|2nd fastest race to date at the Star & Stripes 5K|
Stars & Stripes 5K
July 4, 2012
Summit Fair - Lees Summit, Missouri
Place: 5th out of 412 Overall, 1st 40-44 Age Group
Weather: 82 Degrees, 65% Humidity, Sunny, Wind 6SW
Michael and I have been training pretty intensely lately. She's been getting ready for her Half Ironman next weekend, and I've been working on Project 3:09. So neither one of us were really excited about running a "measly" 5K this morning - especially considering how hot it's been lately. But at about 6:15 on Independence Day 2012, we got down to a very special All-American Pre-Race Dance Party, and then rolled out to one of the local outdoor shopping centers, Summit Fair, to run the first ever Stars & Stripes 5K in our hometown of Lees Summit, Missouri.
I love hometown races - I just don't get to run enough of them. You never have to figure out where to park. You don't have to spend money on travel or a hotel. And best of all, when the race is over ... you're home!!! And we love our hometown of Lees Summit - a suburb of Kansas City located about 20 minutes Southeast of downtown. It's one of the nicer communities in the KC Metro area and we love it! So yeah it was a little toasty at 80 degrees already at the 7:00 AM start, but I got to run on an off day from work in the middle of the week ... so it was a great morning!
|USA ... USA ... USA!!!|
When we got to the shopping center, I was surprised at how many people had already arrived. I knew it would be a small race, but I really expected much less than the 450 runners who showed up. It was great to see so many local folks out so early in my hometown.
As I began my warm up miles, I noticed my legs were pretty heavy and dead. I had eased off of my training a little this week due to back-to-back 90 mile weeks previously. That being said, I was already at almost 40 miles ran this week so far - so I really didn't feel like going out and killing it on a hot and humid July morning. I ran three warm up miles to get loose, and then ran about 6 or 7 strides in the last mile at close to race pace. I tried to time my warm up to just a few seconds before the race so my heart rate would be a little higher when the gun went off. But as is fairly common with smaller races, the start of the race was about 5 minutes late, so my heart rate dropped a little more than I really wanted.
The starter counted us down from "10", and after about a quarter mile, I got into my race pace and rhythm. Even though my legs felt a little sluggish, the 6:15 pace I had eased into felt pretty smooth and easy. I really wasn't laboring at all and my breathing was controlled and even. I'm still always amazed at the folks you fly by at the start of a race who don't realize that a 5K is 3 miles, and that the 6-something pace they are trying to hold is way out of their fitness level. People just seem to start waaaaaay to fast in these races. And by about the half mile mark, most of the "pretenders" are usually weeded out.
|Michael crossing the finish line|
At mile two I shadowed a guy for a while, who frankly didn't look like had the physique hold a 6:00 pace. He was a little overweight and just didn't really have the typical "runner body". But he was motoring and really running well. At about 2.15 he looked over his shoulder like he was annoyed that I was right in his "blind spot" on his right shoulder, so I passed him. Honestly, I was using him as a little break in the race. I hadn't really slowed down, but I had eased up a little on the intensity that I had ran the previous mile with. I wasn't coasting, but I wasn't even close to max effort as I "drafted" off of him. I was still running strong and fairly fast.
After I got around him, I noticed the final cluster of runners that I would try to pass, pacing about 100 yard ahead of me. Even though we were ascending a short little 60-70 foot hill at the time, I really "put the hammer down". I sped up and caught and passed about 5 or 6 guys at the 2.25 mark, but really began feeling it in my breathing a little at this point. I looked at my Garmin and I was at about 5:45/mile pace - probably a little fast for my fitness level right now. I wanted to slow down a little, but there was one more runner still within striking distance.
|Medal for 1st Place 40-44 Age Group|
I could see another guy in an orange shirt about 75 yards in front of me, but knew that I couldn't catch him with only about .3 miles left in the race. As I made my way around the final turn, I could only see about 4 runners - which were actually the only runners in front of me. But as I glanced over my shoulder to check out my buddy in the yellow hat, I could see that I had eased up a little too much and he was gaining ground, so I began a final kick toward the finish line. I ran the last few tenths of the race at a 5:35 pace which he couldn't match before I crossed the finish line.
I knew that I had ran well, and thought I was probably close to my 5K PR of 18:46 - and when I looked at my Garmin it read 19:06. Only 20 seconds off of my record! Awesome! Because by far the best thing about the race was, though I had pushed the pace and faded toward the end a little, it was by no means a "max effort" and I still ran fairly fast. I couldn't have been more happy. My splits for the 5K were as follows:
Mile 2 - 6:06
Mile 3 - 6:10
Mile .1 - 5:35
After the race I listened to a really good local band "TeacherzPet", ran to my car and got my phone, and got ready to snap a picture of Michael as she crossed the finish line. She ran really well, but I'll let you her tell you on her blog just how well! She had an ART session later in the morning so we quickly checked the results table before heading home. While we were in the results line, they announced the Master's winner. It was the guy in the orange shirt that I just couldn't catch toward the end of the race - but he only beat me by 4 seconds and came in 4th Place Overall! Which obviously meant that I had placed 5th! And even though it was a relatively small race, it was really cool to place that high in a race. Out of about 450 people on Wednesday, only 4 were faster than me for three miles - nice!
I had went into the race just wanting to run well. This was a small local race and by no means a make or break event. But regardless of how I ran, it would serve as a pretty good barometer for where I am in my training. The bottom line is ... I couldn't be happier. I ran pretty fast for me and didn't really have to kill it at all. Not that I could have ran faster on Wednesday, but I just felt like I was in control of the race almost the entire way and could do whatever I wanted. Usually in 5K's, my stomach begins churning at the half-way point because my core is not quite tight enough - my stomach didn't bother me at all! Plus, it was over 80 degrees at the finish line - warm for a race, but that didn't seem to bother me either. And finally, since it was the middle of a training week, I did a 10 mile recovery run after the race and felt great - no pain or issues after a fairly quick race for me. All these little signs were much bigger positives than winning my age group in a small race, and they are a huge encouragement as I head into the rest of my summer training. It was simply an awesome day of running. Hope your running is going well too!
... be great today!