Stars & Stripes 5K Review
Friday, July 4, 2014
Lee's Summit, MO
Course: Fairly flat, 131 ft elevation gain
Weather: PERFECT!!! 68F, 68%, no wind
Time: 7:30 am Start
SWAG: Cotton t-shirt
Race Organization: Good
Volunteer Support: Good
Crowd Support: Small
Food: Very sparse
Health: Good, no issues
Conditioning: Pretty good, a little over race weight and a little dead-legged, need to work a lot more hills into my workouts
Time: 18:21 NEW PR!!!
Place: 12/964 Overall, 1st/29 45-49 AG
I've ran better 5K's, but I've never ran a faster one than I did on Friday morning. On the Fourth of July, Michael and I ran the 3rd Annual Stars & Stripes 5K in our hometown of Lee's Summit, MO. And even though Independence Day is thought of as the "half-way point of summer", we couldn't have asked for a better morning to run ... 68 degrees with only 68% humidity, and almost no wind. PERFECT!!!
|Start of the 2014 Stars & Stripes 5K, I'm on the far left in red shorts ... hahaha, yeah RED! Go USA!!!|
|Stars & Stripes 5K finisher medal and medal for 1st Place in 45-49 AG|
After I hit the Port-O-Pottie a couple times, and then ran about three miles of warm ups and sprints, something really embarrassing happened. I wanted to make sure I went right from my warm ups into the race and tried to time it down to the minute, but I almost cut it a little too close to the starting gun before jumping in line. As the band Teacher's Pet (a local cover-band that plays this event every year) was playing a song to get everyone amped up, I hurried to the area near the timing mat and hopped one of those little aluminum rails they use to corral everyone in. Just as I was about half way over the frail 48 inch tall metal divider ... you guessed it ... my foot slipped and it started to wobble like I was balancing on a high wire with no net. I started to fall, and if not for a nice guy standing near the starting line, I would have went down. He finished helping me all the way over the make shift fence, and once I was safely on the other side, he pointed to an opening literally three feet away from the incident and asked, "Why didn't you just go through there?" About a dozen people who saw my failed balancing act began laughing, and the two Elite Runners who would finish 1st and 2nd in the race looked me, slowly looked down at the ground and shook their head in disgust. Man ... I felt about an inch tall. Hahaha, I'm a dork! Then the gun sounded!
The first mile of the course is really flat, with some long gradual downhills. As I was warming up, my legs felt pretty dead and I was having a little trouble getting up to race speed. I was hoping the start of the race would give me a little boost, but about 20 meters in, I felt exactly the same way. I wasn't really laboring, but it just didn't feel as fluent as I would have hoped. As we circled Macy's and JC Penny's, the pack started to thin a little and there were about 20 runners in front of me, with two young college-age girls immediately in front of me. Which leads me to one of my primary rules of racing ... "If a run's not going great, find a cute girl and follow her for a while!" Well, that's not really a rule, but I might consider making it one because it worked on Friday. About 3/4 of a mile in, one of the young ladies began to fade a little as we made our way up the first gradual incline. When we hit the first mile marker, my Garmin vibrated and I looked down ... 5:50! That was pretty much where I wanted to be, and I was actually starting to settle in a bit. But I've ran this area numerous times before, and I knew the last two miles would be much tougher than the first.
As I began mile two, the remaining young female runner, and two guys who looked like they were in their late twenties were bunched up near me. But as we made our way up the second hill, one of the guys dropped off, and the third hill made quick work of the other guy. So now I was about 13 or 14 spots back, still running off the left shoulder of the young girl who wore an apparent school issued running top that read "Saints" on the back. In the final results I noticed that she was 19 years old and from New Jersey, so presumably this was a High School track or cross country uniform.
The young runner from Jersey and I passed a couple more runners - guys close to my age - at the beginning of the third mile. She was running a strong race. I actually pulled ahead of her at about 2.2, but as some onlooking peers about her age cheered her as we ran past, she got a boost of adrenaline and soon passed me back. We'd reached the point in the race at mile 2.5 where I knew we probably wouldn't catch any more runners. And with a glance over my shoulder on one of the turns, I doubted anyone behind would catch us. I kept trying to separate from her on the long gradual hill of mile three, but every time I drew even, her pace would quicken a little and she would put about 3 feet back between us. But she was fighting her breathing about as much as me, both of us really laboring.
|Team RWB Volunteers after the Stars & Stripes 5K|
I knew was running close to a personal best on Friday, but I thought the speed bump hills in the middle of the race would slow me just enough. At the finish line, as the volunteer cut the timing chip from my shoe, and as I was trying to gather as much oxygen as I could force back into my depleted lungs, I found the young lady and told her, "Great race!" In typical teenager fashion she replied with a Kardashianesque, "Awwwaaa ... thankyouwaaa!!! Thanks for encouraging me and pushing me!" After that I ran a recovery mile to the car to grab my phone, a banana, and some more water ... all while beaming because I'd finally PR'd again in a 5K!
|Not sure what my right arm is doing ... but it almost looks like RAWKFIST!!!|
At about 42 minutes on the clock, I saw her from a distance ... walking. She hadn't felt good with a some dizziness which had triggered her Vertigo, on the way to the race. I knew immediately that it had forced her to walk. As I met her at the finish line, she had a weird look on her face and was staggering around a little. I walked her over to a curb and had her sit down. She made it almost all the way down on her own, but then lost balance and almost fell into a bush. She said everything was spinning. She's struggled with Vertigo in the past and started an antibiotic Thursday night which probably caused a little dizziness that then triggered the reaction. She said it really hit her pretty hard during the race and she walked about half of it. As soon as she was able to stand, we made our way to the car and hurried home so she could get some rest.
Later in the day I thought a lot about the 5K. I've ran much better races. Each mile was slower than the last which is something I usually try to be the opposite of. But on this Fourth of July, I ran 3.1 miles faster than ever before. It was the exact goal I had going into the race, and a box I was able to check at the conclusion. The really encouraging point was I think I still have one more faster 5K in me later this year. But it felt great to run this one as fast as I did, and hopefully, it will be a springboard into even greater things to come in the Fall.
Hope your 4th went well too! Thank you to all of those who serve this country, past and present, to assure us the great freedom and liberty we so deeply cherish.
... be great today!