Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rock The Crossroads 5K: My First Overall Masters Win!!!

Down the homestretch of mile 3
2013 Rock The Crossroads 5K
July 27, 2013
Kansas City, MO

Runners: 1092
Start Time: 7:30 pm
Course: Downtown KC, fairly hilly
Weather: Perfect 75 degrees, 36% humidity, 7 NNW wind
SWAG: Short-sleeve t-shirt, post race concert
Race Organization: Good
Crowd Support: Small but good
Volunteer Support: Great
Water Stops: 3 very well supported stops
Food: Energy bars and fruit
Weight: 173
Health: Good, tight arch was non issue
Conditioning: Very good leg turn over right now, but need to do more hill work and continue to run more up-tempo continuous miles
5K Time: 19:07
Pace: 6:09
Place: 18th/1092 Overall, 1st/62 40-44AG
My First Ever Overall Masters Win (40 & Over ... fastest Old Guy, ha!)

2013 Rock The Crosssroads 5K finisher medal on left, medal for 1st Place in 40-44 AG on right, 
and a Plaque with a friggin' awesome guitar for Overall Master Winner in the back
Awesome race shirt ... one of my all-time favorites
so you might see it again in a lot of future pictures
What a great evening to run a 5K in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday night.  We don't get many 75 degree, low humidity evenings on July 27th around here, so the weather for the 2013 Rock The Crossroads 5K couldn't have been more perfect.  Plus, we met our friends Ken and Cindy for the race, enjoyed a great post race concert, and I was fortunate enough to be the Overall Masters Winner of the 5K ... so all in all it was just an awesome time.

Michael and I headed out the door at about 6:00 pm for the 7:30 pm start time.  Evening 5K's are kinda fun because we don't do them very often, but if I'm trying to run well, I really have to plan my day - especially my diet.  I typically will starve myself, because I don't want a bunch of stuff sloshing around on my stomach.  But not eating, of course, makes me a little light-headed and I don't feel like I run my best.  So I just took it easy during the day and didn't eat a lot, but standing at the starting line, I felt like I was starving.

Michael ran the race with our friend Cindy after PR'ing in a Triathlon Sprint earlier in the day.  The girl is killing it right now and I'm so proud of all the hard work she's putting in.  She's really had some great results this year.

Michael making fun of our Robot friend ... sorry Robot
After we parked and chatted with our friends for a bit, Michael and I stopped to ask this friendly Robot where the starting line was.  He must not have heard me or didn't understand, because he didn't respond and actually had kind of a confused look on his face.  To which Michael immediately started making fun of the guy and was like, "Duh geeee ... duh I dunnno ... I'm just a stupid piece of metal ... beep-boop-beep ... I don't compute human talking ... duhhhhheee!!!"  I felt like she was a little over the top and I actually felt bad for the poor guy.  He seemed like a nice Robot that didn't deserve that.  But if he'd been a Zombie I would've probably done exactly the same thing.  Michael really hates Robots.

After that, I began my standard two mile warm up followed by some striders right up until race time.  Because I've been wearing a lot of minimalist shoes lately with basically no arch support, my left arch had been bothering me a little.  And when I started loosening up on Saturday night, I could feel a little tightness. So I took it slow during the warm ups and after about a mile and a half, it really was no issue at all.

As I ran a few striders right before the start, I felt pretty light and fairly fast.  I'd worn my new Skechers GoRun 2's, which are only about 6.6 oz, and my body weight was pretty good at 173.  So from my shoes to my belly, I really didn't feel like I was carrying a bunch of extra baggage. Plus, I'd had some pretty good speed sessions lately and felt like I probably had a good race in me.

As I was warming up, I scanned the crowd for one of the best runners in Kansas City ... 42 year old Ken Moran.  I'm not talking good for a 40+ runner, he's one of the best ... period.  I didn't see him, which was great news.  I can't tell you how many times I've had really good races just come in 2nd behind this dude.  I knew if he wasn't at the race, I would have a great opportunity in the Masters Division.

The race directors made all of the runners herd into the starting gate about 3 minutes before the race.  I would have preferred to jump in 1 minute before, so my heart rate didn't drop, but 3 minutes wasn't bad. Plus, they were great about starting on time ... THANK YOU ... so it really wasn't an issue.  The gun sounded ... and we were off.
2013 Rock The Crossroads 5K Elevation Chart - not a killer course, but anything but flat with a 75ft hill in mile 2
The red line is the elevation, the blue line is my pace ... dropping badly on the hill
This race only had about 1,100 runners, but like with most 5K's, I spent the first half mile navigating in and out of runners, who frankly have no business in the front of a race line up.  Most of them start out in a full on sprint and then quickly fade by the first half mile.  Heck, in a lot of races I'm lucky enough to finish toward the top and I ALWAYS let the faster runners in front of me.  Those elite folks don't need my slow-starting old legs bogging things down.  I wish some of the slower runners would use that same judgement.  It just makes things really congested at the start.

Strong finish still with decent form, in what was a very satisfying race
After a short quarter mile hill right out the chute, things leveled off a little and I settled in for a what felt like a fairly comfortable 5:49 mile.  Most of my speed work at the track recently had gone really well, and the faster paced mile for me didn't seem bad at all. If we could've ran the race at this elevation, I think I could have easily ran two more of these miles, or better.  As I looked around there were still quite a few runners ahead of me, which was a little surprising.  Usually in a 1,000 person race, a 5:49 split will put me fairly close to the top. But in warm ups I noticed that there were an unusually high number of young high school and college-aged runners, of which there were about 30 in front of me at this point.

