Friday, July 5, 2013

2013 Stars & Stripes 5K ... Good Race!

Fireworks above the trees with friends the night before 4th of July
2013 Stars & Stripes 5K
July 4, 2013
Lee's Summit, Missouri

Runners: 751
Course: Fairly flat through Summit Fair Shopping Center
Weather: Perfect - Sunny, 65 degrees, 68% humidity, 3 mph WSW wind
SWAG: Short-sleeve t-shirt
Race Organization: Adequate
Crowd Support: Small
Volunteer Support: Sparse
Water Stops: One adequate stop
Food: bananas and granola bars
Weight: 178
Health: Good, no issues
Conditioning: A little above average but not great, gained a little weight this week, just nowhere near top conditioning right now, legs were still jello after the double race 4 days ago
5K Time: 18:51
Pace: 6:05/mile
Place: 5th/751 Overall, 1st Place out of 43 in 40-44 AG

2013 Stars & Stripes 5K finisher medal on left, medal for 1st Place in 40-44 age group on right
Running three races - two 5K's and a 10K - in four days is tougher than we thought it would be.  Michael and I found that out on Thursday, 4th of July, at the 2nd Annual Stars & Stripes 5K in Lee's Summit, MO ... our hometown!!!  It's always fun and convenient to race so close to home.  And even though for a while I thought my legs might betray me, it ended up being a pretty good race and a great holiday morning with my wife.

Trying to keep up with the kids (on the right under the American Flag), I actually held my own against the speedy youngsters on Thursday
On the night before Independence Day every year, we hang out with our friends Ken & Cindy and several of their friends and family to eat dinner and watch local firework displays.  So of course, Michael and I were up later than usual the night before the race.  That, combined with the fact that I traveled all week in Iowa, didn't take great care of my body, and my legs were still a little raw from the max effort just four days earlier at the Overland Park Double Race - it was the perfect combination for a really poor outing.  In fact, not running it at all crossed my mind a couple of times.

Suckin' wind as I crossed the finish line
for the third time ever below 19 minutes - good effort!
Just like on Sunday in Overland Park, it was another perfect day for a mid-summer run.  Sunny. 65 degrees.  Low humidity with no wind.  Perfect!  We couldn't have asked for more In early July.  I warmed up with a couple of light miles, followed by a few striders, then found my place at the starting line for a 5-minute late starting gun.  (I won't rehash how much that bugs me again, but yes, it started 5 minutes late.  Unacceptable.)  Waiting on the starting gun, my legs felt COMPLETELY dead!!!  They had absolutely zero response, and even felt shaky and unstable like when you're on a sugar high or going through a hypoglycemic attack.  Everything was really weak and jittery.

When the gun finally went off, I broke into about a 5:30 pace to keep up with the youngsters in the front of the line.  My stomach was doing flip-flops, and my legs felt like I might actually fall down.  I can't remember ever feeling worse at the start of a race.

I slowed my pace a little and settled into a 6:15 at about the half-mile mark.  My stomach issues had began to settle a little, and now I was focused on my breathing.  My heart wasn't pounding out of my chest, so I kept it right there for a bit.  The only real issue was my legs ... which are important when running.  They just felt completely empty.  There was no pain or anything, they were just heavy and limp.  Like the day after a really long run.

The course definitely isn't a tough one, with a total of four 30 foot climbs.  But when you're running near top speed in a 5K ... the flatter the better.  As we came to the 1 mile mark, I noticed my pace was about 6:00, which surprisingly didn't feel too labored so far.  But the toughest part of the course was immediately ahead of us in mile 2.

Mile 2 isn't a killer, but it has a couple of 30 foot inclines.  It's really the only portion of the race where you have to work a little.  At this point, my legs were beginning to feel like they finally had a little blood pumping, but I was really gasping for air.  The small hills were a cruel reminder that I wasn't in my best shape and I needed to get back to full workouts and additional mileage.  But I could tell the change in elevation was taking it's toll on others as well as I began slowly picking off runners of all ages on the inclines.  Most of them were younger, but I also passed a few guys closer to my age.

Michael and me after good races for both of us
As we leveled off for mile 3, I knew there were only about 6 people in front of me.  Even though I had felt like absolute crap before and during the race, I was running fairly well.  I glanced back, which I rarely do in a race, and I saw the last guy I passed in a bright yellow shirt fading about 50 yards behind me.  And based on the way he looked when I passed him, there was no way he was catching me.  So I focused on the three high school runners in front of me.

With about a quarter mile left, I tried to put the hammer down.  My legs didn't really offer a strong kick, but I did pass one tall, shirtless red-headed kid who stopped to throw-up.  Then came the other two in red shirts who were running shoulder to shoulder.  With about a tenth of a mile left, I passed them both.  It must has made the smaller of the two mad because he immediately turned on the jets and blew by me.  About that time I felt the other one bearing down as well, but I emptied what I had left in the tank and finished about 2 seconds ahead of him for 5th place overall in the race.  Following are my splits for the race on Thursday ...

                              Mile 1 ... 6:06
                              Mile 2 ... 6:10
                              Mile 3 ... 6:09
                              Mile .1 at the end ... 4:14  
                              Total - 18:51 (6:05 pace)

It was the third time in my life I'd ran under 19 minutes in a 5K, and only 22 seconds off of my PR. Plus, I was lucky enough to win 1st in my age group, which was cool.  Like I always say, anyone can win their age group if the race is small enough. This one only had 750 runners, so it's not like I ran faster than thousands of people on Thursday, but hey - I'll take it.   All things considered, I had really surprised myself and felt great about the effort.  But the best part of the day was when I found Michael.  I asked her how she did and she showed me her Garmin ... it was a new PR for her!!!  She's been working so hard and really focusing on core work and speed and it was paying off.  I was so excited for her!

It's funny how sometimes you can feel really good about a race and then lay an egg.  Still other times, you feel absolutely horrible standing in the starting gate, but then run fairly strong.  Fortunately Thursday was the latter.  More than anything, it was just great to wake up with the love of my life and go do something we both enjoy together.  But I'd be lying if I said that the strong race didn't make me enjoy it a little more - ha!  Hope you had a great 4th and an awesome weekend!
... be great today!


  1. Wow... dude you are fast!! Congrats on a great race!!

  2. Awesome!! Congrats on the AG win!

  3. You have been so consistent lately! That's especially impressive right after last week's races. Congrats.

  4. Not gonna lie, sometimes I'm not even over the 1 mile mark at your time. WOW! Congrats on your AG win. Those are some awesome medals for a 5k!

  5. Some great swag for a 5k. Nice job too speedy!

  6. Great race Jim. Congrats on the time and the placing.

  7. That's a pretty great accomplishment! Congratulations! And those medals are great! Yeay for the stars & stripes!

  8. Great job as usual, lol on the guy you passed who stopped to throw up!

    Good memory on the trip to Eugene - it was in Nov 2012 for the Stanford-Oregon game, and it was an epic trip since Stanford pulled off the upset =). Also did a 10K race there which was awesome. You should try to do the marathon there in April, that city has the best trails that I've ever run on - the city lives and breathes running.

    Coindicentally, I watched Without Limits 2 weeks ago too, great movie! Bummer that Pre didn't medal at the Olympics, seems like he deserved it.

  9. Way to show those young bucks that us 40-somethings are a force to be reckoned with.


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