Friday, June 13, 2014
Lees Summit, MO
Course: Flat, with a slight hill at the end
Weather: PERFECT!!! 68 degrees, 56% humidity, 3mph wind
Time: 9:00pm Start
SWAG: Short sleeve cotton t-shirt & free entree into waterpark
Race Organization: Good
Volunteer Support: Good
Crowd Support: Some neighborhood folks along the course
Food: Fruit, Bagels, Cookies
Health: Good, no issues
Conditioning: Better than I thought, but nowhere near top shape, and certainly not in marathon shape, but speed is close to where I need it, still a little too heavy for a long race, but overall pretty pleased
Place: 5th Overall, 1st Place Over 40
|1st Place Medal for 45-49 AG with two Glow Sticks that went unused on Friday at the race|
Friday in Lee's Summit, Mo - our hometown - was simply a perfect day! The sun was shining for the first time in about a week with a perfect 75 degrees and light South breeze. So we decided to run a 5K on Friday night! Actually we decided earlier in the week when my friend Paul sent me an email "daring" me to run the race - ha. Well, how could I back down from a dare ... right?
|Paul, Michael, and me after the race|
Before the race, Michael dropped me off at the corner gas station, where Paul and I ran about 3 miles to the race as a warm up. It was the perfect distance. Sure, two grown men running down our local busy streets on Friday night with race bibs on looked a little below average ... but a car full of young high schools girls honked at and screamed at us! Several years ago, that would have made my night ... but unfortunately, I think they were probably just mocking two old men. Oh well.
When got to the race, I spent some time warming up and doing some sprints around the parking lot. I've recently started marathon training again and really wasn't sure where my conditioning was. I felt like I was fairly fast (for me), but really didn't know. So I was anxious to run the race and use it as a benchmark for my summer training.
The Lees Summit Night Flight 5K is a race held every summer that I first ran back in 2002. It was one of my first 5K's, and benefits local Lees Summit parks. It's a fun race because it's ran after dark through downtown, which is little different since most races are held first thing in the morning. The course is an out & back, so on the way back it's pretty interesting seeing all of the glow sticks from the race bags wrapped around necks and wrists as they bounce their way toward you in the dark. Like a swarm of 5K fireflies. It's also started and finished at Summit Waves, our local water park. All racers get a free admission into the park, which we opted not to take advantage of this year. I've ran this race with Michael a couple of times, and actually with my daughter back in 2011, so it obviously holds a lot of good memories. It's just a really fun, and small local race that we enjoy.
I went out fairly even and controlled. The course is pretty flat, but there are a couple of 50 ft rolling hills in the middle, and a little incline at the end, so I wanted to make sure I left enough energy for those. The first mile was really easy, and I felt like I wasn't pushing at all, just gliding. There were less than 300 runners this year, and not a lot of super-fast runners at the front. So I stayed near the leader for most of the race, and directly behind the lead pack for the first mile. As we made our way downtown, my Garmin buzzed with a nice, smooth and easy 6:11 first lap.
During the second mile of a 5K, you usually start to weed out a few folks here and there. Regardless of pace, if you're racing it, things start to get real at about the half way point. And this race was no exception to every other 5K I've ever ran. It was obvious that legs were getting heavy, breathing was labored, and paces were slowly beginning to drop. We ran through the retail shops of downtown Lees Summit, and there were a few people gathered watching on the streets from local bars. At the turn around point at 1.6, I passed about three guys I had trailed to that point, and at about 1.75, I passed another. There were only 4 runners in front of me, but I was starting to feel a little fatigue. Before to long, my Garmin buzzed again in the darkness at mile two along Douglas Street. I had ran another 6:11 to match the first mile split. I was elated! I remember thinking that regardless of how I finished, I was running a lot stronger than I thought I would going into the race. But of course, there was still a little work to be done.
I never once looked at my Garmin during this stretch, because I didn't want to know how fast or slow I was moving. But I felt like I was slowing down, because in the final quarter mile, the guy caught me and passed me. I was now in 6th place. I had enough energy to stay about 10 feet behind him until the final 100 yards. At that point, I found an extra gear for a final kick. As we approached the finish line, both of us started to sprint, but I flew by him like he was standing still. As I passed him, I actually grunted with each stride ... somewhat audibly ... as I exerted my final bit of energy. (Pathetic ... I know. Two grown men racing to the finish in a small local 5K). I crossed the finish line in 5th Place overall with an 18:57. It was only the 4th time I'd been under 19 minutes, and I couldn't have been happier with the result!
Something really weird happened immediately after the race at the finish line. I congratulated the four younger guys in front of me (basically I wanted them to realize that they'd narrowly edged a 45 year old grandfather of two, ha), and then I turned to shake the hand of the guy closer to my age that I'd just sprinted past at the finish line.
I extended my hand, and said, "Good race!"
He pulled his hand away and said, "I heard what you said ... that's not competition, that's just lack of sportsmanship!"
Honestly confused, I answered, "What do you mean?"
He replied, "What you said as we were crossing the finish line, I heard you ... really classy!"
"Oh ...", I responded, "No, I was just 'grunting', probably a little louder than I should have - I wasn't saying anything to you at all, I'm so sorry if you took it like that"
To which he angrily replied, "No, I know what you said, and you know what you said!"
At this point, I turned toward him and looked him in the eye and explained, "Honestly friend, I would never trash talk or anything like that, I think you heard me 'grunting' in that final push - I am sincerely sorry if that offended you. I would never say something to someone to offend them in a race - sincerely, I'm sorry if you took it that way!"
Dissuaded, he continued, "No, whatever ... you should be ashamed of yourself!" ... and turned to walk away.
Okay, at this point I'd apologized profusely for something I didn't do, and regretfully spouted, "Well ... train harder!", and walked to my car.
|Runners gathered outside of Harris Park Community Center and Summit Waves Water Park in Lees Summit, MO|
I went into the race without a great assessment of where I was in relation to foot speed. I hadn't done that much speed training this year, and still need to lose quite a bit of weight before my marathon in September. But a very positive result for me like an 18:57 at an after dark 5K, which historically I've never ran very fast, was literally the spark-plug my summer training needed. It is really something I can build on on my way to hopefully fastest marathon ever in the Fall. Plus, even though it was a small race, I was the fastest person over 40 who ran the event. And, I avoided getting punched in the nose for something I didn't do. So it was a really good evening in the neighborhood!
... be great today!