Asheville Citizen-Times 5k

I decided to run the ACT 5k last Saturday even though I was not ready for it (had not had much time to train), and was pressed for time since I had football games to call at 10:00am (the race was at 7:30).

I am glad that I did take the time to run. I managed to record my best time for a 5k this year finishing it in 37:50 (official bib time was 36:46). Although it was not a PR (personal record) it was under 40 minutes, and I never felt better when I got done!

For those of you that do not know, the course is fairly hilly (as is the rest of Asheville), but I think that the downhills more than make up for all the uphill portions of this course. Which, in my opinion, makes this course a fairly easy one. I would say that the toughest portion is the final hill on Walnut Street. It is a fairly steep incline for about – and I’m guesstimating here – .10-.15 of a mile, right at the end of the race.

Of course, I still did not match my time from 2010 when I ran this course. I finished that race in 33:54 (official bib time was 33:19), and that was my PR until I ran a flat race in February of 2011. I did not run this race last year as I elected to run the 1/2 marathon instead.

Now, after how good I felt, I think that I have re-lit that fire I once had for running. However, I think that I am going to go about it differently. This time, instead of running for a virtual team, I am going to do it for myself. After all, who else do I have to prove anything to? And, who else is going to be there to support me 100% of the time no matter what I do, or what I say (verbally or on Facebook)? The answer is – nobody but myself!

Looking forward – the next race I have in my sights is the WNC Run/Walk for Autism 5k. This will be my second time running this race, but the first time on this course. Last year this race moved from the flat course at Carrier Park to the steep terrain at UNC-Asheville. It will be a challenge, but it is one that I am looking forward to taking on.

And, ultimately, I am looking to start training for my first full marathon next year, it will also be the inaugural Asheville Citizen-Times Full Marathon. I will be looking for a 1/2 to do between now and then, maybe the Knoxville 1/2 in April, but I am glad that I will not have to travel far for my first full like I thought that I was going to have to do.

Shamrock 10k

Yesterday I ran in the 5th Annual ACS Shamrock Run for the first time. This race had a 10k (6.2 miles) and a 5k (3.1 miles) for runners to enjoy. I decided to do the 10k since I had nothing better to do, and an hour to kill.

It turned out to be a very beautiful morning – sun shining, blue skies – which was nice after a couple of days of pouring rain and even a little snow shower. I was kind of expecting it to be a lot colder than what it was, but it was about in the mid-40’s when the race began.

Coming into this race I was a little worried. I had heard rumors that this race was a real beast; that there were some massive hills in the middle of it. Since I had only gotten my lazy @$$ out on the streets once in the past two weeks to run, I was figuring that I was going to have to crawl across the finish line. I really was not in the right frame of mind to start the race.

Well, the rumors were right. Just after the 2nd mile marker the course went straight uphill. Okay, it was more of a winding uphill – it is a mountain after all! And this first 1/2 mile, or so, I swear was anywhere from a 70° to 80° incline. All joking aside, I literally walked for about 5-7 minutes during that third mile. It took all I had to walk up that hill, I really do not know how anyone was able to run up it.

The uphill portion went on for about another mile-and-a-half. We were up so high that there were still traces of snow on the ground, and I could feel the temperature drop! But, it was all worth it once the course flattened out. After all, what goes up must come down, right?! Once I hit mile marker 4 it was all down hill, and my body was loving it!

All-in-all, I was very pleased with my time for this race. My goal was to finish with an average 12 min/mile pace. I finished the race in 1:11:39 for an 11:33 min/mile pace. However, looking at my splits, had that hill not been in the middle, I wonder how quickly I would have finished? Three of the six miles I had a split time of 9:37 or better!

My splits were as such – start: 0:16, mile 1: 10:34, mile 2: 9:37, mile 3: 14:30, mile 4: 15:38, mile 5: 9:05, mile 6: 9:07, .20 finish: 2:52. Miles 3 and 4, as I stated before, were all uphill and a lot of walking was involved. Miles 5 and 6, unfortunately, I had to average since I did not see the 5th mile marker. I gave the sixth mile a couple more seconds than the fifth mile because it was more flat and had a couple small hills, plus there were a couple of seconds missing off my total when I entered all my splits into my log. The start time of 16 seconds was from the time the race started until I actually made it to the starting line.

So, had the course been flatter, I wonder if I could have held that 9:00 – 9:30 pace? I would have had me finishing in under an hour. I guess we will find out in future races if I can hit that pace and hold it!

I am happy with how good I felt when I finished the race, but I was kind of disappointed when the results came out. I finished 131/150 overall and 7/7 (dead last again) in my age group (the results page shoes 6/6, but the overall winner of the 10k was in my age group also). Part of me doesn’t care about where I finish, just that I do and that I am getting exercise. However, the competitive side of me, which makes up about 90% of me, is getting pretty upset because I keep finishing last in my age group, and pretty much as one of the last men overall in almost every race. This is something that I am going to improve upon by the end of the year! 🙂