I was able to keep the pace until about half-way through Mile 2.  That's where we turned North onto Baltimore Street and ran from 20th to Truman Road ... a half mile in six blocks ... 70 feet uphill.  This really slowed everyone down.  70 feet of elevation gain in a half mile is not like Mt. Everest or anything, but when you're trying to basically hold a controlled sprint ... it gets pretty tough.  As much as it hurt, I tried to push through it, passing about 10 runners as we headed uphill toward downtown KC. Several of the really good runners had slowed to almost a crawl and two guys even stopped to walk.  We turned right on Truman Road and it leveled off again.  I was really relieved.  My split for Mile 2 was a pretty disappointing 6:13, but I had really improved my race position and I felt like I ran the hill better than most of the guys I passed.

On the awards stage with my first ever plaque for my first ever Overall Masters Win ... pretty cool!
The first part of Mile 3 was a gradual downhill with a couple of short quarter mile hills that I spent trying to recover from Mile 2.  I was stilling passing a runner here and there, but I'll admit it ... I was sucking wind!  When we rounded a corner, I kept looking back over my shoulder to find out how much room I had in front of the guy behind me.  That's typically the sign of someone who's struggling.  And about half way through the final mile I got a side cramp.  Seriously ... a stupid side cramp!  I hadn't got one of those in years.  I blamed it on a full stomach, and too fast of a pace. I was running about 5:45 at that point.

As we headed down a nice incline at about Mile 2.8, right before we turned back onto 18th Street for the final stretch, I saw a long evening shadow creeping up on me, and felt a runner slowly edge past me on the left.  I'm not a good down hill runner, and this guy was moving.  I thought he would finish well ahead of me and I offered an encouraging, "Great job!"  To which he sneered, "Yep!"  But it wasn't a "Yep!", like "Thanks Buddy!".  It was more of a, "Yeah, I know dude, I'm a really good runner!" attitude.  And it pissed me off.  So as we rounded the final turn with about two blocks left, I began to kick.  I usually have a really strong kick at the end of 5K's and I started closing the 50 meter gap this jerk had opened up.  As I neared his left shoulder with about a tenth of mile to go, I thought about popping off something smart-assed ... I didn't.  But his quick head turn told me he was really surprised when I blew by the smug "Mr. Yep!", and one other guy (plus a wheel chair finisher ... sorry), for what seemed like a disappointing 19:07 finishing time.  I shook his hand after the race, and secretly I wanted to thank him for the little push I needed toward the end, but I just said, "Good run!".  He simply replied, "Thanks, you too."

Post-race concert at Grinders on 18th Street in the Crossroads District
As I attempted to slow my heart rate and catch my breath, I stared in disbelief at my race time on my Garmin.  My body told me I'd ran my best 5K ever, especially considering the crazy hill in the middle of the race.  But my time was an disappointing 19:07.  As I walked back to the car to change into some dry clothes for the post-race concert, I studied my spits and soon discovered why my race was a little slower than anticipated.  I think the course was long.  My Garmin read 3.2 miles, and I heard a few other runners complain about it too.  I had ran an extra tenth, which took me about 35 seconds.  Take off that tenth, and I would have been really close to a 5K PR ... on the single toughest 5K course I'd ran.  Once I took all of that into consideration, I felt a lot better about the result.

But my spirits really improved when I walked by the actual posted results.  I expected to finish in the top three of my age group because I hadn't seen any other old dudes ahead of me.  But as I scanned the Men's Results ... right below the "Overall Race Winner" ... it read OVERALL MASTERS WINNER - JAMES WEATHERLY - LEE'S SUMMIT, MO.  I had won the Masters Division!!!  It was my first Masters win ever and I was so excited I was about to burst!  I actually got to go up on the awards stage during the post-concert set break and receive my first ever race plaque.  Plus, the dang thing had a guitar on it ... sweeeeet!  So cool!

After that we hung out with our friends and listened to the band for a while.  I was STARVING so I enjoyed two pieces of pepperoni pizza, a soft pretzel, a hot dog, and a donut ... which I paid for on my 16 mile run on Sunday.  But it was a great time.  The Masters win just proves that anyone can win a race if the race is small enough.  I was pretty lucky.  I hadn't ran an earth-shattering time, but good enough to be the "Fastest Old Guy" on this night.  And I was really satisfied with the run considering the course.  Now back to marathon training.  Have a great week!
... be great today!


  1. Great job! You are a really fast runner and a 5K with 1000+ runners is not a small race. Congratulations!

  2. Nice! That plaque will have to take pride of place in your man cave.

  3. Way to go!!! How awesome! I do love your post race fuel up!! Congrats!!

  4. Congratulations on your first master's division win! Great 5k - with the extra distance, unusual time of day (that always throws me off), and hills, a 19:07 is really speedy. I wish I could post that on an easy course!
    So I guess the overall male winner to get his plaque? Ha!

  5. Congratulations on a Great Race! Old People Like Us Rock!!

  6. Congrats Jim. That is awesome and some super sweet swag too!

  7. OUTSTANDING! Congratulations! And that is some pretty sweet swag!

  8. Congrats!! That is awesome!! First of many I'm sure!

  9. Congrats! That is a fast time for anyone young or old.

  10. GREAT JOB!!!! congrats on your overall win!!!!
    i loved reading your recap!!

  11. Congrats on the Masters win and beating the jerk off at the line. That had to feel great :-).

  12. Wait, they brought you up on stage?? No fair.

  13. Nice job on the win! Glad you were able to pass Mr Yep too!!

  14. Bravo!
    This is great! And oh so fast!!!!

  15. Awesome on the win! And I'm amazed that you can say anything to anyone running that fast - I wouldn't be able to talk to anyone at that speed lol.

  16. Congrats, speedy! That's awesome.

    Seriously. If the 5ks in my area gave out bling like in yours, I'd never run more than 3.1 miles again!


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