Thursday, July 10, 2008

2008 Heritage Festival 5 Mile Race Report

My parents had been looking for a local 5K to enter for their first race in preparation for their participation in the Sacramento relay marathon. Since Wendy and I were planning on being in town over the 4th of July, I looked around and found a 5 miler within 30 minutes from their house. They were super excited about entering a race we all signed up. As long as you signed up by July 3rd, the entry fee was $20. You can't beat that. We even got a t-shirt and a timing chip. Two days before the race we went down to get our numbers and both Roni (my sister) and Wendy decided to enter as well. We ended up with 5 of us entering the race. The Smidt's (and 1 Shevlin) were planning on taking down the race. Ok, maybe not. I was shooting for 32-34 minutes. My Dad was aiming for 1 hour. My Mom was going for 1:05 and Roni and Wendy were hoping for under 1:25.

This was definitely a low key race. We got there a little less than 1 hour early and there weren't many people around. As we got closer to 20-30 minutes before the race it starting picking up. We hung around for a bit just chilling and trying to convince my mom that she wouldn't get lost on the course. Apparently she had nightmares that she got lost.

Fortunately, the weather cooperated as much as you could hope for in Virginia during summer. The race started at 7:45. It was humid, but overcast and the temperature wsa 73.

With a couple minutes to spare I headed out for some pickups around 6:30 pace. If all went well, I was going to aim for 6:30s and try to pick it up at the end if I had anything left. We all got on the street by everyone else I said my good byes and good lucks and headed to the front. I couldn't get all the way up there and there were people in front of my that had no business whatsoever being up there. So after a bunch of maneuvering, I was able to get 1 back from the front row. As it turned out the chips we were all wearing were for the finish only. So everyone else lost a few seconds as their time was gun time.

The gun goes off and wear are flying. A group of 8-10 runners were just in front of my and some guy decked out in all JMU colors lead the pack. There were a few others around me, but I was right there near the leaders. Very cool! I felt great. I looked down at my watch and saw that was I doing about 5:25. Oops! I really forced myself to slow down as there was no way I could maintain that pace. At mile one I was falling back some from the leaders (which is a good thing) and the guy at the marking said 5:55 (it was a hair short on the GPS). Crap! What a rookie mistake. I know you are supposed to start a bit easier and then pick it up. I just got caught up in the moment. But since I was there, I decided to keep pushing it to see what I could do. During the next mile I was feeling it. I knew I was in for a battle. I had slowed a bit to a 6:22, and I was tired. I could tell I was slowing and my HR was out of control. The next 2 miles I tried with all my might to maintain focus and to continue to push myself even though I wanted to walk. I did 6:37 for each. About 3-4 people passed me from the first mile to the end. So even though I was slowing, I knew I was still pushing it pretty good. About 300-400 meters from the end I make this left hand turn and see this hill facing me. Ugh! I didn't want to see that with how I was feeling. I pushed up the hill, made a right hand turn and saw the finish line and it was down hill. I picked up the pace and pushed towards the line. I heard someone coming from behind and pushed it a bit more. I crossed the line at 32:18 for a 6:28 pace. I was 26th out of 620 runners and 4th in my age group. The top 3 were paid. What a bummer. Unfortunatlely, I'm in the fastest and most difficult age group. Next year I'll graduate to the 2nd or 3rd fastest age group. I would have been 2nd or 3rd in the other age group. Anyway, here are my splits and heart rate. No wonder I felt tired. I guess I was pushing pretty hard.

1 - 5:59, 178 bpm
2 - 6:22, 185 bpm
3 - 6:37, 185 bpm
4 - 6:37, 186 bpm
5 -6:32, 188 bpm

Thinking back, if I started smarter, I really believe I would have been closer to and likely under 32:00. I think if I did 6:30s for the first 2 or 3 miles that I would have had enough energy to really push the last couple. Instead, I was just hanging on. Even with that silly mistake, I'm still very happy with my result. I didn't know I could run that fast for that long.

So I crossed the line, got a couple cups of water and then started jogging backwards looking for my Dad. I found him somewhere between miles 3-4. We was doing the Jeff Galloway. He was jogging 3 minutes and walking 1 minute. He was ahead of pace and feeling pretty good. He was a bit suprised at the speed he was going. I tried to prepare everyone for the fact that their time would be faster than anticipated given the race atmosphere. It still caught him off guard. I tried to make sure he didn't drop off the pace we were going and gave words of encouragement. Before we came to the hill I prepared him for what he was about to see. We headed to the finish coming in at 57:19, well under his goal.

I turned right around and headed back to find my Mom. I didn't expect her to be too far back so I pushed pretty hard to get to her to catch her before she had to see the hill. I found her between 4 and 5, before she could see the hill. She looked tired, but was ahead of goal pace and feeling OK. I gave her the same talk I gave my Dad about her pace and the hill. She was mostly walking, but was throwing in a few runs. As we made the right hand turn after the hill she started to jog. My Dad was there and the three of us headed to the finish line running at approximately a 10:00 pace. She finished at 1:02:47.

I turned around again to look for Wendy and Roni. I found them somewhere around mile 4 and we walked it on in. There were both feeling good, for the most part. They were ahead of pace too. The pace was a little slower then Wendy usually goes and she was staying with Roni the whole way. They started a bit fast, slowed down bit the next 2 miles and then Wendy picked up the pace while telling Roni it was the same speed. :) I told them about the hill and when we finished and made that right hand turn, my parents were there. The 5 of us headed to the finish line together. They finished at 1:17:27.

All in all a great performance by everyone. Everyone had fun and beat the time that they were expecting. I definitely enjoy doing races that I'm not out there to burn it up and do it for myself. Even though I did that today, I was able to still do the race with other people at their pace. It is so much more enjoyable doing that. Maybe as I begin to get out of shape next year as Wendy and I start a new chapter in our lives, I can put in a race here and there with some people slower than me and just enjoy it and help them. We will see.

As we were walking back to the car, my Dad and I found someone handing out free Drumsticks (the ice cream cones). Score! How awesome is that. That was a nice little treat after the race. My Dad was already looking for his next race. He picked up a flyer for another local race. It's a 10 miler about a month later. LOL, they are hooked.

Race Results
A local write up. I almost made the paper. I was just to the left of the camera at the start and missed that picture. Also finishing 1 out of the money prevented me from getting my name ther.e


dwallenburg said...

sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. wish i could have been there

John A. said...

Haven't been able to check the blog in awhile! But congrats Eric on everything (baby, fast times, etc.) If you look at the results, you'll notice that only 3 Californians ran it...and all 3 from SD. Odd.