded in the car for a long day in Tucson, leaving home and our warm, comfy beds at 6:15, IN THE MORNING.  My wife, daughters and myself, were all tired and grouchy.  I had a sore throat. My wife had a sore throat.  My oldest daughter was stressing about her first run.  We bickered about the radio, about people talking too quietly, complaining too much, and so on.  It's not typical for us, but we've been so incredibly busy the past two months that we've had no down time...we're worn out!

By the time we arrived at my parents' house, an hour later, we'd figured everything out.  We dropped off our bicycles, for a ride later in the day, and headed another thirty minutes in the car to the race.

The muscles in my left foot were still sore from last weekend's half marathon and my legs were a little flat feeling from Thursday's bike ride.  For the second straight night, I slept poorly (fretting over things at work), managing a solid two hours before waking, and then another three or so later as morning crept around.  Not too bad for one day, but two days in a row gets old.  Circumstances didn't appear to be there for me to break 20 minutes...and that bugged me.  I actually woke in the middle of the night worried about running too hard and getting injured, or finishing in 24 minutes!  My first 5K, in October, was 20:58, and I hadn't been running at all then.  At least I had to surpass that time.

The drive to Tucson had been very windy, blowing the car all over the road. said the winds were 28 miles per hour, gusts up to infinity.  Oh well, I thought.  I'll give it my best shot and see what happens.

My oldest daughter has never run save on a treadmill.  She usually runs about two miles.  She is stubborn as a goat and a cowgirl.  She owns boots and converse, doesn't want running shoes.  My dad's got a bum Achilles and walks with a limp.  I'm exhausted.  It's cold and windy and I'm wondering, what are we doing here?  Let's just make sure this is a fun experience and live to fight another day!  Words to live by, for a runner.

At the start I wanted to be up front, with some of the fast runners that I'm beginning to recognize, one of whom frequents, "Run Keith."  Keith is a super nice guy and I wanted to say hello today, but there was so much going on I didn't get the chance.

At the start of the race I quickly got boxed in.  The fast group pulled ahead as we rounded the first turn (the first portion was a lap on the track).  There were two girls running shoulder to shoulder in front of me, and a person on each side of me.  The fast group was pulling away.  I knew it would be unlikely I could stick with them, but if I had to catch up to them first, I had no shot.  Still, I broke through and tried.

I'm not there yet.  But I will be.  I have a cardio base, but not a running base. 

I was running well, not sure of my pace as there were no markers and I have a Timex Ironman, not a Garmin,  (come on Santa!).  After I'm guessing three-fourths of a mile a group of three men passed me.  I decide to tuck in behind them.  One of them was wearing the exact shirt I was...and here is the difference between men and women:

Two men wearing the same shirt:  Fast Friends
Two women wearing the same shirt:  Mortal Enemies

Anyhow, I followed him the entire race, moving to his left or his right depending on the wind.  The others in his group would surge ahead, then drop back, but my wind-breaker was pretty steady...but man, he had a LONG stride.  Me, I try and keep my strides short and quick, but had a hard time not dropping in his cadence.

Anyhow, with about a half a mile left, I passed him, wondering if it was too soon.  I caught up to the next one in front.  He heard me, sped up.  I was red-lining, but knew that since we were heading straight into the wind that if I could stay there, I had a chance of passing him too.  I stayed, but as we turned the corner, he sped up and opened a small gap.  I closed the gap towards the finish line but couldn't catch him.

My time was 20:33 on my watch, and I think my overall place was 10th.  Either way, I didn't make my goal of breaking 20 minutes.  However, I will next time.  And no doubt, it was a PR. 
It was cool hearing my mom cheer me on at various times in the race, as well as seeing my wife and youngest daughter.  I always think of my wife as I'm finishing a race or a hard run.  It's doubly cool when she's actually there.

After I finished I recovered quickly and took over camera duties (by request).  My dad came around the corner before my daughter...surprising.  As he said, he walks with a limp but jogs just fine!  He said he felt that 13 minute miles were safe but was pulling down 11:30's.  That's slower than he likes to run, but with the injury, he was happy with it.

I was very proud.  He's been on a similar weight-loss journey as my own and I was proud to see him working so hard.  As far as I know, this was his first ever race that he could run!  We both walked one in July as we both had injuries.  He ended up with a time of 34:40.  Not bad.

My daughter tried to pass some people, went off trail, tripped and fell.  She tweaked an ankle, which she twisted again later.  By the time she got to where we were taking pictures, she was done.  She didn't finish.  However, she's going to try again.  

After the race we hung around for a bit, but really we weren't enjoying ourselves.  It was cold and the wind sucked...or blew.  Either way, my parents left and took my daughters with them to breakfast.  My wife and I would catch up soon.  I hoped to meet some other runners.  But as it turned out, I was in a weird mood, and not feeling quite right, so we left.  As always, food helped.

After breakfast we went back to my parents' house.  I installed a new bike computer on my wife's bike and went headed to Marana, thirty minute drive away, to ride with my wife's dad.  We ended up taking a 25 mile ride in.  My wife and father-in-law ride a little slower than I do, but still, with fatigue, and giving all I had on the 5k, I was glad we were done.

Back another thirty minutes in the car to my parents' house.  We ate dinner, and then drove twenty minutes to a guide dogs for the blind outing.  My oldest daughter is truly an incredible person.  For the past two years she has been volunteering for the organization Blind Dogs for the Blind, raising puppies.  She gets a puppy and keeps it for year, attending weekly meetings where they develop skills and strategies to promote skills with these dogs, so they may become guide dogs.  Anyhow, the outing was a walk through a neighborhood in Tucson, Winterhaven, where the houses are decorated incredibly for Christmas. 

All told, I spent almost five hours in the car, set a PR in the wind, rode 25 miles on a bike and walked around for an hour or so looking at Christmas lights on 8 hours of sleep in the past two days, all while having lost 10 pounds in the past 21 days.  And the best part...while we were all grouchy in the morning in the car, in the evening the car was overflowing with laughter and playful spirit.  All told, an awesome day.

Then I get home with a new package in hand.  This year my family drew names for Christmas.  We would make a present (not buy) for the person we drew.  My brother-in-law drew my name.

Funny what he made for me because just today I was thinking, "How am I going to keep these bibs and medals?  They're important to me and I'd like a way to have them."

He provided hangers for the bibs to be hung on the "Races" plaque, but wasn't sure of the dimensions and didn't install them himself.  What a cool present, huh?

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